(2006-09-15) — Pope Benedict XVI today apologized for using a quotation in a recent speech that has offended Muslim leaders by implying that the religion of Muhammad has brought little good to the world, and much evil.

Speaking at a German university this week, the Pontiff quoted a Byzantine emperor, who said, “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.”

However, upon his return to the Vatican a contrite Mr. XVI today said, “I’m sorry if I gave the wrong impression about what Muhammad has done for the world. I was just quoting the old emperor. But upon further reflection, I was reminded of the mighty civilizations that Islam has spawned, and I marveled at their profound contribution to humanity.”

The Pope listed some of the best known predominantly-Muslim nations — Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh.

“Reciting the names of these Muslim lands makes me even more sorry,” he added.

A leading Muslim cleric in Baghdad welcomed the apology as he declared a Fatwa calling for the brutal execution of the 79 year-old Pontiff whom he referred to as “an infidel puppet of the Zionist pig baboons.”

Tags: religion, islam, pope