Last Tuesday (Sept. 12th), Pope Benedict spoke at the University of Regensburg in Munich, Germany (where he used to teach). In his lecture, he brought up the topic of Islam (mainly holy wars & jihads). He quoted the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus (14th century), "He said, and I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'" [translation from German]
The reaction from Muslims has been strong to say the least. There are outcries in Cairo for an apology, official condemnation from Pakistan's parliament, and a comparison to Hilter by an official in Turkey. Because of this reaction, the Pope may be forced to cancel a trip to Turkey scheduled for November and the Vatican has released a statement that the Pope did not mean to offend Islam with this "academic" quote, but an official apology has not been made.
Exerpt from the second NPR article linked below:Khaled Fuad Allam, a Muslim professor of sociology at Trieste University, acknowledged that Benedict had touched the delicate issue of the two faces of Islam: peaceful and violent.
"The problem is not what he said, but how he said it," Allam said in remarks translated from Italian. "Too often, Westerners stress only the issue of fundamentalism in Islam. The result is that they lump all Muslims into the cage of violence."
NPR articles/newscasts to get the full story:Sept. 13thSept. 15thSept. 16th