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Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Islamic press split over Pope "apology"
Pakistani Muslims burn an effigy of Pope Benedict XVI as they shout slogans during a protest in Karachi, 16 September 2006
Protests at the Pope's comments have raged across the Muslim world

Pope Benedict's statement of regret over remarks which offended Muslims worldwide has received a mixed review among press commentators in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world.

While some call on their readers to accept the pontiff's statement as an apology aimed at making peace, many continue in an angry mood and speak of an increasing rift with the Muslim world.

One Arabic paper compares Pope Benedict unfavourably with his predecessor, Pope John Paul.

EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH

The Pope standing yesterday to offer a public apology to those whom he insulted is the best evidence of confessing to the mistake.

PALESTINIAN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

I have to admit that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement was wise to accept with alacrity the clarifications made by his Holiness Pope Benedict. We hope that the other Islamic circles will also be quick to accept the clarifications and regret, to underline the love in the hearts of all believers and stymie the efforts of those seeking to start a feud that every wise man would like to avoid.

PAN ARAB, LONDON-BASED AL-QUDS AL-ARABI

Pope Benedict committed an outrageous mistake against a faith of one and a half billion Muslims... and he should have made a clear and unequivocal apology. But instead he expressed regret in a bid to calm down Muslims.

MALAYSIA'S UTUSAN MALAYSIA

We do not know the real motive of Pope Benedict... This sensitive issue is difficult to resolve with just an apology.

PAKISTAN'S PAKISTAN

According to a Vatican spokesman, Pope Benedict has said that he regrets hurting the sentiments of Muslims and that he respects the followers of Islam. But he did not withdraw his statement. We demand that the Pope make a direct apology to Muslims instead of issuing weak explanations, and withdraw his statement.

EGYPT'S AL-AKHBAR

There is no doubt that the quick and strong reactions of Islamic countries, governments and leaders played the main role in persuading the Pope that the crisis... would not develop in the way he wanted, to curry favour with the political forces leading a campaign of intimidation and injustice against Islam.

PAN ARAB, LONDON-BASED AL-ARAB AL-ALAMIYAH

The Pope's statement was neither acceptable nor justifiable. It came from the head of the Catholics and coincided with the fifth anniversary of the 11 September attacks, which means it will be used by the US in its war against terror which is seen as a war on Islam and Muslims.

JORDAN'S AL-DUSTUR

The difference between Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict is that the former had opened the door of Islamic-Christian dialogue and closed the doors of the past so that everyone would look to the future, but the latter has done totally the opposite, and his apology for the insulting way in he talked about the Islamic creed and the methods of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is no longer enough.

JORDAN'S AL-GHAD

It is feared these statements will destroy the dialogue underway between the Islamic world and the Vatican.

EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM

Pope Benedict's statements show that evil Western philosophers have succeeded in making Islam the number one enemy of the West following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

QATAR'S AL-WATAN

Pope Benedict committed a major crime against humanity as he officially announced that he had joined the Bush Administration in leading the global imperialist wars of the USA.

TURKEY'S SABAH

Rather than getting angry, one must feel pity for Pope Benedict... It is clear that he has been the victim of his tactlessness and his lack of ability to perceive the world.

TURKEY'S HURRIYET

It is wrong to ask the Pope to apologize. Like he did yesterday, he will say 'The Byzantine Emperor said this, not me'. But the essence of the issue... is in accepting the way each other is, and in promoting common points of understanding to make a better world.

INDONESIA'S KEDAULATAN RAKYAT

Clearly, Pope Benedict does not understand the concept of jihad as a central factor in Islam by which objectives are achieved by exerting one's full potential. This also shows that Muslims need to examine how they can demonstrate true jihad based on Islamic principles.

KUALA LUMPUR'S NEW STRAITS TIMES

At a time when the Church and the Muslim world are beset by mutual suspicion, the last thing that is needed is to add more sparks to the tinderbox of emotions.

SINGAPORE'S BERITA HARIAN

Even though Pope Benedict has apologized, it is still unclear if his apology can abate the outrage of Muslims. We hope this protest does not spark violence similar to that which occurred as a result of the [Danish] cartoons [of the Prophet Muhammad].

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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