Pope not welcome in Jordan, Islamists tell PM
The Islamists made the announcement in reaction to a speech the pope gave a few years ago in which he quoted a mediaeval Christian emperor who criticised some teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as ‘evil and inhuman.’Amman -- Jordan's influential Islamist opposition said on Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI is not welcome in the country next month unless he apologises for his 2006 remarks linking Islam to violence.
"The government should push for an apology from the pope, who should apologise for angering 1.5 billion Muslims in the world," Islamic Action Front (IAF) chief Zaki Bani Rsheid told Prime Minister Nader Dahabi in a letter. "Otherwise, he is not welcome in Jordan and his visit is rejected."
In the letter, posted on the IAF website, Bani Rsheid expressed the "hope that the government will ask the pope to apologise publicly for insulting Islam and the Prophet Mohammed."
The pope is due in Jordan from May 8 to 11 ahead of a trip to Israel.
In September 2006 at a speech at a German university, Benedict quoted a mediaeval Christian emperor who criticised some teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as "evil and inhuman."
His remarks sparked days of sometimes violent protests in Muslim countries including Jordan, prompting the pontiff to say later he was "deeply sorry" for any offence, and attributing Muslim anger to an "unfortunate misunderstanding."
The IAF is the political arm of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, and controls six seats in the 110-member lower house.
Bani Rsheid's letter comes four days after Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu Baker demanded that the pope postpone his visit to the kingdom.
"His visit to the region should reflect coexistence between Muslims and Christians. Provocative positions do not serve this purpose," Abu Baker said.