Five American religious organizations have announced plans to host a dinner to break the Ramadan fast with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his upcoming visit to the United States.This is all in the name of peace, of course--"an international dialogue between religious leaders and political figures" in a conversation "about the role of religions in tackling global challenges and building peaceful societies."
The Mennonite Central Committee, the Quakers, the World Council of Churches, Religions for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee are sponsoring the meeting with President Ahmadinejad on September 25 in New York City.
By all means, let's hear about how Ahmadinejad's version of Islam will tackle "building peaceful societies".
Abraham Foxman of the ADL is understandably upset:
"It simply defies belief that five organizations with a mission of promoting peace through dialogue would choose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from among the hundreds of world leaders and ambassadors who will be in New York this month, as an appropriate and legitimate interlocutor on world peace," Foxman said.If Foxman thinks these groups meeting with Ahmadinejad defies belief, how would if feel if he knew that this is not the first time? CAMERA had the following report a year ago:
Prominent Christian leaders recently showed deference to the leader of a regime that murders its opponents and practices Jew-bating on an international scale at a low-profile meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The meeting was organized by the Mennonite Central Committee, a group which, like Ahmadinejad, openly questions the legitimacy of a sovereign Jewish State in the Middle East.
...According to a report from the Church of the Brethren News Service, Ahmadinejad took questions from a panel that included a Quaker, a Catholic, an Anglican, a Baptist and a representative the World Council of Churches. The New York Times reports that the audience comprised of “about 140 religious leaders.” The paper also reported that the event organizers had tried to find a “Jewish leader to join the panel of questioners, but that those invited declined because they could not win support from Jewish organizations.”Ahmadinejad together with a Quaker, a Catholic, an Anglican and a Baptist--missing are members of the Baha’i faith, a persecuted religious minority in Iran, who were not allowed at the meeting.
By the way, this is not even the second time these groups got together with Ahmadinejad:
This is not the first time the MCC has facilitated a meeting of Christian leaders with Ahmadinejad. In February , the MCC organized a meeting with the Iranian President in Teheran. The delegation held a press conference in Washington, D.C. upon its return to the U.S. Christian leaders reportedly challenged Ahmadinejad about his anti-Semitic statements, but their complaints had little apparent effect. Four days after the delegation's meeting Ahmadinejad appeared in Sudan, where according to Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran's official news service), he said "Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan."The CAMERA article concludes with some quotes from the Mennonites that indicate that they may not differ so much from Ahmadinejad's view of Israel, and may explain why they feel so cozy about dining with the Iranian leader.
Sonia K. Weaver, a former MCC peaceworker in the Middle East, has written that "The two-state solution, furthermore, does not address the systematic discrimination faced by Palestinian Christians and Muslims inside Israel."
Her husband, Alain Epp Weaver, has written:
After the horrors of the Shoah, it is understandable that the idea of Israel as a safe haven with a Jewish majority would be so important to many Jews. But must such a haven be tied to a project of maintaining and projecting a Jewish majority by any and all means? Might not a bi-national future in one state be one in which Palestinians and Israelis alike both sit securely under vine and fig tree?When these groups get together with Ahmadinejad, the first course may be Israel.