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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Vatican 'clarifies' Pope speech
Pope Benedict XVI. File photo
The Pope has said he regrets the offence caused to Muslims
The Vatican has released a final version of an address by Pope Benedict XVI in Germany last month, which angered Muslims around the world.

In the original speech, the Pope quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Mohammed had brought only "evil and inhuman" things.

The passage has been amended and a footnote added asserting the Pope's respect for a "great religion".

Muslim leaders have been demanding an unequivocal apology from the pontiff.

In his speech at Regensburg University, the German-born Pope explored the historical and philosophical differences between Islam and Christianity, and the relationship between violence and faith.

Stressing that they were not his own words, he quoted Emperor Manuel II Paleologos of the Byzantine Empire, the Orthodox Christian empire which had its capital in what is now the Turkish city of Istanbul.

'Understandable indignation'

The emperor's words were, he said: "Show me just what Muhammad [sic] 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."

Benedict said "I quote" twice to stress the words were not his and added that violence was "incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul".

In the new version, Pope Benedict makes it clear that he finds the "brusqueness" of the emperor's words "unacceptable".

In the footnote, the pontiff acknowledges that in the Muslim world the quotation was unfortunately taken as his personal view, arousing "understandable indignation".

The Pope has reiterated in public that he regrets the offence caused, expressing "deep respect" for Islam.


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