THE OFFENSE: "He said, and I quote, '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.'"
On Sept. 12, 2006, at Regensberg University in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI quoted 14th century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus deriding Islam, as part of a speech that ranged over the nature of God amid the specificity of cultures. It sparked protests and violence throughout the Muslim world: Palestinian Muslims hurled firebombs at churches in the West Bank and Gaza in protest, and even a public apology from Benedict couldn't quell their anger. On the same day that he said he was "deeply sorry" for the remarks, protesters in Basra took to the streets and burned effigies of the Pope, as an al-Qaeda linked militant group vowed a war against the "worshippers of the cross." The Pope reiterated his apology for offending Muslims during his historic visit to Turkey in October. Nevertheless, the Pope who champions re-Christianizing Europe in the face of secular and non-Catholic influences has never quite retracted the ideas expressed in the speech.
THE APOLOGY: "At this time, I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought."
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