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Mixed Reaction to Iran Meeting: CEN 10.26.07 p 5. October 27, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iran, Washington.

The Bishop of Washington and the former secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council traveled to Iran earlier this month in a bid to support interfaith dialogue between Islam and the West.

The trip has sparked harsh comments in the US, with one right-wing news service calling the freelance diplomacy “ill-advised” and harmful to the Anglican Church in Iran.

A spokesman for Bishop John Chane and Canon John L. Peterson told The Church of England Newspaper that no statement would be issued from Washington about the trip and it remains unclear whether Bishop Azad Marshall of Iran was briefed on their excursion.

However, Iranian news agencies have hailed the meetings as a sign of solidarity against Zionism.  Following a meeting in Qom with Canon Peterson and Bishop Chane,  Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi told the Islamic Students News Agency (ISNA) on Oct 10, that the “Zionist media are waging a negative propaganda campaign” against his country.

“The Zionists spread a negative picture of Islam among the Christians, and a negative picture of Christians among Muslims,” he added saying the visit by US Episcopalians helped counter this view.  “We should have more meetings to neutralize this negative campaign by the Zionists.”

Ayatollah Shirazi told the Mehrs News Agency that “clerics of divine religions should interact and meet with each other and push the world toward peace and security through joint thinking,” and pointed to the visit by the Bishop of Washington as a sign that religious leaders can help foster global peace.

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