THE QUOTES THAT STARTED IT ALL
“In the seventh (sura, or chapter of the Quran), the emperor comes to speak about jihad, holy war.
“The emperor certainly knew that Sura 2, 256, reads: ‘No force in matters of faith.’ It is one of the early suras, from a time – as experts say – in which Mohammed himself was still powerless and threatened.
“However, the emperor of course also knew the requirements about the holy war that were later formulated in the Quran. Without going into details like the handling of the owners of the scriptures, or non-believers, he (the emperor) turned to his interlocutors – in a surprisingly brusque way – with the central question after the relationship between religion and violence.
“He said, 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.'”
-Pope Benedict XVI
AN APOLOGY … OF SORTS
“The Holy Father is very sorry that some passages of his speech may have sounded offensive to the sensibilities of Muslim believers,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in a statement.
The pope later reiterated “his respect and esteem for those who profess the Islamic faith,” Bertone said, adding he hopes the pope’s words would be interpreted “in their true sense.”
-Pope Benedict XVI
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