There are growing calls for Pope Benedict to make a personal apology over comments he made about Islam. There have been protests in the Turkish capital, Ankara, along with many other cities around the world. There has also been a chorus of condemnation from Arab and Muslim countries meeting at the Non-Aligned Summit in Cuba.
Pakistan’s President, Pervez Musharraf, urged member states to unite to oppose any attempts to link Islam with terrorism: “Our strategy must clearly oppose the sinister tendencies to associate terrorism with Islam and discrimination against Muslims, which are giving rise to an ominous alienation between the west and the world of Islam,” he said.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, echoed his call. “We are hopeful that such statements and such positions would not be stated in order to not allow tension and distrust and recriminations to brew between the Muslim as well as the West.” The Vatican has repeated its statement that the Pope did not mean to offend Muslims. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has also defended the Pope against the allegations saying “critics had misunderstood his comments which were a call for dialogue between religions.”