Episcopal News Service Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Khatami's visit to National Cathedral generates mixed reactions
By Matthew Davies
[ENS] Iran's former president, Muhammad Khatami, has been invited to speak at Washington National Cathedral on September 7, a move that has stirred up strong protest from three Episcopal bishops, but one that is regarded by Cathedral officials as a gesture toward reconciliation.
The Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, director of the Cathedral's Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation, explained that "although former president Khatami is viewed negatively by some, he is important as the most moderate Iranian voice willing to discourse with Americans on matters of peace among the Abrahamic faiths."
Bishops John B. Lipscomb of Southwest Florida, Edward S. Little of Northern Indiana, and Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island protested the scheduled speech in a September 5 statement, describing the event as "ill-conceived" and "inappropriate," and calling for its cancellation.
The statement claimed that Khatami's actions "do not support the goal of reconciliation for which our Church has so fervently prayed and worked" and noted that during his term in office, "women continued to be marginalized, and homosexual persons were executed."
The bishops also pointed out that Khatami has neither renounced Iran's nuclear ambitions nor "the virulent anti-Semitism of the current regime, known for its Holocaust denial and call for the destruction of the State of Israel."
According to the Washington Post, Khatami said in a September 4 interview that Iran is "not intent on eliminating Israel and accepts a two-state solution that includes both Israel and a new Palestine -- on terms acceptable to the Palestinians."
Full story: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_77581_ENG_HTM.htm
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