Harvard sits silent while Khatami defends executing gays

A few lines from Yeats come to mind, but they don’t really work. It’s not really “the best” who lack all conviction here, is it?

Khatami, widely considered a reformer in Iran, was often met with applause from the Kennedy School audience…

In response to another question, Khatami also justified his country’s use of capital punishment for acts of homosexuality, but said that the conditions for execution are so strict that they are “virtually impossible to meet.”

“Homosexuality is a crime in Islam and crimes are punishable,” Khatami said. “And the fact that a crime could be punished by execution is debatable.”

The audience responded with silence to his remark.

The subject of the lecture was “Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence.”

Mashhad, Iran, July 20, 2005:


In Somalia, the Islamists just closed down “un-Islamic” radio for playing love songs. In Pakistan, Musharraf’s given up on reforming the country’s rape laws to make convictions possible with fewer than four witnesses. And in the Kingdom, they’ve outlawed the sale of puppies and kittens. Because of “western influence.”

It’s going to be a long war.

Update: Shawn Macomber has an entertaining take on Khatami’s speech at AmSpec. “Mark the time. We got another good one.”