25 Sep 2008 (All day)
On the evening of September 25, a group of mainline Christian denominational leaders hosted a New York ‘dialogue dinner’ in honor of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was concluding a 4-day visit to the States to address the United Nations General Assembly. In response, the ICEJ joined forces with an unprecedented coalition of human rights and advocacy groups to protest the event outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel, opposite the city’s landmark Grand Central Station.
“While the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem welcomes efforts to de-radicalize religious perceptions and create an atmosphere of tolerance and respect for our differences,” said ICEJ Executive Director Rev. Malcolm Hedding in a statement read out to the hundreds of protesters assembled at the rally, “it is outrageous that the main guest at this dinner is someone who so thoroughly mocks and loathes these valued ideals.”
“Ahmadinejad drinks daily from the same poisonous trough of Jew hatred that intoxicated Hitler. He denies the Holocaust while aspiring to carry out another one against the Jewish people re-gathered in Israel,” Hedding’s statement continued. “He rejects everything that the United Nations charter and genuine interfaith dialogue uphold. We cannot fathom why his Christian hosts would debase their own faith so shamelessly by honoring him at this occasion.”
Among those hosting the dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel were leaders from the Mennonite and Quaker movements, as well as the World Council of Churches.
“The Bible nowhere advocates this type of engagement and in fact warns against it,” added Hedding. “Jesus did not talk with Herod because he represented a system that was corrupt and evil. These Christian leaders will forever be associated with the appeasement of wickedness!”
The ICEJ protest came less than a week after the presentation of a global petition to UN Secretary Generaal Ban Ki-moon signed by over 55,000 Christians from 128 countries worldwide calling for a stronger UN and international response to the growing Iranian nuclear threat, including the demand that Ahmadinejad be indicted for incitement to commit genocide against Israel.