/*PenDragn: Pope's comments on Islam unite Iraqis*/


Pope's comments on Islam unite Iraqis

Way to go Pope!

Fair Use Excerpt AP report:
Often divided by religious differences, Iraq's Shiite and Sunni Arabs united Friday in anger over remarks by Pope Benedict XVI referring to Islam and holy war.

Clerics from both communities, which are locked in a vicious cycle of reprisal attacks that have killed thousands of Iraqis, called the pontiff's comments an insult to the Muslim faith and its founder, Prophet Muhammad.

"We denounce this slander made by the pope on Islam and the figure of the Prophet Muhammad," Sheik Salah al-Ubaidi said in a sermon to about 5,000 people in the Shiite Muslim-stronghold of Kufa, about 100 miles south of Baghdad.

"It is the second assault made on Islam and the prophet. Last year, and in the same month, the Danish cartoon assaulted Islam," he said, referring to caricatures of Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper that set off sometimes violent Muslim protests around the globe.

At the Abdul-Qadir al-Gilani mosque in central Baghdad, Sunni cleric Mahmoud al-Isawi's sermon described the pope's comment as a "Western aggressive attack" that was "clearly showing its hatred toward our Islamic religion."

Shiite cleric Sheik Abdul-Kareem al-Ghazi, in Iraq's second-largest city, Basra, said the pope's comments ran counter to the Christian faith.

"The pope and Vatican proved to be Zionists and that they are far from Christianity, which does not differ from Islam. Both religions call for forgiveness, love and brotherhood," he said in a sermon delivered at the offices of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, where many people gather for religious services.

Al-Ghazi challenged Benedict or any other senior Vatican official to a debate, saying he would be willing to convert to Christianity if the pontiff managed to convince him of his views.