AIMC Demands Apology From Pope (Sept. 17, 2006)

New Delhi, Sept. 16: All India Milli Council (AIMC) has regretted the unfortunate remarks of Pope Benedict XVI regarding Islam. In a statement AIMC general secretary Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam demanded an apology for the pope’s offensive observation "which has the potential to aggravate the already strained Muslim-Christian relations".

Dr Alam said the papal utterances regarding Islam had come at an inopportune movement, a point in time when Muslims worldwide were feeling they were under attack from America and Britain, the leading Western Christian powers. A perception had already gained ground that Islam was under attack. Coming from the pope, the anti-Islam observations would only deepen that perception, he said.

“In fact, what we have been witnessing over the last few years is a pattern of sustained aggression against Muslim peoples and their lands, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Palestine and Lebanon”, Dr Alam pointed out. Then there were ideological onslaughts like Danish and other European caricatures of the prophet of Islam, followed by President George W. Bush’s reference to “Islamic fascism” and, finally, the pope’s remarks.

The pope had said in Regensburg (Germany) on September 12, quoting Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new...." The speech contained other offensive words like "evil and inhuman" regarding Islam.

Dr Alam said it was time for reconciliation and conflict resolution, not for aggravating tensions with hurtful remarks. An early withdrawal of the unsavoury comment and an apology would go a long way in healing the wounds, he added.


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