Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat- 38 Muslim scholars from 10 Muslim countries have sent a joint letter to Pope Benedict XVI; accepting his apology and clarifications regarding his controversial remarks about Islam last month.
The open letter, which Asharq Al-Awsat obtained a copy of, is described as the first of its kind in over a century, but was also critical of Pope Benedict’s understanding of the Holy Koran.
The letter represents an attempt to engage with the papacy on theological grounds in order to tackle wide-ranging misconceptions about Islam in the Western world,” said the California-based Islamica Magazine, an international quarterly on Muslim affairs that posted the open letter on its website yesterday.
The clerics, who come from Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Jordan, Kosovo, Oman, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Iran and Yemen say they accept the Pope’s “unprecedented personal expression of sorrow”.
The pope is expected to receive the letter today.
Pope Benedict quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor as saying Islam was evil and irrational and had been spread by the sword.
Pope Benedict did not apologize for the speech delivered in Regensburg, Germany, but said he regretted the offence it had caused among Muslims.
Pope Benedict is scheduled to go to Turkey at the end of November, but the uproar over his speech has cast doubt on his possible visit.