Columbia Prez Lays Into Ahmadinejad

Head of state answers ‘unfriendly’ intro with contentious talk
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2007 3:10 PM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia University on Monday, Sept. 24, 2007 in New York. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared today at Columbia University, where the school’s president called the Iranian president “a petty and cruel dictator” and excoriated him for his human rights rap sheet, Holocaust denial—which Lee Bollinger called "simply ridiculous"—and nuclear ambitions. The visitor smiled as Bollinger spoke, then called the speech “an insult to information,” the AP reports.

Ahmadinejad deflected Bollinger’s reference to the Holocaust by asking, “What does it have to do with the Palestinian people?” Speaking through a translator, he also questioned  Al-Qaeda's involvement in the 9/11 attacks and denied that any homosexuals live in Iran. When the audience responded with laughter, he said, "I don't know who's told you that we have this."