Britain’s Channel 4 has a tradition of featuring an alternative Christmas message as a kind of counterpoint to Queen Elizabeth’s customary speech, and this year’s speaker—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—is sparking outrage.
In it, Mr Ahmadinejad congratulated the people of Britain on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.
He said that problems in society were rooted in the rejection of the message of the prophets of God, including Jesus.
And he criticised the “indifference of some governments and powers” towards the teachings of “the divine prophets”.
However, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: “President Ahmadinejad has during his time in office made a series of appalling anti-Semitic statements.
“The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offence and bemusement not just at home but amongst friendly countries abroad.”
Labour MP Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Labour Jewish Movement, said: “I condemn Channel 4’s decision to give an unchallenged platform to a dangerous fanatic who denies the Holocaust, while preparing for another, and claims homosexuality does not exist while his regime hangs gay young men from cranes in the street.
“Who will deliver next year’s alternative Christmas message? Will it be David Irving or Robert Mugabe?”