Pope's apology accepted by 38 Muslim scholars

Thirty-eight Muslim scholars and chief muftis from numerous countries have accepted Pope Benedict XVI’s apology for his remarks on Islam, the editor of a Muslim journal said today.

The scholars have signed an open letter to this effect that will be delivered to a Vatican envoy in the hope of engaging the Pope in a dialogue to counter prejudice against Islam, said the Jordanian-based editor of Islamica Magazine, Sohail Nakhooda.

Nakhooda said the leading clerics behind the letter were Sheik Habib Ali of the Taba Institute in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, the special adviser to Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Last month, the Pope gave a lecture in his native Germany in which he quoted a medieval text that said the Muslim faith contained “things only evil and inhuman.”

The citation provoked a storm of protest from Muslims across the world. The Pope quickly distanced himself from the quotation, saying it did not reflect his personal view of Islam. He also expressed deep regret that Muslims had been offended by his use of the quote.

Nakhooda said the signatories include the grand muftis of Egypt, Russia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Oman, as well as the Iranian Shia cleric Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri, and Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of Georgetown University, Washington.

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