Anger mounted across the Muslim world Friday over remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to Germany this week in which the pontiff quoted a 14th century Christian emperor as calling aspects of the legacy of Islam's Prophet Mohammed 'evil and inhuman.'As if some Muslim, at some point, didn't have a legitimate (or in many cases, illegitimate) gripe about Christianity.
The pope's remarks came Tuesday in Regensburg in his home state of Bavaria, when he was quoting a conversation that took place in Ankara in the year 1391 between Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on Christianity and Islam.
'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,' the pope quoted Manuel as saying.
As head of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned by law but tolerated in Egypt, was calling on Pope Benedict to apologize, the Vatican was attempting to shore up criticism of the pontiff on a day that saw a new Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, take office.
One of the first tasks awaiting Bertone, an Italian, who becomes the Vatican's new 'prime minister' will be to repair the damage caused by Benedict's remarks.
Even Protestant Christians have, by and large, come to respect the fact that their beliefs can be criticized, and have been, and will be. Nevermind that in this case, the guy in the funny hat (oops) was just quoting somebody. He wasn't saying Muslims were evil. He was saying somebody said Muslims were evil...and it was said seven centuries ago.