Global media is reporting on calls by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood that Pope Benedict XVI apologize before his upcoming Mideast tour for remarks made in 2006 that caused major controversy in the Islamic world. According to an AP report:
The controversy centers on a speech the pope made in September 2006 about Islam and violence in which he quoted a Medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of Muhammad as “evil and inhuman,” particularly “his command to spread by the sword the faith.” “The pope insulted Islam and deeply hurt our feelings back in 2006 and he must apologize now to clear the air with Muslims worldwide,” said Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu-Bakr. “We expect a written or verbal apology now or right before he visits Jordan.” The pope said in 2006 that he was “deeply sorry” over the reaction to his speech and the passage he quoted did not reflect his own opinion. But Abu-Bakr said the pope’s previous remarks were “insufficient” and a “clear public apology is required” before his May 8-15 tour of the region that will also take him to Israel and the Palestinian territories….During his four-day stay in Jordan, Benedict is scheduled to meet with Muslim religious leaders at Amman’s largest mosque — his second visit to a Muslim place of worship since becoming pope in 2005. Abu-Bakr said the Brotherhood has not yet received an invitation to attend the meeting but declined to say if the group would attend if the pope did not meet their apology request. “We’ll review and assess our participation depending on the prevailing situation at the time,” he said.
Since the controversy began over the Pope’s remarks, there have been ongoing attempts by both Catholic and Islamic leaders to repair the breach in relations. One of the best known of the attempts involved an initiative by the Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Muhammed bin Talal, who brought together 138 Muslim leaders in an open letter last year asking for a peaceful resolution to the controversy. The letter was drafted by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan who last year sponsored the Amman Message that was also signed by many Muslim Brotherhood leaders