religious adviser to Jordan’s king has thanked Pope Benedict XVI for
expressing regret after a speech that many Muslims deemed insulting to
the Prophet Muhammad, but complained the West still has a distorted
view of Islam.
Ghazi bin Mohammed delivered his assessment after giving Pope Benedict
a tour of the biggest mosque in Amman, the Pontiff’s second visit to a
Muslim place of worship since becoming pope in 2005.
The Pope is in Jordan on his first Middle East tour in which he hopes to improve strained ties with both Muslims and Jews.
travelled to a memorial to Moses, met with an Iraqi Christian leader
and urged the international community to do everything possible for the
survival of the ancient Christian community in the war-torn country.
Pope angered many in the Muslim world in 2006 when he quoted a Medieval
text that characterised some of Muhammad’s teachings as “evil and
inhuman”, particularly “his command to spread by the sword the faith”.
Shortly after giving the speech, Pope Benedict said he regretted that the comments offended Muslims.
who is also King Abdullah II’s cousin, thanked the Pope for the
clarification he issued after the speech that the views did not reflect
his own opinion but were instead “simply a citation in an academic
lecture”. But the prince said Muslims had felt “hurt”.
also complained that “distorted depictions” of Muhammad have long
persisted in the West and were responsible “for much historical and
cultural tension” between Christians and Muslims.
told the audience of religious leaders and government officials
assembled at the white limestone King Hussein mosque that Muslims and
Christians must strive to be seen as faithful worshippers of God
“because of the burden of our common history” that has often been
marked by misunderstanding.
The Pope said it is often
“ideological manipulation of religion sometimes for political ends that
is the real catalyst for tension and division and at times even
violence in society”.