NEW YORK – President Bush on Monday tried to soothe Muslims' outrage over Pope Benedict XVI's remarks about Islam.
Bush addressed the issue during his meeting Monday with the prime minister of Malaysia.
"The president noted that the pope had made some apologies for his remarks and the president believed that the pope was sincere in those remarks and that's where the discussion was left," Dennis Wilder, senior director for East Asian affairs for the National Security Council, told reporters during a briefing on the meeting held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
Benedict has said he "sincerely regrets" offending Muslims with his reference to an obscure medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman."
But the statement stopped short of the apology demanded by Islamic leaders around the globe, and anger among Muslims remained intense.
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose Southeast Asian nation has a large Muslim population, demanded that Benedict retract his remarks and not "take lightly the spread of outrage that has been created."
Asked how the prime minister reacted to Bush's comments, Wilder said only that the prime minister "accepted the president's position on the subject."