Friday, September 19, 2008

Guess who is coming to dinner?

Press release from The Institute on Religion and Democracy:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been invited to a dinner put on by American religious leaders during his visit to the United Nations, scheduled for September 25. The event is touted as a dialogue by the Mennonite Central Committee, World Council of Churches, and the Quaker group American Friends Service Committee. Representatives of the Episcopal Church and other mainline denominations plan to attend the dinner.

Representatives of the churches previously visited Iran in February of 2007 and hosted a similar event for Ahmadinejad with the National Council of Churches in September of 2007 at the United Methodist Womens' Building in New York.

UM Action Executive Director Mark Tooley commented,

"These confused prelates will undoubtedly minimize, if not ignore, the evils of the Iranian police state theocracy that brutalizes all who do not share its particular brand of Shiite Islam. They are more worried about what the U.S. might do to Iran than what Iran's deranged president, filled with apocalyptic dreams of destroying the U.S. and Israel, might do to the world.

"The problem is not only the personality of one man, rather than the consistent policies of a 28 year old repressively theocratic regime.
"Iran has been censured by almost the entire international community through the United Nations. It will be interesting to see if the religious leaders confront Ahmadinejad on his Holocaust denials and nuclear ambitions, or merely 'engage' him with pleasantries and anti-American rhetoric.

"Hopefully the dinner organizers will confront Iran's threats to wipe out Israel. In the past, these church leaders have said nothing about the religious freedom of Christians and other religious minorities in Iran. Indeed, there has been no professed concern about human rights in Iran. IRD challenges the leaders to speak up for religious freedom of Iranian Christians and for all people in Iran, since the Iranians themselves are not free to speak plainly."

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