|Ahmadinejad's Columbia Speech Stirs Protest|
24 September 2007
Listen to Cavaliere report
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University created a furor in New York City. Victoria Cavaliere reports from VOA's New York Bureau protests reverberated all the way to U.S. Congress in Washington.
|Crowds in front of Columbia University listen to the simulcast of a speech by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 24 Sep 2007|
Columbia's decision to host the Iranian leader at its World Leader's Forum met with sharp criticism from U.S. politicians, New York City officials and Jewish groups.
In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky criticized Columbia for inviting Mr. Ahmadinejad.
"Think of the irony," said Mitch McConnell. "Columbia University, home of the core curriculum that prizes an in-depth undestanding of Western civilization and the free exchange of ideas, is brining to its campus a state sponsor of terror."
Last year, Columbia canceled an invitation for Mr. Ahmadinejad to speak after an outcry from Jewish groups. Mr. Ahmadinejad has said he supports the destruction of Israel and has described the Holocaust as a myth.
Columbia's president Lee Bollinger defended the prestigious university's decision to go forward with the speech this year, saying it was a testament to the freedom of speech guaranteed under the U.S. Constituion.continued