Pope Apologises for Slur against Islam; but Nun Is Slain as Muslims Maintain Protests

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), September 18, 2006 | Go to article overview

Pope Apologises for Slur against Islam; but Nun Is Slain as Muslims Maintain Protests


Byline: By JOHN-PAUL FORD ROJAS

POPE Benedict yesterday tried to dampen the furore over his remarks about Islam saying he was "deeply sorry" about the anger they had caused.

But there were fears that the violent reaction to his comments would continue as an Italian nun was shot dead in Somalia.

The Vatican said it hoped the "wave of hate" sweeping the world did not lead to "grave consequences" for the church. Elsewhere there was a mixed reaction to the Pope's attempt to assuage his critics, with some calling off protests but others saying it was not enough.

Benedict said comments that the prophet Mohammed had brought "things only evil and inhuman", which he had quoted in a speech, did not reflect his own view.

The pontiff said he hoped the explanation would "appease hearts" and make clear that he in fact wished for "frank and sincere dialogue".

While senior Islamic clerics in India cancelled planned demonstrations yesterday, Muslims in Jordan said the Pope's explanation was not enough.

Mehmet Aydin, a minister overseeing religious affairs in Turkey, which Benedict is due to visit in November, also said it was inadequate.

"You either have to say this 'I'm sorry' in a proper way or not say it at all," he said. "Are you sorry for saying such a thing or because of its consequences?"

Officials in strife-torn Somalia said the murder of a nun aged around 60 at the SOS Hospital in Mogadishu may have been linked to the controversy.

"They could be people annoyed by the Pope's speech, which angered all Muslims in the world, or it could have been something to do with SOS," said Yusuf Mohamed Siad, head of security for the Islamic courts.

"We will have to clarify this through our investigation."

Witness Mohamud Durguf Derow said: "These gunmen always look for white people to kill, and now the Pope gave them the reason to do their worst."

A Vatican spokesman called the nun's killing "a horrible episode" but hoped it was an "isolated fact".

The Vatican was "following with con cern the consequences of this wave of hate, hoping that it does not lead to grave consequences for the church in the world," he said.

In the West Bank, two churches, neither of them Catholic, were set on fire early yesterday.

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