Sydney archbishop riles Muslims, accuses greens of hysteria Muslim leaders and environmental groups condemned Australia's most senior Catholic clergyman yesterday after he claimed that Islam was inherently violent and compared concern over global warming to mediaeval superstition. Cardinal George Pell, the controversial Archbishop of Sydney, warned that the Koran, the Muslim holy book, was littered with incitement to violence. 'In my own reading of the Koran, I began to note down invocations to violence. There are so many of them, however, that I abandoned this exercise after 50 or 60 or 70 pages,' he said. He made the comments in a speech to Catholic business leaders in the United States in February, but they were only made public in Australia on Wednesday. Cardinal Pell said the idea that Islam had historically been tolerant of Christians and Jews was largely a myth. 'Considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited,' he said. He also said the 'pagan emptiness' at the heart of western civilisation had led to environmentalists issuing 'hysteric and extreme claims' about climate change. 'In the past, pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today, they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.' Greenpeace said Cardinal Pell was out of touch with millions of Catholics around the world who were concerned about climate change. 'It's unfortunate to see a man of faith be so dismissive and silly,' said Danny Kennedy, campaign manager for Australia and the Pacific. 'In the South Pacific, the Catholic Church has taken a very strong position on global warming because of the threat of sea level rises to low-lying atoll nations.' Keysar Trad, of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, said the comments were 'an off-the-cuff dismissal of the teachings of one of the world's great religions'. He told ABC radio: 'I think there will be many Catholics out there who will be cringing when they hear these comments.'