The Pope must die, says Muslim

 A notorious Muslim extremist told a demonstration in London 
yesterday that the Pope should face execution.

Anjem Choudary said those who insulted Islam would be "subject to 
capital punishment". 

Should the Pope have apologised for his remarks? Vote here

His remarks came during a protest outside Westminster Cathedral on a 
day that worldwide anger among Muslim hardliners towards Pope 
Benedict XVI appeared to deepen. 

The pontiff yesterday apologised for causing offence during a 
lecture last week. Quoting a medieval emperor, his words were taken 
to mean that he called the prophet Mohammed "evil and inhuman". 

He insisted he was "deeply sorry" but his humbling words did not go 
far enough to silence all his critics or quell the violence and 
anger he has triggered. 

A nun was shot dead in Somalia by Islamic gunmen and churches came 
under attack in Palestine. 

Choudary's appeal for the death of Pope Benedict was the second time 
he has been linked with apparent incitement to murder within a year. 

The 39-year-old lawyer organised 

demonstrations against the publication of cartoons of Mohammed in 
February in Denmark. Protesters carried placards declaring "Behead 
Those Who Insult Islam". 

Yesterday he said: "The Muslims take their religion very seriously 
and non-Muslims must appreciate that and that must also understand 
that there may be serious consequences if you insult Islam and the 

"Whoever insults the message of Mohammed is going to be subject to 
capital punishment."

He added: "I am here have a peaceful demonstration. But there may be 
people in Italy or other parts of the world who would carry that 

"I think that warning needs to be understood by all people who want 
to insult Islam and want to insult the prophet of Islam." 

As well as placards attacking the Pope such as "Pope go to Hell", 
his followers outside the country's principal Roman Catholic church 
also waved slogans aimed at offending the sentiments of Christians 
such as "Jesus is the slave of Allah". 

A Scotland Yard spokesman said of his comments: "We have had no 
complaints about this. There were around 100 people at the 
demonstration. It passed off peacefully and there were no arrests."

Larger Islamic groups in Britain said they accepted the Pope's 
apology. Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain 
said: "The Vatican has moved quickly to deal with the hurt and we 
accept that. 

"It was something that should never have happened - words of that 
nature were always likely to cause dismay - and we believe some of 
the Pope's advisers may have been at fault over his speech."

Yesterday's sermon by the Pope was the first time a pontiff has 
publicly said sorry. 

He said he regretted Muslim reaction to his speech and stressed that 
the quotation did not reflect his personal opinion. Anger and 
violence - including attacks on seven churches in the West Bank and 
Gaza - have characterised one of the biggest international crises 
involving the Vatican in decades. 

The Pope appeared determined to move quickly to try to defuse the 
anger but the fury of many radicals was unabated last night and 
there were fears for his safety. 

Iraqi jihadists issued a video of a scimitar slicing a cross in two, 
intercut with images of Benedict and the burning Twin Towers. 

The website run in the name of the Mujahedeen Army, used by 
extremist groups who have claimed responsibility for attacks in 
Iraq, was addressed to "You dog of Rome" and threatened to "shake 
your thrones and break your crosses in your home". 

In a reference to suicide bombing, it said: "We swear to God to send 
you people who adore death as much as you adore life."

The threat of violence against Catholics and Christians was 
emphasised by the murder of an Italian nun in Somalia. Sister 
Leonella, 66, was shot as she walked from the children's hospital 
where she worked to her house in Mogadishu, a city recently taken 
over by an Islamic government. 

A Vatican spokesman said he feared her death was "the fruit of 
violence and irrationality arising from the current situation". 

Father Frederico Lombardi said he hoped it was an isolated 
event. "We are worried about this wave of hatred and hope it doesn't 
have any grave consequences for the Church around the world," he 

The murder suggested that extremists are determined to use the 
Pope's embarrassment as an excuse for violence. 

In Turkey, state minister Mehmet Aydin said the Pope seemed to be 
saying he was sorry for the outrage but not necessarily for his 

"You either have to say this, 'I'm sorry' in a proper way or not say 
it at all," he told reporters in Istanbul. 

There were fierce denunciations of the pontiff from Iran. The 
English-language Tehran Times called his lecture in Bavaria last 
week "code words for a new crusade". 

The powerful cleric Ahmad Khatami told theological students in the 
holy city of Qom: The "Pope should fall on his knees in front of a 
senior Muslim cleric and try to understand Islam."

But the Turkish government signalled it was content and that the 
Pope's visit to the country in November can go ahead. 

In his sermon yesterday at the Papal summer residence of Castel 
Gandolfo outside Rome, Benedict spoke amid strengthened security. 

He said: "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a 
few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which 
were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. 

"These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not 
in any way express my personal thought. I hope this serves to 
appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address."

No other Pope is thought to have made such an apology.

Reader views (11) Add your view | Show all

Here's a sample of the latest views published. You can click view 
all to read all views that readers have sent in. 


Why should the pope say sorry hes done nothing wrong. Spare a 
thought for the poor nun who has been murdered in Somalia her only 
crime was to be a catholic. She devoted her life to helping people.

- Derek Griffin, Dagenham

Incitement to commit murder is a serious offence. I hope this man is 
arrested forthwith.

- Liz, Lincoln

Why on earth should the Pope apologise - he was quoting a medieval 
text. If a historian quotes Hitler, that doesn't mean that he 
supports those views himself. Any extremists, of any religion, who 
incite hatred and violence should be jailed. If they have moved here 
from another country they should be made to return. We should not 
tolerate such behaviour any longer in our midst.

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