Iraqi Parliament Demands Clear Apology From Pope

Iraq's parliament on Tuesday rejected Pope Benedict XVI's explanation of his remarks on the Prophet Muhammad's teachings as not being clear enough, and demanded a "clear-cut apology."

Benedict on Sunday said he was "deeply sorry" over any hurt caused by his comments made in a speech last week, in which he quoted a medieval text characterizing some of the Prophet Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman" and calling Islam a religion spread by the sword.

The words provoked outrage around the Islamic world, giving rise to protests and prompting widespread calls for an apology.

Benedict on Sunday said the remarks came from a text that did not reflect his own opinion, but he did not retract what he said or say he was sorry he uttered what proved to be explosive words.

Iraq's parliament said in a statement read at a press conference that the pontiff needed to do more.

CountryWatch: Iraq

Parliament "demands the pope take practical steps to restoring self respect to the Islamic world and its religion, and a clear-cut apology for what he said," the statement said.

It added that the demand was aimed to ensure that similar remarks would not be made in the future and to create an "encouraging environment for openness and close relationship among religions, dropping all that would lead to hatred."

Muhanad Abdul-Jabbar, spokesman for parliamentary speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, said parliament would also like to see the pope go beyond an official apology.

"The Vatican can also organize a conference about Islam and its noble concepts and clarify them to the Christians," Abdul-Jabbar said.