Al-Qaida: Pope visit to Turkey part of anti-Islam campaign

Wednesday, November 29th 2006, 6:22 am
By: News On 6

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Al-Qaida in Iraq on Wednesday denounced Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey, calling it part of a ``crusader campaign'' against Islam.

In Istanbul, Vatican officials said the remark shows the need for faiths to fight ``violence in the name of God.''

The trip is Benedict's first visit to an Islamic country as pontiff, seeking dialogue with Muslims who were angered over a speech he made in September in which he cited a medieval text that linked Islam and violence.

Al-Qaida in Iraq issued its statement on an Islamic militant Web site it often uses to post messages.

``The pope's visit, in fact, is to consolidate the crusader campaign against the lands of Islam after the failure of the crusader leaders ... and an attempt to extinguish the burning ember of Islam inside our Turkish brothers,'' it said.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said ``neither the pope nor his entourage are worried'' by the statement.

``This type of message shows once again the urgency and importance of a common commitment of all forces against violence,'' Lombardi said. ``It also shows the need of various faiths to say 'no' to violence in the name of God.''