Al Jazeera'a take on Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia University

by Elsewhere 4 Replies latest jw friends

  • Elsewhere

    I found this article to be quite frank and well balanced.

    Ahmadinejad spars with US academics
    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2007
    21:54 MECCA TIME, 18:54 GMT

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, was subjected to blistering criticism of his country's human rights record and foreign policy during a controversial visit to a New York university.

    "Mr President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Lee Bollinger, Columbia University's president, said on Monday.

    He also challenged Ahmadinejad's reported denial of the Holocaust.

    "When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous," he said. "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history."

    Ahmadinejad rose to applause, and after a religious invocation said Bollinger's opening was "an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here".

    He blamed the university president's "unfriendly treatment" on the influence of the US media and politicians ahead of his visit.

    'Evil has landed'

    Ahead his appearance at Columbia, the front page of New York's Daily News said: "The evil has landed," while The New York Post called Ahmadinejad the "Madman Iran Prez".

    Thousands of people gathered outside the United Nations headquarters on Monday to protest against Ahmadinejad's visit to New York.

    The speakers, most of them politicians and officials from Jewish organisations, proclaimed their support for Israel and criticised the Iranian leader over remarks questioning the Holocaust.

    "We're here today to send a message that there is never a reason to give a hatemonger an open stage," Christine Quinn, speaker of New York City's council, said.

    Outside the university lecture hall where Ahmadinejad was to speak, several hundred protesters raised their objections to the event. Some linked arms and sang traditional Jewish folk songs about peace and brotherhood.

    Inside, many students were wearing T-shirts with the message "Stop Ahmadinejad's Evil".

    Holocaust denial

    Ahmadinejad rejected accusations that he has denied the Holocaust actually happened, but argued for more research to be conducted on the subject.

    "I'm not saying that it didn't happen at all," he said. "I said, granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people."

    He used his 30-minute speech to repeat Tehran's insistence that its nuclear ambitions were focused on meeting the country's electricity needs.

    Washington says Iran is seeking to produce nuclear weapons.

    "We do not believe in nuclear weapons. Period. This goes against the whole grain of humanity," Ahmadinejad said.

    During the question-and-answer session he denied that homosexuals were persecuted in Iran.

    "In Iran we do don't have homosexuals like in your country," he said, sparking laughter from the audience.

    "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you we have it."

    'Occupation and racism'

    On Monday morning, Ahmadinejad met leaders of a movement called Neturei Karta International.

    The Orthodox Jewish group believes that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Messiah and are therefore opposed to the existence of the state of Israel.

    Afterwards, in a video conference with reporters in Washington, Ahmadinejad accused Israel of occupation and racism.

    "It constantly attacks its neighbours," he said. "It kills people. It drives people from their homes."

    Ahmadinejad is due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

  • Mary

    Who the hell invited this guy to the States in the first place??

  • juni

    Hey Mary!

    He's here to address the UN. AND no parking tickies either while he's here.. LOL

  • yknot

    Actually I am quite saddened I would love to give the man an open mike. You know the saying give them enough rope to hang themselves. Instead those who support him will just point out how he never really had a chance to communicate. I wished for him to speak of his ignorance. It is only then can the educated decide how best to remediate. I will give the Islamic leaders (the ones really running Iran) this, they did try hard to pass him off has a regular schmoo with the whole club Izod thing. It only acts as an enlightenment of how little they understand the world outside of their niche. I do feel for the average Iranian, I know they crave our western ways and these men and their puppet keep getting in the way. Let us all send positive energy to those young men and women who want democracy in Iran ! ( Everyone now " I WANT MY MTV" " I WANT MY MTV"


  • Jankyn

    One of the missions of a university is to provide a forum for ideas--even bad ones. And I think it's interesting that Al-Jazeera (which is a surprisingly good news source) was fair enough to note that he took heat for his country's positions.

    The solution isn't to isolate those with different world-views; it's to let those views compete. Ultimately, the better idea wins.

    (Yes, hopelessly idealistic. What can I say?)

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