Noted Islamic scholar Maulana Khalid Rasheed, who was also a prominent executive body member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, on Thursday expressed shock and dismay at the remarks made by the Pope against Prophet Mohammad.
Terming the remarks as more 'derogatory than the Danish cartoonist's blasphemous sketches on the Prophet,' Rasheed told media persons in Lucknow: "This was the last thing we could have expected from the Pope, whom we had always held in very high esteem."
The Maulana who also heads North India's leading Islamic institution, Firangi Mahal in Lucknow, said, "Even the cartoons were drawn by an individual; but here the remarks have been made by the head of the world's largest community, who is expected to be a sane and mature personage."
He observed, "Muslims have tolerated Christian terrorism on the people of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and now Lebanon, but no Muslim is going to tolerate such wild, baseless and unfounded allegations against the Prophet."
The Maulana lamented: "Those who blame Islam for propagating terrorism do not seem to understand that there is no room for terrorism in Islam."
"The charge that the Prophet used the sword to spread Islam is also false; the Prophet used the sword only to defend Islam not to spread the religion. The Prophet believed in peace and always practiced it to the hilt," he clarified.
"I would also like to point out that even 'jihad' is often misunderstood and misinterpreted as use of some kind of brutal force to propagate terrorism. However, 'jihad' clearly aims to oppose terrorism," he added.