• Sat / 10 November 2001 / 17:07
  • Category: Politics
  • News Code: 8008-04338
  • Source : خبرگزاری دانشجویان ایران

Iran`s President Says Muslims Reject bin Laden`s "Islam"

Angel Franco/The New York Times President Mohammad Khatami of Iran, in his first interview with an American publication since assuming the presidency, said Osama bin Laden's version of Islam did not represent the majority of the world's Muslims. President Mohammad Khatami of Iran yesterday branded as extremist Osama bin Laden's version of Islam and said it did not represent the majority of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. "I don't believe that his message really resonates strongly in the Muslim world," Mr. Khatami said in an interview with The New York Times. "Public opinion in the Muslim world in general wants peace, security and stability and the right to defend their religion and their freedom." Mr. Khatami, who is in New York for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly starting today, made his remarks less than a week after Mr. bin Laden issued a videotaped message in which he attacked the organization and denounced as infidels Muslim leaders who cooperate with it. Heedless of the threat, Mr. Khatami addressed the General Assembly yesterday. "The horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the United States were perpetrated by cult of fanatics who had self-mutilated their ears and tongues, and could only communicate with perceived opponents through carnage and devastation," he said. The Iranian President has harshly criticized those who have sought to portray Islam as a religion of hate opposed to the West. Islam should not be blamed by what he called "extremist movements and terrorist movements around the world," Mr. Khatami said in the interview, adding that "Islam brings a message of peace for humanity." "There are two ways to look at religion," he said. "One is the extremist, narrow-minded approach to religion which is inhumane, and the second is an interpretation of Islam based on wisdom. God willing, as God has wanted for us, all of us, Christians, Jews, Muslims, everyone, can interpret religion in a free manner based on wisdom and foresight to protect our religion as well as to provide peace for our region." He blamed "dirty hands" that "want to stir negative feelings against the West in the Muslim world and against Muslims in the West," adding, "So we must strongly prevent a clash among civilizations and religions and the spread of hatred." Mr. Khatami categorically rejected charges that Iran supports terrorism, as he has done consistently in the past. "This is one of the injustices of the U.S. against us," he said. Regarding the Middle East conflict, he said his country would respect the wishes of the Palestinian people. "we will respect the wishes of the Palestinian nation," he said. At the same time, he did not relent in his country's traditional criticism of the Israeli government, which he said was itself "founded on terror and killings." "We of course do not recognize Israel," the reformist cleric said. "We believe Palestinian land has been usurped. But of course it is up to the people of Palestine themselves, and it is they who have to decide what to do. And I think that whatever all the Palestinians want must be accepted by the entire world." Mr. Khatami reiterated the long- held Iranian policy that demands a comprehensive peace for the Palestinians. "There is no solution to the problem of Palestine other than the official recognition of the rights of the people of Palestine, the return of all refugees to their land, the creation of a Palestinian state with its capital in Qods, the recognition of the right of the people of Palestine, the people of Palestine regardless of whether they are Jewish, Christian or Muslim, to decide their own future," he said. Despite his condemnation of Mr. bin Laden, the Iranian president also called for an end to the military campaign in Afghanistan "as soon as possible," warning that a long war would "lead to more suffering and pain for the people of Afghanistan." Iran is opposed to Taliban rule, which it considers a perversion of Islam, and Mr. Khatami said the Northern Alliance was the "legitimate transitional government" that is recognized by the United Nations and has diplomatic representation in many countries. Asked how he envisioned a post- Taliban government and whether it could include the former king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir, Mr. Khatami was vague, saying, "We believe in a transitional period that will be created by the international community under the sponsorship and supervision of the United Nations so that all groups in Afghanistan based on their representation, their weight in society can participate." END of TEXT


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