Vatican says al-Qaeda fears inter-religious talks
The Vatican has dismissed condemnation by al Qaeda saying the militant group is "worried" by the historic meeting between the Pope and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.
Reuters reports al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri (pictured) said the Pontiff had "insulted Islam and Muslims" and critcised the Saudi monarch for meeting with him.
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said Zawahri's video-taped comments, posted on the Internet on Sunday, showed al Qaeda is worried about the implications of the meeting, and that they were afraid of inter-religious dialogue.
The meeting, held in November, was the first ever between a Pope and a Saudi monarch.
Fr Lombardi added the Pope was also pursuing dialogue with a group of prominent Muslim scholars, including Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad bin Talal.
"These people want dialogue and are working toward peace," Fr Lombardi said.
"This worries those who don't want dialogue," he said.
Zawahri has previously denounced the Pope for a speech he made last year when he used a quote that associated Islam with violence.
Pope's talks with Muslims scares al Qaeda -Vatican (Reuters, 18/12/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pope welcomes Saudi King for historic meeting (CathNews 07/11/07)
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Pope's landmark meetings with Saudi King, Dalai Lama (CathNews 01/11/07)
19 Dec 2007