Sunday, November 26, 2006

R-58 Turkish protests at Pope's pending visit

Turkish protests at Pope's visit Thousands of Muslims are holding a protest in Istanbul against the Pope's forthcoming visit to Turkey..... Crowds have been booing - and shouting slogans such as "Don't come Pope" - as pictures of Benedict XVI have been shown on a giant screen.

The Pope sparked outrage across the Muslim world in September, when he quoted a 14th-Century Christian emperor who criticised the Prophet Muhammad..... The Pope stressed that these were not his own words and later expressed regret for any offence his words caused...... However many Muslim leaders have been demanding an unequivocal apology.

Turkey's Christians await pope's visit When Pope Benedict XVI visits Turkey for four days starting Tuesday, he will try to ease anger over his recent remarks linking Islam and violence. But he is also expected to press the 99 percent Muslim country to give its Christian community more rights. Some of those Christians are forced to worship in so-called "apartment churches," and suffer prejudice, discrimination, even assault.....

Of Turkey's 70 million people, some 65,000 are Armenian Orthodox Christians, 20,000 are Roman Catholic, and 3,500 are Protestant, mostly converts from Islam. Another 2,000 are Greek Orthodox and 23,000 are Jewish.
Thousands in Turkey denounce papal visit ISTANBUL, Turkey - Tens of thousands of protesters denounced Pope Benedict XVI as an enemy of Islam at a rally Sunday that underlined deep divisions straining Turkey ahead of the pontiff's visit this week.....

Officials hoping to promote closer ties with the West urged calm, but Islamic groups wary of Western ways are united in anger over a speech Benedict gave two months ago in which he quoted a medieval text that linked Islam to violence.

Chants of "No to the pope!" rose among nearly 25,000 demonstrators at every mention of his remarks on violence and the Prophet Muhammad. Many protesters wore headbands with anti-pope slogans and waved placards that included a depiction of Benedict as the grim reaper...... Turkey's foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, said Benedict's visit could help "remove some misunderstandings" between Christians and Muslims.

"The messages the pope gives here will, of course, be very important," Gul said at a news conference..... But the protesters sent a loud signal that the pope is not welcome until he offers a full apology for his remarks in September, in which he quoted a medieval Christian emperor characterizing some of Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman."


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