Pope Benedict says he is upset that a speech he gave this week offended Muslims.

The pope said Saturday 

he is very sorry that his comments were interpreted as offensive to Islam.

Benedict has received widespread criticism from Muslim leaders for his remarks Tuesday linking Islam with violence. In a speech to academics in Germany, Benedict quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor as saying the Prophet Muhammad brought "only evil and inhuman things," such as holy war.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today the pope should not "take lightly" the spread of outrage that has been created.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says the pope's comments were a "great mistake."

Muslim leaders elsewhere, including Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey, have also denounced the pope's comments.

The Vatican says Pope Benedict respects Islam and did not intend to offend anyone.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.