German Jewish Leaders Rap Khatami Greetings

A German Jewish organization criticized the welcome in Germany for the former president of Iran.

In an open letter to political, academic and religious leaders in Freiburg, the Central Council of Jews in Germany criticized their hospitality for Mohammad Khatami.

Khatami, who recently met with officials in Austria, was invited to an official reception at the University of Freiburg, on Oct. 28, for a lecture on “Dialogue between the Islamic and Western World: Chances and Obstacles.” Following the program, Khatami visited the city’s Catholic minister.

In their letter released to the public three days after the lecture, the council’s vice president and secretary-general, Dieter Graumann and Stephan Kramer, wrote that praise for the supposedly “liberal” and “pro-western” clergyman Khatami was “totally unacceptable and unjustifiable” given Iran’s human rights violations against its own people, the decades of promoting international Islamic terrorism and the stated threats against Israel.

The letter was addressed to Mayor Dieter Salomon, Freiburg University Rector Hans-Jochen Schiewer, Monsignor Wolfgang Sauer and Gernot Erler, a minister of state for the German Foreign Ministry.

Graumann and Kramer urged them to take up the cause of promoting democracy and supporting oppressed groups in Iran, and expressly thanked Salomon for his recent refusal to visit Isfahan under the current political conditions. They noted the mayor’s past condemnation of threats against Israel voiced by the current Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The council leaders noted that Salomon failed to express those critical views during Khatami’s visit, which was protested by political youth organizations.

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