A spokesman for the Iranian president stated yesterday in the Iranian capital that Ahmadinejad’s letter was “non political”, that it focused on the “shared teachings of the prophets” and the need for “close collaboration” between the religions against unjust relations that exist in the world.
Recently, the focus on Christian-Muslim cooperation was made clear in the Iranian president’s Christmas message, which in itself was almost a “Christmas miracle” in the country considered to be the “land of the Magi”.
As his style, Ahmadinejad spoke about Jesus Christ as “a divine prophet” and of the “Holy Mary” as “a great model for women”.
Surprisingly for a Shia who is still waiting for the reappearance of the 12th imam, he expressed eschatological expectations about Christ whose return “will offer all the beauty and goodness to human kind”.
In his message he explicitly acknowledged the existence of a Christian community in
“In honouring the birth of the prophet of love and friendship Jesus Christ, and expressing my best wishes for the Christian New Year, I pray the God of compassion and wisdom to give everyone, especially the Christians of Iran and the world, joy, health and a year full of blessings and love,” he wrote.
It is uncommon for religious minorities in
It is interesting to note that this charm offensive against the Catholic Church comes in the wake of the less-than-charming offensive against
Also noteworthy is the fact that in the anti-Pope controversy caused by the latter’s
The letter sent to the Pope is the latest missive Ahmadinejad wrote; it is modelled after those Muhammad wrote in his own times.
In May he sent a letter to US President George W. Bush via the Swiss Embassy in
In June he had messages delivered through