Pope Benedict XVI has taken another step to placate anger in the Islamic world over his remarks on holy war, making additions to his original text affirming that a quotation from a 14th Byzantine emperor was not his personal opinion.
The Sept. 12 speech at Regensburg University set off protests around the Muslim world and raised a cloud over his planned visit next month to Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country.
He had quoted the emperor as saying: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
The original speech, given at a university where he once taught, said the pope intended to "supply a subsequent version of this text, complete with footnotes." He has done that in recent days, with the English version released on the Vatican's Web site Monday.
The original said the emperor's remark was made "somewhat brusquely." In the new version, it says it was made with "a brusqueness that we find unacceptable."
Benedict added in a footnote, "In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, this arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur'an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion."
He said he cited the text as part of an examination of the relationship between faith and reason," reports AP.
Since the uproar over the speech, the pope has expressed his regrets for offending Muslims and met with diplomats from Muslim countries, saying the two faiths must overcome historic enmities and together reject violence."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to go to the 77th UN General Assembly in September