Monday, September 18, 2006


HAVANA, Sept 17, 2006 (Bernama) -- Malaysia today regretted that Pope Benedict XVI failed to offer a full apology and retract derogatory remarks about Islam in a speech he made which enraged Muslims around the world.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the Pope only stated he was "deeply sorry" about the reaction to his speech but made no effort to calm Muslim anger by making a full apology.

The Pope had on Tuesday cited from a medieval text about holy wars that described Islam as "evil and inhuman" in a speech in Germany.

"Muslims have all this while felt being oppressed and the statement by the Pope saying he is sorry about the angry reaction is inadequate to calm the anger, more so because he is the highest leader of the Vatican," Syed Hamid told Malaysian journalists here at the end of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.

Because of that, he said, Malaysia would continue to insist that the Pope give a full apology and retract his statement.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also the chairman of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), had earlier called on Pope Benedict to apologise and retract his statement.-- BERNAMA

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