LONDON (AP) Muslim leaders have accused former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey of religious prejudice after he criticized their faith and said it had contributed little to world culture for centuries.
But Carey denied any bias, saying his comments had been taken out of context from a longer, balanced speech.
In a March 25 address to the Gregorian University in Rome, Carey criticized moderate Muslims for failing to condemn suicide bombers.
Carey also critiqued Muslim theological scholarship, claiming that it had declined over the past 500 years, ''leading to strong resistance to modernity.''
The former Anglican leader said most Muslims were peaceful, but contended that not enough moderates denounced the radical activists who carry out attacks ''in the name of Allah.''
''Sadly, apart from a very few courageous examples, very few Muslim leaders condemn clearly and unconditionally the evil of suicide bombers who kill innocent people,'' he said.
Carey, is the former spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. Manzoor Moghal, chairman of the Federation of Muslim Organizations in Leicester, central England, home to more than 40,000 British Muslims, said the speech was disastrous and offensive.
''His understanding is very poor and people are going to see the whole thing in a light which will portray him as a person who is ignorant in the true faith of Islam,'' Moghal said.
Moghal said the claim that moderate Muslims had not condemned suicide bombings was ''nonsense.''
''We condemn suicide bombers, we go on radio, on television, we have made statements. What more can we do?'' he said.
Carey said his remarks had been misunderstood.
''I thought it was a thoughtful speech and there were Muslims in the audience who were happy with it, so I'm rather astonished that the twist put on is that there's an attack on Islam and the Muslim world and it's certainly not that at all,'' Carey told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
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