Iran this weekend hosts an international conference on combating terrorism and promoting peace, but organizers left no doubt that their vision of “peace” is not quite universal.
At an event in Tehran Wednesday to promote the “International Conference on Global Alliance against Terrorism for a Just Peace,” the organizers released 195 caged pigeons. The birds, they said, were intended to be a symbolic representation of the world’s countries, “except Israel.”
More than 1,000 “scholars and thinkers” from 60 countries are expected to attend the conference on Saturday and Sunday, according to the Islamic World Peace Forum, which is organizing the event.
No details of foreign participants have been released, although Iraqi President Jalal Talabani plans to attend, the Fars news agency reported.
Chief organizer Davoud Ameri told a press conference that Iran is “one of the victims of terror,” and he said the event aimed to “enlighten the world of the oppression that has been brought upon the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
One of the issues to be discussed is the role of media in fighting terrorism, another area in which Iran is seen as a victim.
“Iranian media face difficulties in reflecting the real news to the world,” Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, head of a Shi’ite Islamic propagation body called the AhlulBayt World Assembly, told the press conference. He attributed this to “the imperialism of media control, which is dependent on America and Israel.”
Another issue on the agenda is defining terrorism.
“Many organizations have different renderings of terrorism and the differing versions of this ill have been overlooked,” said Ameri.
Attempts by the United Nations to reach an agreed-upon definition of terrorism have failed over many years, largely because Islamic states insist that any definition make clear that resistance against foreign occupation does not constitute terrorism.