Sheikh Abu Saqer, leader of Gaza's Jihadia Salafiya Islamic outreach movement, which seeks to make secular Muslims more religious, called the pope a "puppet" for "that Crusader George Bush."
The Gaza imam said the only Christian-Muslim dialogue that is acceptable is one in which "all religions agree to convert to Islam."
"The call for so-called dialogue by this little racist pope is a Trojan horse with the main goal of reaching a new system in which the ideals (of Christianity) are a new ideology that will rule relations between nations and people. The dialogue he wants is dangerous," said Abu Saqer, speaking to WND from the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.
"The pope is the spiritual and religious wing of the Crusader ideology," Abu Saqer said. "He is totally coordinated with Bush. Through this dialogue he hopes to break the lines of unity between Muslims and polarize the Muslim world, which has some partisans who will accept this new dialogue. But true believers know Islam must rule all relations. The only dialogue we will accept is when all other religions agree to convert to Islam."
The pope has been drawing fire from Muslims worldwide for a speech he gave two weeks ago in which he quoted Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, who wrote, "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."
The pontiff last week said he was "deeply sorry" for the reaction to his comments and later explained the emperor's words did not reflect how he himself felt. He said the intent of his remarks was to call for a dialogue on the role of religions in modern life.
Benedict XVI on Monday held an unprecedented meeting with a group of 20 Muslim leaders in a bid to calm anger that has spilled over into international Muslim protests. The envoys invited to the Vatican included leaders from major Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and from the Arab League.
'Retract comments'But keeping the controversy alive, an organization of 56 Islamic nations yesterday pressed Benedict once again to apologize for his original comments. Foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference approved a statement urging the Vatican to "retract or redress" the pope's citation of Paleologus.
In all his responses to the controversy, the pope has not directly apologized for his original statements quoting a scholar linking Muslims to violence.
Following the comments Muslims worldwide protested, some violently.
An elderly Catholic nun was shot dead in Somalia, with many speculating the attack was in response to the pope's speech. Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches in the north Samaria city of Nablus and a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City. A group calling itself the "Lions of Monotheism" claimed responsibility for the church attacks, saying the violence was carried out to protest the pope's remarks.
In an interview with WND last week, Abu Saqer called for holy war against the pope. He declared the "green flag of Muhammad" would soon be raised over the Vatican.
"We did not need the words of the pope in order to understand that this is a Crusader war against Islam and it is our holy duty to fight all those who support the pope, who follow him and who did not condemn what this small racist had to say," said Abu Saqer.
"The day will soon come when the green flag of La Illah Illah Allah (There is no god but Allah) and Muhammad Rasul Allah (Muhammad is the prophet of Allah) will be raised upon the Vatican and all around the world and on the fortresses of those who want to destroy Islam, because they know that this religion obliges them to face the truth that Islam is Allah's favorite religion. And until they join Islam, hell is their last station," Abu Saqer said.
The Gaza preacher said he rejected the pope's stated apologies.
"He did not apologize. He said everything but an apology, which proves these are diplomatic acts and not a feeling of being sorry."
Abu Saqer claimed he did not condone violence. He blamed the pope for recent anti-Christian attacks in the Palestinian territories.
"We are deeply sorry for these acts that we condemn," he said. "But I am sorry that this little racist did not think of the consequences upon the Christians in the Arab world when he insulted our prophet. It is an open war – the Muslims against all the others."
'Not poetry, but the truth'
Asked to respond directly to Paleologus' observations about Muhammad and Islam, Abu Saqer replied, "About your stupid question about our contribution to civilization, did not you read about who were the pioneers in medicine, in mathematics, in astronomy? Did not you hear about Averroes and others?
"I am not reading poetry, I am saying the truth. Islam, it is not the source of violence. Who is occupying by force and violence Iraq and Afghanistan? Who is occupying Palestine? Who occupied for years the black people and turned them into slaves while one of the first leaders of Islam was the black Bilal Ibn Rabah?"
Continued Abu Saqer: "Violence is a result of lack of faith. See the Western society and culture. See what free sex brings to your Western world and then see the family cell in Islam. Even our problems in Islam come when some parts of the Islamic population want to imitate your way of life."
Abu Saqer said the pope and the Christian world are "panicking" because they realize "who is winning."
"See how Islam is progressing and gaining more and more members and see the moral crisis in the West," he said. "See today the support of Islam in the Arab and Muslim world and how Islam is gaining more and more adherents in Europe and even in the United States and you understand that Islam is the future and that this dwarf pope was wrong. But I can sympathize with him. He is frustrated because he understands where things are heading."
Reprinted with permission of WorldNet Daily