Cartoons and editorials published in newspapers in the Arab/Muslim world falsely portray Jews as the manipulators behind Pope Benedict XVI and his speech at a German university on the theological need for faith and reason, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
"Once again anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are being promoted by the Arab/Muslim media, this time in the outrageous claims that Pope Benedict XVI is being manipulated by Jews to attack Islam," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Objections to the Pope's comments should be made civilly, not with violence being perpetrated by Muslims against Christians, and not with inflammatory cartoons and editorials against Jews."
Several examples of cartoons are posted at the site.
Al-Zawahri said Benedict is reminiscent of Pope Urban II, who in 1095 ordered the First Crusade to Christian control in the Holy Land.
"This charlatan Benedict brings back to our memories the speech of his predecessor charlatan Urban II in the 11th century ... in which he instigated Europeans to fight Muslims and launch the Crusades because he (Urban) claimed 'atheist Muslims, the enemies of Christ' are attacking the tomb of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him," al-Zawahri said.
Al-Zawahri's remarks about Benedict were a clear response to the pontiff's comments this month that sparked outrage across the Muslim world. In that speech, Benedict cited a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."
"If Benedict attacked us, we will respond to his insults with good things. We will call upon him and all of the Christians to become Muslims who do not recognize the Trinity or the crucifixion," al-Zawahri said.
Al-Zawahri also called a U.N. resolution to send peacekeepers into Sudan's war-torn Darfur region a "Crusader plan" and implored the Muslims of Darfur to defend themselves.
"There is a Crusader plan to send Crusaders forces to Darfur that is about to become a new field of the Crusades war. Oh, nation of Islam, rise up to defend your land from the Crusaders aggression who are coming wearing United Nations masks," he said. "No one will defend you (Darfur) but a popular holy war."
The nearly 18-minute statement, titled "Bush, the Pope, Darfur and the Crusades," was produced by al-Qaida's media arm, as-Sahab, and made available by the IntelCenter. An initial segment shows al-Zawahri in an office-type setting, while in the second part he is in front of a brown backdrop. The first segment also has English subtitles.