Choosing to talk

A fourth meeting between church leaders and Ahmadinejad
In the fourth meeting between Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and religious leaders seeking to keep lines of communication open between Iran and the U.S.—the second such meeting I’ve attended—speakers from Jewish, Muslim, Lutheran and Mennonite communities made brief presentations that were followed by a long response from Ahmadinejad in which he affirmed that “all divine prophets have spoken of one truth.”

Unlike previous engagements with Ahmadinejad, news of this event leaked out. A concerted protest campaign ensued, culminating in a rally outside a Hyatt hotel in New York where the dinner was held. Opposition came largely from Jewish and conservative Christian groups, as well as from some Iranian dissidents.

Said Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League: “Breaking bread with President Ahmadinejad is a perversion of the search for peace and an appalling betrayal of religious values.”


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