UPDATED ON:
Saturday, December 27, 2008
02:09 Mecca time, 23:09 GMT
 
News Europe
UK criticises Ahmadinejad broadcast
Channel 4 says Ahmadinejad's speech offers 'an insight into an alternative world view' [AFP]

The UK government has said the decision by a British broadcaster to air a holiday message from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, could cause offence around the world.
 
Ahmadinejad delivered Channel 4's alternative message to the Commonwealth, a counterpoint to the broadcast by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, a Christmas Day tradition, which contains the monarch's thoughts on the past year.

The UK foreign office said on Friday that Ahmadinejad has made a series of anti-Semitic statements and could cause "offence and bemusement" not only in Britain but also abroad.

In his message Ahmadinejad said the world's troubles are rooted in a rejection of God and if Jesus Christ lived today he would stand up against bullying powers.

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly he would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers," he said.

"The crises in society, the family, morality, politics, security and the economy ...
has come about because the prophets have been forgotten, the Almighty has been
forgotten and some leaders are estranged from God," Ahmadinejad said.

Decision defended

Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4's head of news and current affairs, said Ahmadinejad's address was chosen because Iran's relations with the West would likely remain a significant global issue in 2009.
 
"As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East, President Ahmadinejad's views are enormously influential.
 
"As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view."

A Church of England spokesman said: "We are not keen to contribute to controversy which only serves to raise interest in this broadcast. However, many Christians will hope and pray that some of President Ahmadinejad's words are translated into actions by his government, especially in terms of the treatment of Christians in his own country."

Jewish criticism

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which represents the Jewish community in the UK, said the broadcast was offensive.
 
"To invite him to deliver a Christmas message, even a so-called alternative one, fills me with disgust," Henry Grunwald, the group's president, said. 
 
The Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, condemned the speech as a "bogus message of good will".
 
"That [Channel 4] should give an unchallenged platform to the president of a regime which denies the Holocaust, advocates the destruction of the sovereign state of Israel, funds and encourages terrorism, executes children and hangs gay people is a disgrace," he said. 
 
'Fundamental change'

Ahmadinejad, speaking in Farsi, blamed society's problems on humanity's rejection of religion.

He predicted that Christ will return "with one of the children of the revered Messenger of Islam and will lead the world to love, brotherhood and justice".
 
"Today, the general will of nations is calling for fundamental change," he said.
 
"The prerequisite to this change is a change in goals, intentions and directions.
 
"If tyrannical goals are repackaged in an attractive and deceptive package and imposed on nations again, the people, awakened, will stand up against them."

Queen's message

For her part, Queen Elizabeth II, 82, urged people not to "lie down and accept defeat" but to draw strength from loved ones.

She made an apparent reference to last month's attacks in India's financial hub Mumbai which left close to 170 people dead in the message, which she writes herself.

"Christmas is a time for celebration, but this year it is a more sombre occasion for many," she said.

"Some of those things which could once have been taken for granted suddenly seem less certain and naturally give rise to feelings of insecurity.

"People are touched by events which have their roots far across the world. Whether it is the global economy or violence in a distant land, the effects can be keenly felt at home."

 Source: Agencies
Feedback Number of comments : 6
 
shaquel
Australia
28/12/2008
"sovereign state of Israel"
Big words to describe stolen lands from the people of Palestine and then looting them of their freedom to exist.

kailii
Germany
28/12/2008
Prophets?
As a native german and an atheist by choice i can clearly state that the speech of the president of Iran reached my heart like no religious or political message ever did before. Comparing Jesus and the Prophet of Islam on an equal level, serving the one God for all mankind, stands up against all the biggotry and lies so many generations fell to. In my world president Ahmadinejads words stand for everything we lost already in this world, and if the need arrives i'd support him no matter what.

kailii
Germany
28/12/2008
Opinions or facts?
Al-Jazeera, most of this article is a made up, just pasting what other news agencies were offering you - as food to the hungry wolves to be passed down to their offspring to be swallowed without questioning. As an example, why would possible earlier statements regarding Judaism made by the Iranian President make his current speech automatically invalid? Does not the world hate him for a single error in translation a few years ago? Can you still look into my eyes honestly? I doubt it

Ukumari
Venezuela
28/12/2008
The queens christmas speech
Most of the "trouble places" in the world were created and are maintained by Britain. The "roots of the events" that "touch" us, lye in the greed and arrogance of the British and their disrespect for the sovereignty other peoples. Iraq and Afganistan are not "theaters", they are our homes. The British army is not there to "bring peace and security", but to kill us and take what is ours. The most "happy, contempted, fulfilled and unselfish people" seem to be all members of her own family.

Masi
Afghanistan
01/01/2009
I think the West can benefit much to reflect on some of the points president Ahmadinejad stated.

Kendale Sturdivent
United States
02/01/2009
President Ahmadinejad's Christmas speech
I honestly think it was an excellent speech. I especially loved the fact that a Muslim recognizes the greatness of Jesus and spoke about Jesus coming back to earth. Though I am not associated with any of the world's religions I greatly respect the message he gave here and many others he has given. There was absolutely nothing wrong with what he said that I have noticed. I agree with him that if we do not come together in the world, people will, and we should rise up against opposition!

 
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