Merkel defends pope over Islam remarks

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Friday September 15, 2006

Hamburg- German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday weighed in on the controversy caused by Pope Benedict XVI in Germany earlier this week with his remarks about the concept of holy war in the Islamic faith. In the Saturday edition of the mass-circulation Bild newspaper, Merkel defended the pope against accusations of blasphemy and provocation, saying: "Those who criticize the pope have misjudged the intention of his speech."

Benedict had issued an invitation to inter-faith dialogue, she said.

"The pope has expressly championed this dialogue, which I also support and consider to be urgently needed."

What Benedict XVI was seeking was "a decisive and uncompromising rejection of all use of violence in the name of religion," she added.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur