The Pope's Anti-Islam 'Blunder'

September 15th, 2006 12:49 PM

Failing to call Islam a "religion of peace" can get you in a lot of trouble these days. Agence France Presse, a syndicated news service like the AP, says Pope Benedict XVI committed a "blunder" by saying, among other things, that Islam was a religion "spread by the sword."

By unwittingly angering Muslims with his comments on Islam, Pope Benedict XVI has shown that he has yet to shake off his academic theological roots and master the global media machine with the same deftness as his predecessor.

In clinging to theology and orthodoxy, the bookish Benedict has shown little regard for media management in getting his message across, unlike the communications-savvy John Paul II.

Benedict railed Muslims when he quoted a 14th-century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Mohammed had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things, portraying the Islam he founded as a religion which endorses violence, where faith is “spread by the sword”.

Not for the first time in the 17-month-old pontificate, the Vatican has been forced to backtrack with a statement aimed at smoothing ruffled diplomatic feathers.

Benedict seeks to “cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue toward other religions and cultures and obviously also toward Islam,” the Vatican said.

Hat tip Little Green Footballs.