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Pope Benedicts Offensive Muslim Comments And Possible Ramifications

Pope Benedict’s quotation of the Byzantine emperor Paleologus caused a rift in communication between Catholic and Muslim religious groups. During a speech at the University of Regensburg the pontiff quoted a 14 century Byzantine emperor who made offensive remarks towards the Muslim Prophet Muhammad claming he brought “violence” and “evil”.

The words of the pontiff have caused a great backlash from the Muslim community on a whole. Many Muslims have burned effigies of the pope Benedict, have protested against the pope and have had harsh words for the pontiff. Many Muslims leaders have criticized his remarks including groups from Pakistan and Britain. Even though the Vatican and Pope Benedict stated that it was not their intention to offend the Muslim people, Muslims around the world still took offense to his words.

These simple words will greatly affect future negotiations between Muslim and catholic groups. Pope Benedict now put his church in a position that is not the best position for dialogue. Through his words he had created conflict which is the exact thing that dialogue seeks to eradicate. At this point the Catholic Church is simply attempting to show remorse and make up for its blunder in communication.

The Muslims believe that they were attacked in an indirect way with as an attempt to link Islam with terrorism. Although the pope Benedict has apologized, many Muslims do not believe this apology to be sincere and will hold onto this transgression as the years progress. And this may be of tremendous impact as it will be hard for both groups to push forward in attempts to break down barriers and find common perspectives with ill feelings still abounding.

Muslims in the future may be wary of having dialogue with catholic groups, even after time has passed and things have seemed to boil down. They maybe still be distrustful which will not create a good atmosphere for positive talks.

Dale Pindling

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