New Delhi: Officials of the Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti’s dargah in Friday on Friday demanded that Pope Benedict XVI retract his comments on jihad and apologise to Muslisms.
The pope was the head of a religion and it was unbecoming of him to hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims, said Saiyad Jainul Abedin, descendent of Khwaja Saheb and the Dargah Diwan.
Islam respected all religions and Quran had no examples of spreading terrorism, but the Pope without ascertaining the facts had linked Islam with terrorism, said Abedin.
Reacting strongly to the pope's comments, dargah khadim S F Hasan Chisti said the pope had no idea about the teachings of Islam and all Muslims had been hurt by his remarks.
The Khadims demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should take up this matter at the international forum and should see that such incidents were not repeated in the future.
The Khadims said the Pope should apologise publicly the same way he condemned the Islam religion at a public function.
In Lucknow, Islamic scholar Maulana Khalid Rasheed expressed shock at the remark.
"The remark is more derogatory than the Danish cartoonist's blasphemous sketches on the Prophet. This was the last thing we could have expected from the Pope," said Rasheed, who is a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
"Muslims have tolerated Christian terrorism on the people of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and now Lebanon, but no Muslim is going to tolerate such wild, baseless and unfounded allegations against the Prophet."
"The charge that the Prophet used the sword to spread Islam is false. The Prophet used the sword only to defend Islam not to spread the religion. He believed in peace and practised it to the hilt," Rasheed said.
Shia Leader Maulana Kalbe Jawad added, "This has been a very irresponsible statement. The pope has blamed all the evils in the world on Islam and that is not acceptable."
In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP) Chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah was put under house arrest on Friday morning.
Shah was scheduled to lead a demonstration against the Pope’s statement, but it was not clear whether his house arrest was related to the demonstration.
In Varanasi, angry crowds burnt effigies of the Pope after the Friday prayers.
"We are all feeling bad about what the Pope said," said a resident of Varanasi, Firoz.
"When we call for jihad, we do so because of a war and a case. Our Muslim religion calls for peace and living together with all other religions,” said a Lebanese national.
At the University of Regensburg, southern Germany, on Tuesday, the Pope gave a speech in which he quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Christianity and Islam.
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the Pope said.
"He said, 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,"' he quoted the emperor as saying.
Vatican explains statement
The Vatican on Thursday night said Pope Benedict XVI did not intend to offend Muslim sensibilities with remarks about holy war.
"It certainly wasn't the intention of the pope to carry out a deep examination of jihad (holy war) and on Muslim thought on it, much less to offend the sensibility of Muslim believers," Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, who accompanied the pontiff on the trip to Regensburg, said in a statement after Benedict returned to Rome.
(With inputs from PTI, UNI and AP)