Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — terrorist, Holocaust denier, extremist dictator, lover of the whole suit-no-tie look — will speak today at Columbia University, ahead of his appearance at the U.N. tomorrow. DEVELOPING
Through a spokeswoman’s recorded message on a telephone line set up to respond to inquiries about the speech, [Columbia President Lee] Bollinger said the university’s commitment to “understanding the world as it is and as it might be” required engagement at times with “offensive and even odious” beliefs.
“It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open a public forum to their expressions. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible,” the message said.
Some Columbia students – even some who plan to rally against Ahmadinejad – have said they support allowing him to speak. [Jerusalem Post]
Reza Zarei, commander of police in Tehran province, said that since the drive began police in his region have handed out 113,454 warnings to women found to have infringed Iran’s strict Islamic dress rules.
“Of these 1,600 cases have been given to the judiciary” for further investigation, he said.
He added that 5,700 people — including 1,400 men — have been sent to “guidance classes” on how to behave in society.
Zarei said police have been targeting billiard halls and coffee shops — the latter hugely popular in Tehran as a meeting place for men and women — as certain establishments promoted immorality. [AFP]