10/04/2006 - Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit Turkey on Nov. 28-30, a trip that has already attracted exceptionally close attention because of the pope's remarks about Islam during a September speech in Regensburg, Germany. More than 50 Islamic nations have demanded an apology for the speech, which aroused anger in the Islamic world for quoting a 14th-century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things.
Pope Benedict has tried to quell the uproar by repeatedly saying the quote does not reflect his personal views. He invited diplomats from some 20 Muslim states to the Vatican on Sept. 25 to assure them of his respect and to emphasize the Vatican's commitment to dialogue.
The trip to Turkey will be Pope Benedict's first to a predominately Muslim country since the controversy began.In separate e-mail exchanges, two prominent Washington-based scholars of religion agreed to discuss issues highlighted by the controversy.
George Weigel, a senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center is a Roman Catholic theologian and author of biographies of Pope Benedict (God's Choice) and Pope John Paul II (Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II).
John L. Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and author of What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam and Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam.
Robert Ruby, Senior Editor, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Excerpts appear below.
Read the full transcript at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.