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Pope Apologizes, Muslims Get Back To Work

From (once Catholic) France's AFP:

Pope says he 'deeply sorry' for Muslim outrage

by Jean-Francois Le Mounier

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI has sought to mollify Muslim anger, saying he was "deeply sorry" for the outrage sparked by his recent remarks on Islam and stressing they did not reflect his personal opinion.

The pope's expression of regret was welcomed by several prominent Muslim groups even though it appeared to fall short of the full, personal apology they had demanded.

Benedict had come under mounting pressure from Muslim leaders worldwide to retract his remarks made in Germany Tuesday in which he quoted an obscure medieval text that criticised some teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as "evil and inhuman".

"I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address … which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims," the pope said during the traditional Angelus blessing from the balcony of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.

He stressed that the passages he quoted during a speech at Regensburg University "do not in any way express my personal thought."

"I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect," he added.

The pope's comments in Germany had triggered widespread condemnation across the Muslim world, amid violent protests reminiscent of those that erupted after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed a year ago.

One of the most vocal critics, Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood, said the pope’s expression of sorrow represented "a good step" towards an apology

Meanwhile, the Religion of Peace marches on.

From the keepers of the faith at the Associated Press:

Violence Surges in Baghdad After Lull

By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, 09.16.2006

After a one-day lull, bloodshed surged again in the capital Saturday, with at least 17 people dead in attacks and 27 probable victims of sectarian killings found dumped in the streets as Iraq’s prime minister launched a fresh appeal for reconciliation.

Violence has escalated sharply in Baghdad over the past week, except for Friday, when only three killings were recorded – two Iraqis shot to death and a U.S. soldier killed by a bomb.

Saturday’s toll raised the city’s violent deaths to more than 180 just since Wednesday – either slain by bombs and gunfire or tortured and shot before being dumped, a hallmark of reprisal killings being waged between Shiite and Sunni Muslims…

And this, also courtesy of the Associated Press:

Italian nun shot dead by Somali gunmen

MOHAMED SHEIKH NOR, Associated Press Writer

MOGADISHU, Somalia – An Italian nun was shot dead at a hospital by Somali gunmen Sunday, hours after a leading Muslim cleric condemned Pope Benedict XVI for his remarks on Islam and violence.

The nun, who was not immediately identified, was shot in the back at S.O.S. Hospital in northern Mogadishu by two gunmen, said Mohamed Yusuf, a doctor at the facility, which serves mothers and children. The nun's bodyguard and a hospital worker were also killed, doctors said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, and it was not clear if it was directly linked to the pope's comments. Two people had been arrested, said Yusuf Mohamed Siad, head of security for the Islamic militia that controls Mogadishu.

Earlier Sunday, a Somali cleric criticized the comments the pope made in a speech last week for offending Muslims. The pope had cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's founder, as "evil and inhuman."

"The pope's statement at this time was not only wrong but irresponsible as well," said Sheik Nor Barud, deputy leader of the Somali Muslim Scholars Association.

"Both the Pope and the Byzantine Emperor he quoted are ignorant of Islam and its noble Prophet," he told journalists at a news conference in the capital Mogadishu…

And again from the AFP:

Thai blasts kill four, wound dozens

by Jack Barton Sun Sep 17

HAT YAI, Thailand (AFP) – Thai police picked through the wreckage for clues after a string of bombs tore apart a popular tourist area in troubled southern Thailand, killing four people and wounding dozens.

The six simultaneous blasts ripped through Saturday night crowds in bars and cafes in Hat Yai, the main tourist hub in the southern region that has been gripped by an Islamic insurgency which has killed more than 1,400 people

Paitoon Pattanasophon, police chief in Songkhla province, where Hat Yai is located, said police were holding emergency meetings as the hunt for suspects got underway. No arrests had been made by late Sunday…

Police Lieutenant Colonel Prasit Paochoo said two explosive devices were planted inside motorcycles and detonated with a mobile phone.

The other four were planted near the entrances of two department stores and a hotel frequented by foreigners, he said, adding that police were still unsure what kind of bombs they were.

As dawn broke in the city, crowds of shocked onlookers gathered amid the wreckage. Walls were studded with shrapnel at the sites, which were covered with debris and pools of blood…

And more from the terrorist enablers at Reuters:

Bombs kill 23 in Iraq's Kirkuk

By Sherko Raouf

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) – Rebels unleashed a wave of deadly bomb attacks in Iraq's ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk on Sunday, including a huge suicide truck bomb, a day after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki urged Iraqis to embrace reconciliation.

At least 23 people were killed and 73 wounded in coordinated blasts caused by a truck bomb and four car bombs that rocked oil-rich Kirkuk, a flashpoint city north of Baghdad disputed by Sunni Arabs, ethnic Kurds and Turkmen.

In the deadliest explosion, a suicide attacker driving a truck rigged with explosives blew himself up outside a police center and the offices of two top Kurdish parties, killing 17 people, mostly civilians, police said. The toll included 10 women and two children visiting relatives held by police.

Within an hour, a car bomb targeting a U.S. military patrol killed three civilians and wounded six. Minutes later, a suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle against an Iraqi army checkpoint, wounding two soldiers. Two other car bombs struck the city.

The closed-off area also houses headquarters of the two main Kurdish political parties, those of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani and Kurdish regional president Massoud Barzani. But police said the blast was aimed at the police.

Firefighters battled flames at collapsed buildings and charred corpses lay in streets littered with twisted car parts. Witnesses said the bomber fired a pistol from the truck at the Kurdish guards before he blew himself up.

Kirkuk Police chief Major General Sherko Shakir said the simultaneous explosions were aimed to "destabilize the city." …

In Baghdad, police found 24 more victims of sectarian death squads in the past 24 hours, all of them bound, bearing signs of torture and with a single gunshot to the head, bringing to more than 200 the number of bodies in five days.

A roadside bomb in a popular bird and animal market in Baghdad killed two people and wounded eight, police said…

So far there have been no apologies issued by any Islamic leaders.

And, in fact, no one has even bothered to call for any.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, September 17th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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