Peace hopes, angry words andAhmadinejad

A dinner with the Iranian president
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dined with 300 religious and political leaders on September 25 in New York City, but the event, which drew condemnation and protest, offered far less dialogue than advertised.

What was promised as a discussion of how religion can contribute to solving global problems turned into an evening of polite speech-making. The criticism of Ahmadinejad for his bellicose statements on the Holocaust and Israel was tempered by calls for bridge-building and reconciliation.

Arli Klassen, executive director of the Mennonite Central Committee, implored the Iranian leader to “change the way you speak about the Holocaust,” while professing the stalwart belief of the Christian peace tradition “that we are following Jesus Christ’s example and his teaching as we eat together and hold this dialogue despite our many differences.”


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