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Seyyed Mohammad Khatami (Persian : سید محمد خاتمی; born 14 October 1943) served as the fifth President of Iran from 3 August 1997 to 3 August 2005. He also served as Iran's Minister of Culture from 1982 to 1992.
- What I propose is that dialogue should take place among cultures and civilizations. And as a first step, I would suggest that cultures and civilizations should not be represented by politicians but by philosophers, scientists, artists and intellectuals.[...] Dialogue will lead to a common language and a common language will culminate in a common thought, and this will turn into a common approach to the world and global events.
- March 24, 2009 , Lecture in The Australian National University DIALOGUE, JUSTICE AND PEACE Source
- Faith and Religiosity is compatible with human nature,The most Wretch man is one who has no religion.
- از کتابِ « احزاب و شوراها ، نشرِ طرحِ نو ، ۱۳۸۸ ، ص ۲۰.
- One cannot reach paradise by creating Hell for others.
- Morning Edition with Jacki Northam, National Public Radio, September 8, 2006,
- We believe that Hizbullah has an authentic Lebanese identity. We love Hizbullah. I emphasized this in talks with Mr. Chirac, who said he has never called to weaken or disarm Hizbullah, and on that matter he is in disagreement with some of his European allies. Hizbullah will remain and keep its weapons.
- As quoted in Al-Arabiya TV on July 14, 2005. .
- Hezbollah is like a shining sun which warms up all oppressed Muslims, especially those in Palestine and Lebanon.
- As quoted in "UN calls for ceasefire and international peace force". AsiaNews.it. July, 17, 2006.
- Offending and insulting, is different from expressing an opinion that can be analyzed, argued on, and can eventually be accepted or rejected [therefore offending others is not acceptable] … But in addition to the west, we ourselves also have problems in this regard. Instead of logical criticism or debate, we only keep saying offensive things about liberalism, democracy and modernism. I had told some of our elders before, that the religion of the today's world is 'liberalism' and we have no right to make insults about it. We should not keep using phrases such as "the corrupt culture of the west" etc. in our words. As it's also said in the Holy Koran, "Do not insult the gods of others, otherwise you are indirectly insulting your God".
- ...the policies that the United States has chosen unfortunately have brought about the wrong sentiment toward the United States and has only increased, and will only increase, extremism in our region.
- As quoted in "Ex-Iranian leader blames Bush policies for terrorism". CNN.com. September 4, 2006.
- I don't like the death penalty, although if there is one case where there should be an execution, the fairest case would be for Saddam. But I would never wish for that.
- As quoted in "World divided over Saddam penalty". Al Jazeera. December, 17, 2003.
- Of course we may assume many general and non-historical meanings for secularism, but turning a subject that is in all its existence a historical matter into a non-historical matter is a blatant mistake.
- (Berlin Institute of Advanced Studies, Nov 2005).
- Secularism is the experience of the Western culture and thought. Insisting on spreading it to places where the underlying intellectual background, and the political and social reasons for its appearance are lacking, is clearly a mistake, regardless of being desirable or not.
- (Berlin Institute of Advanced Studies, Nov 2005)
On western civilization.
- Without a doubt, we will succeed in moving forward, only if we have the capacity to reap the benefit of positive, scientific and social accomplishments of Western civilization.
- (Islamic summit 1997)
- Liberalism is the world's religion. We do not have the right to insult liberalism.
- (after Malaysia conference on Islam and West, 2006)
On the Dialogue Among Civilizations and Political ethics.
- A basic change in political ethics is required for the realization of the proposal [The dialog among civilizations].
- (UNESCO 1999)
- In order to understand the meaning of the phrase dialogue among civilizations as defined here, one has no choice but to closely pay attention to a number of points one of which is the relationship between a politician and an artist, and the other is the relationship between ethics and politics.
- (UNESCO 1999)
On Shirin Ebadi and Nobel Peace Prize.
- "Must I always send a message for everything," when asked why he had not responded to the award for Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian Nobel Prize winner, four days after it was made. "The Nobel Peace Prize is not very important, the ones that count are the scientific and literary prizes," he added. However it seemed in those early remarks, Khatami was trying to reduce conservatives anger over Shirin Ebadi, who wore no hijab while accepting the prize in the ceremony, because later Khatami in an interview reported by Iran press service.com () on December 12, 2003 said: "The Nobel Prize is very important in all domains; it is obvious that every Iranian must be proud to know that another Iranian, especially an Iranian woman, got this Prize. This said, more important than the prize of the peace is peace itself. Our world is a world of war, a world of terror and violence, a world of illness and famine, a world of discrimination", he replied when observed that the welcome reserved to the laureate in Iran was "tepid". "Politic is always an important factor. She continues her work, a work that, I hope, she would be able to pursue freely in Iran. I also know that she had some problems"
- Pope John Paul II was a seeker of truth, justice and peace. Pope John Paul II was a disciple of religious mysticism, philosophic deliberation and thought and artistic and poetic creativity, By emphasising his experience and teachings, (he) earnestly tried to utilise them in the path of the triumph of truth, justice and peace. It is hoped that the leadership of Catholic Christianity, by following the teachings of the Prophet Jesus, may peace be upon him, by interacting with justice seeking and peace loving political-religious leaders and by also following the ethical and humanitarian thinking of John Paul II, help the world towards a better and more just life.
- (Reported by AFP on April 3, 2005 in his condoling Message to Vatican)
On Terrorism and 9/11 Attacks.
- Terrorism, which means killing civilians in whatever name or title, lacks morality, and nobody who lacks such principle will go to heaven.
- During a speech at Council on American-Islamic Relations (dead link). (8 September 2006)
- In response on the motives of suicide bombers, he said that, Those who put others through hell will never go to heaven".