Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi cleric Sheik Salman Al-Odeh, which aired on MBC TV on September 15, 2006.
Salman Al-Odeh: The things [the Pope] said were thought out and not a slip of the tongue. This was not said in jest or spontaneously – this was thought out. It's as if the Pope did not have the courage to attack Islam and its Prophet directly. So he borrowed from an attack by a 14th-century Byzantine emperor in a dialogue with a Persian scholar.
He expressed what is in his heart, but he did not have the courage to say it directly, so he quoted... He could not insult Islam directly, so he borrowed the insults of the Byzantine emperor. He said this several times, and in public, while there is nothing in the context to explain why he chose such a long quotation from that dialogue, and recounted it in order to mock the Prophet of Islam, saying that the Prophet brought only things that are bad, cruel, evil, wicked, and satanic.
Nobody says you should face your enemy in the battle with roses or aromatic plants, or that you should give him your head on a platter. Even Christianity, which says that if you are struck on the right cheek, you should turn your left cheek, and if you are asked to give your coat, you should give your shirt as well, also includes the words of Jesus: "I came not to bring peace, but a sword." As we see, the Christians today are the ones who attack the world of Islam. It is not the world of Islam that is aggressive. Who colonized whom? Who invaded Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and every piece of the world of Islam? The Islamic world is subject to the aggression, the strikes, and the colonialism of the Western powers. Today, we see that the extremist, terrorist American and British administrations are attacking the Islamic world, supporting all the forces of violence and extremism, and abandoning the scales of justice.