Iranian delegate Mohamed Sadiq Husseini and American Jewish delegate Joseph Ehrenkrenz got into a shouting match at the 5th Doha Conference on Inter-Faith Dialogue this past Wednesday following Ehrenkrenz's making what Husseini took as inaccurate accusations against Iran. Husseini, an advisor at the General Secretariat for the Centre for Iran-Arab Cooperation in Tehran, angrily interrupted when Ehrenkrenz who said Tehran wanted to eliminate all the Jews in Israel.
Speakers included Dr Souad Al Hakim, from Lebanon; Joseph Ehrenkrenz, from the US; David Lazar, from Israel; John Taylor, from the US; and Jerald Whitehouse from Venezuela. Professor Saad Harib, from the UAE; and Dr Mohamed Ben Breika, from Algeria, were the moderators.
Qatar's Peninsula Daily reports:
An Iranian delegate stunned the audience at an international inter-faith dialogue here yesterday when he angrily interrupted an American panelist who said Tehran wanted to eliminate all the Jews in Israel.
Joseph Ehrenkrenz was in the middle of his speech when Mohamed Sadiq Husseini shouted back at him.
"Ya, Yahud!," (Oh, Jews!), he said loudly, putting his microphone on, "Iran does not have any such agenda. What you are saying is a lie. Contrarily, your designs are suspect…Look, what you are doing at ‘Guatenamobay’."
Ehrenkrenz said that in the 1930s, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem congratulated Hitler for his anti-Jewish stance and "sought his help"...
The biggest challenge before the rabbis (Jewish spiritual leaders) today is to protect the community. Palestinians have influenced Muslims around the world. "We are getting threats from Tehran. Their decision is to eliminate all the Jews in Israel. The UN is not taking any action," said Ehrenkrenz.
No sooner than he finished his sentence, Husseini, who is advisor at the General Secretariat for the Centre for Iran-Arab Cooperation in Tehran, interrupted him with an angry protest, speaking in Arabic.
Look at what who is doing at Gitmo? It is unfortunate when one hears "the Jews", "the media", "the US government" and "the Israeli government" all being interchangeable and balled up into one general "you are ruining the world." Mr. Husseini's statement was disappointing in that respect.
However, this, in the big picture, may prove irrelevant if everyone takes the same plan of action as the Israeli delegate David Lazar:
One-to-one meetings between delegates representing the three different faiths have been taking place on the sidelines of the convention on sensitive community and religious issues and on how to further dialogue, especially between Muslim and Jewish leaders.
"We will keep in touch with one another through e-mail and personal visits. This is important," said Lazar.
I pray that everything gets worked out over the Gmail. But, in the grand scheme of things, today's outburst may be tomorrow's talking point.