Mujahedeen Army issues threat of attack on Vatican City

Sunday, September 17, 2006

St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

The Mujahedeen Army, a group of insurgents in Iraq has posted a message on the Internet threatening attacks on Vatican City in Rome, Italy.

The statement is issued to "you dog of Rome" then begins to threaten Rome saying, we will "shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home. Our minds will not rest until we shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home. We swear to God to send you people who adore death as much as you adore life. Rome will be a witness when Muhammad destroys the Vatican. Rome's cross will be destroyed."

The threat comes after Pope Benedict XVI recited verses from a conversation between Emperor Byzantine Manuel II Palaiologos and a Persian man in the 14th century. The Pope quoted Palaiologos as saying, "show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Because of the threat, security around Pope Benedict has been increased.

"The preoccupations make reference not only to the Vatican City, but also to diverse objectives that are somehow conducive to the Catholic world," the Dominican Today news agency quoted the Italian News Agency as saying.

Security around the Pope "will be discreet not to disturb the context of the mass however, meticulous and attentive, it will cover a more extensive area than what is habitual. [We] have reinforced safety measures in the area surrounding the Vatican."

Secretary of State of the Vatican City, Cardinal Tarcisio said that the Pope apologized for the way his remarks made during a speech at the University of Regensburg in Germany on September 12 2006 were interpreted saying, "the Holy Father is very sorry that some passages of his speech may have appeared offensive to Muslims and were interpreted in a way he hadn't intended them to be. [The speech was supposed to reflect] the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come."

The Pope apologized in public today saying, "at this time I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These [comments] were in fact a quotation from a medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought."

"I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect," added the Pope.