After raising a furor over his comments in an address in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI (16) is now taking steps to quell the rising tide of anger unleashed against him in the Islamic world.
During his address at the University of Regensburg, the pope had quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus as having said, "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."
Naturally, this led to a violent reaction by Muslims who disagreed with this assessment of their religion, causing the Pope to withdraw the now-dead Emperor's remarks. In a ceremony at the Vatican, the pope re-quoted Emperor Paleologus as having said that he was sorry for the reaction he had caused within the Islamic community and that he had no way of knowing that people in 2006 would still remember his words from 600 years ago which had been uttered during the heat of the moment after losing all his earthly possessions to his friend, Abu Salim during a frantic game of poker.
However, the Muslim world, being unsatisfied with a mere withdrawal of the Emperor's statement, continued to seethe at the pope's quotes of the Emperor's accusation of Islam being a sword-friendly religion, even killing an Italian nun to argue their case. This finally resulted in the pope getting together with a number of diplomats from Islamic countries and telling them that in his latest post-mortem transmission from beyond the grave, the Emperor Paleologus had said that not only was he sorry for the reaction to his quotes, he even respected Islam and that he apologized for having put his good friend Pope Benedict XIV (16) in such a politically precarious position.
On being asked about the reason behind the sudden turn-around in the Emperor's views, the Pope Benedict XVI (16) replied, "Well, it's almost the beginning of Ramadan and the season for fasting and as we all know, hunger can really drive people to violence."