In Jordan, Pope Decries 'Manipulation' of Religion

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 9, 2009 7:27 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by parishioners after his arrival at the Lady of Peace Church in Amman, Jordan Friday, May 8, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI expressed deep respect for Islam Friday and said he hopes...   (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
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(Newser) – The top religious adviser to Jordan's king thanked Pope Benedict XVI today for his expression of "regret" after a 2006 speech that many Muslims deemed insulting to Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Benedict told the audience of religious leaders and officials at an Amman mosque that the history of the two faiths has been marked by misunderstanding. The pope said it is "ideological manipulation of religion sometimes for political ends that is the real catalyst for tension and division and at times even violence in society."

The pope angered many in the Muslim world three years ago when he quoted a Medieval text that characterized some of Islam's Prophet Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith. Prince Ghazni bin Mohammed thanked Benedict for the clarification he issued after the speech that the views did not reflect his own opinion but were instead "simply a citation in an academic lecture."