From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Former Iranian president speaks at National Cathedral amid protests

From "Matthew Davies" <>
Date Fri, 8 Sep 2006 12:56:58 -0400

Episcopal News Service Friday, September 8, 2006

Former Iranian president speaks at National Cathedral amid protests

Khatami calls for respectful international dialogue, bridging the divide

By Lucy Chumbley

[ENS, WASHINGTON] Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami called on Muslims, Jews and Christians to "return to their vital, vibrant and common essence" and bridge the divide between East and West during a Sept. 7 lecture at Washington National Cathedral.

"As followers and faithfuls of the Abrahamic faiths, we need more than ever to cooperate for peace and prosperity in the world," he said.

At a press conference prior to the event, Khatami described Jesus as a prophet of kindness and peace, Mohammed as a prophet of ethics, morality and grace, and Moses as a prophet of dialogue and exchange.

Dressed in a black turban and robes and speaking in Farsi through an interpreter, Khatami condemned human rights violators and those who commit crimes in the name of religion, and called for respectful international dialogue, an end to unilateralism and violent language between nations, and the eradication of all weapons of mass destruction.

The full text of Khatami's lecture is available at:

Khatami, who served as Iran's fifth president from 1997 to 2005, is considered to be Iran's first reformist president. Earlier this year, Khatami founded the Institute for Dialogue Among Civilizations and Cultures in Tehran.

Visiting the United States at the invitation of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, he attended a meeting of the U.N.'s High-level Group of the Alliance of Civilizations in New York, Sept. 5-6, and spoke at two Muslim conventions in Chicago before traveling to Washington.

Although he is considered by many to be a moderate, his visit to the cathedral drew protests from members of political and religious communities.

Full story and photograph:

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