AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Dozens of Muslim scholars and chief muftis from numerous countries have accepted Pope Benedict XVI's statement of regret for his remarks on Islam and violence, the editor of a Muslim journal said Friday.
The scholars have signed an open letter that will be delivered to a Vatican envoy in the hopes of engaging the pope in a dialogue to counter prejudice against Islam, said the Jordanian-based editor of Islamica Magazine, Sohail Nakhooda.
Nakhooda said the leading clerics behind the letter were Sheik Habib Ali of the Taba Institute in the United Arab Emirates and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, the special adviser to Jordan's King Abdullah II.
In a speech last month in his native Germany, the pontiff quoted a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."
The citation provoked protests from Muslims across the world. The pope said the quotation did not reflect his personal view of Islam, and he expressed deep regret that Muslims had been offended by it. Some Muslim leaders had demanded a fuller apology.
Nakhooda said the 38 signatories to the letter accepted the pope's "personal expression of sorrow and assurance that the controversial quote did not reflect his personal opinion."
Nakhooda added the letter, which will be published on Islamica Magazine's Web site on Saturday, is "an attempt to engage with the papacy on theological grounds in order to tackle wide-ranging misconceptions about Islam in the Western world."
Nakhooda said signatories include the grand muftis of Egypt, Russia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Oman, as well as the Iranian Shiite cleric Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri, and Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of Georgetown University.
Islamica Magazine is a quarterly whose headquarters are in Los Angeles.
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