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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 March, 2004, 18:52 GMT
Lord Carey defends Islam comments
Dr George Carey
Muslim leaders are "dismayed" by Lord Carey's comments
The former Archbishop of Canterbury has defended a speech made in Rome in which he accused Islamic societies of contributing little to the world.

Lord Carey said his lecture on Thursday also contained criticisms of Western culture and was a balanced appraisal of Islam and Christianity's relationship.

The former Anglican Church head told BBC's Newsnight: "I do not apologise for the things I say."

But Muslim leaders said he was "ignorant in the true faith of Islam".

Authoritarian regimes

Speaking in Rome on Thursday, Lord Carey said Islamic regimes were authoritarian and committed to power and privilege.

He said not enough moderate Muslim leaders had condemned suicide bombers.

Referring to the culture's contribution to society, he lamented the lack of any great invention saying it was 'a puzzle'.

One is surprised to find Lord Carey recycling the same old religious prejudice in the 21st century
Iqbal Sacranie, Muslim Council of Britain

'Muslim people are not bereft of brilliant minds. They have much to contribute to the human family,' he added.

On Friday, he told Newsnight that while he defended his comments about Muslims, he said: "I honour them as people. I honour the Muslim faith."

Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, responded angrily, saying: "One is surprised to find Lord Carey recycling the same old religious prejudice in the 21st century."

Manzoor Moghal, Chairman of the Federation of Muslim Organisations in Leicester, England, where 40,000 Muslims are based, said Lord Carey's understanding was poor.

"People are going to see the whole thing in a light which will portray him as a person who is ignorant in the true faith of Islam," he added.

The BBC's Robert Pigott
"The current Archbishop of Canterbury has refused to talk about Lord Carey's speech"

'Find out about Islam' - vicar
10 Mar 03  |  England

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