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Muslim Leaders Demand Apology for Pope's Anti-Islam Remarks


Not everyone in the Muslim world is satisfied with Pope Benedict's expression of sorrow, Sunday, for any offense he caused by his remarks about violence and the Islamic movement. Some leaders are calling for a full apology. Meanwhile, discussions are underway to firm up plans for the pope's visit to Turkey in November.

Catholic bishops are meeting today in Istanbul to discuss the Pope's upcoming visit to Turkey. Their meeting comes amid Muslim anger unleashed by the Pope's words on Islam, last week.

Bishops will be discussing whether the November visit can go ahead. Turkish officials have urged the Pope not to cancel the visit. But new security concerns have arisen following violence, which has erupted against the Pope in the Muslim world.

So far, Vatican officials say they see no reason why the visit to Turkey -- scheduled at the end of November -- should not take place. Sunday, the Pope tried to appease those in the Muslim world, saying his quotation of a Byzantine emperor to academics in Germany did not reflect his personal opinion.

Speaking from his summer residence Sunday, Pope Benedict said he was deeply sorry about the reactions in the Muslim world. He says his intention was to encourage open and honest dialogue.

Last week, Pope Benedict quoted a 14th Century Byzantine emperor, using the words "evil" and "inhuman" to describe some teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. He also spoke of jihad and holy war, saying violence was not compatible with the nature of God.

Reactions from the Muslim world to the Pope's efforts to calm the uproar have been mixed, with many still unsatisfied with what they say was not a full apology.

The head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate says the Pope's message was indirect. He says the Pope did not apologize for using excessive language, but because he was misunderstood.

In the Middle East, at least at least seven churches were attacked over the weekend. In Somalia, an Italian nun was killed. And, in China, a religious official said Monday Pope Benedict's comments on Islam and violence were insulting to Islam and hurtful to Chinese Muslims.

Also on Monday, a message was posted on the Internet by Al Qaeda's Iraq cell responded to what it called the Pope's "denigrating comments" by pledging to continue its holy war until the West is defeated.