Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Invited to Speak at Columbia University

Despite his rejection from Ground Zero, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still welcome at Columbia University in his upcoming visit to New York, to discuss topics that will include his controversial opinions of the Holocaust and Israel.

Ahmadinejad will be in New York to address the United Nations' General Assembly, and wanted to schedule a trip to Ground Zero and place a wreath at the site. However, local New York City law enforcement refused to provide him with protection, citing construction and security concerns.

The Iranian president expressed "disbelief" that the visit would offend Americans, while politicians and families of Sept. 11 victims were outraged that he may visit the site. READ MORE

What do you think about Columbia University's invitation to Ahmadinejad? E-mail us at and check back later to see if your response has been posted.

Despicable is the only term which comes to mind when I think about Columbia University providing this monster with a public forum. This has nothing to do with free speech. He has the right under our laws to say whatever he wishes. But for a university to support such a one as this by providing a time and place for him to spew his venom is beyond belief. I pray that the Jewish alumni of Columbia University and others who feel the same as I do withdraw any and all support of this institution of higher stupidity. — David

Why be afraid to put Ahmadinejad in front of a forum where he'll face tough questions, challenges and demonstrators? That way we get the opportunity to show the Iranians and others that it's not just the Bush administration that opposes him, but the American people as well, and that democracy is about debate and the open exchange of ideas. Thank God we live in a country where people can speak and others can challenge them without fear. — Ellen

Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia U, as a guest, is an outrage. The fact that he is even IN this country, is an outrage. He should be captured and jailed as a terrorist for killing American soldiers upon setting his grimy foot on American soil. The only problem is that no one in the U.S. government has the spine to do just that. The US government, as a result of whining by democrats and socialists, has abdicated its responsibility to protect the American people at home, and abroad. — Fred M. (Oakland, CA)

Well, as long as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinefraud is in the area maybe he should visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington D.C. He'd have a hard time refuting everything I saw there last month. If I could have it my way however, he wouldn't even be allowed into the country at all. — K

Those fools at Columbia have such a high opinion of themselves that logic and common sense is lost in their inflated self-important egos! It is foolishness like theirs that makes a statement to the world that America is one endless doormat! Their invitation to Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia campus puts all of us in the U.S.A. in jeopardy by opening the door and welcoming our very own enemies! He is probably in disbelief himself at the prospect of this invitation! They are making us all not only look, but behave like complete idiots!! Is it any wonder we are potentially so vulnerable? — Nauseous in Massachusetts

As an American citizen, I was appalled at Ahmadinejad's request to visit ground zero, but pleased that it was denied. A part of me was also shocked he was invited to speak at Columbia University. However, the realistic side recognizes that in today's culture, universities pride themselves on providing "controversial" speakers to their students, all in the name of open-mindedness. How long will we let this continue before we demand common sense (and decency) in our university leaders? How valuable of an experience can this possibly be to our future leaders? When I really stop and think about this, I would have been more shocked if they had invited General Petraeus to speak. Talk about a truly "controversial" speaker. — Amy

I think Columbia University's President Bollinger should seriously reconsider having Ahmadinejad speak at his university and make the moral decision to CANCEL! The fall-out from his appearance will be much greater, in the negative sense, in our global marketplace, than will be Bollinger's immediate publicity. — Steve

Don't let Ahmadinejad come to America or visit Ground Zero, please! For the sake of my children and my grandchildren. It's their future we need to protect! I hope you make the right decision for America, President Bollinger! — Margo (Glendale, AZ)

I am shocked that Columbia University would invite Ahmadinejad to speak at their university. He should not even be allowed in the United States, much less at Ground Zero. This is amazingly disrespectful to the people who lost loved ones on 9/11. What next? — Faye (Houston, TX)

The Iranian president being allowed on a college campus shows a true apathy of the New York University President. Colleges are supposed to be a place where knowledge is provided; are the students at the University in New York not being taught the hate that this man speaks about the United States and Israel? For the sake of Jews and anyone who considers themselves a patriotic American ... do not let this man come to one of our college campuses. — Zach

I think it is extraordinarily short-sighted, irresponsible, and dangerous for Ahmadinejad to be allowed to speak at Columbia University. Lee Bollinger and his colleagues are absolutely derelict in their responsibility to the students and to the community at large by granting a platform to the very man who (amongst other heinous acts), is sending weaponry to Iraqi based terrorists. The university is demonstrating utter disrespect and insensitivity to the families of the brave soldiers serving in Iraq. It is simply unacceptable! At least one of the men who were taken hostage by Iran in the 1970s has stated that Ahmadinejad was one of the captors. For this reason alone, it is disturbing to know that he will be greeted courteously by Columbia. I hope Mr. Bollinger and his colleagues are held to account for this event. — Karen (British Columbia, Canada)

It is a disgrace for them to allow him to speak there. He is an enemy of the U.S.A. In N.Y. where so many people died. Just unbelievable! — Andrew

Are you kidding me? Hey, I know! Let's invite him to come tour the White House next! Let's then ask Hugo Chavez to come visit and give a speech next year during the 9/11 ceremonies. We can keep on going ... or do you get the OBVIOUS point here! — Anonymous

I can't believe Ahmadinejad is stupid to leave the safety of the U.N. jurisdiction, as many people will be offended by him even being in our country. As far as Columbia University's president, I think he should go back to Iran with Ahmadinejad, where he obviously belongs. — Kathy (Selma, NC)

I am ashamed of what has happened to America. This university is welcoming the president of Iran who is the leader of a country that sponsors terrorism. Not only that, but has been directly linked to killing many of our troops! This university is a disgrace, and the American people who sit by and allow him to come without speaking out is a disgrace. — Dono

Wow. We as Americans are seriously too nice, and too naive. This guy shouldn't even be coming to our country, period. He's in charge of a country that is actively killing our soldiers in the Middle East, inciting conflicts with our ally Israel and in general doing whatever he can in word and deed to demean, cause harm and destroy our country and way of life. Why is it that our tax dollars are going towards protecting an avowed enemy whom we are at war with; given Iran's sponsorship of radical Islamic terrorism against our country and allies, on our soil? And why are we allowing him to spiel his genocidal venom in our universities? — Aaron

It is an outrage that this man is allowed in the U.S., much less a guest speaker at a major university here. — Cort

If we are about the truth ,then we should first listen to someone, and then condemn that person if we have to. Yes, I think that the president should speak at the Columbia University. — Don

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a lawful representative of the Iranian people, since he was democratically elected in 2005.A lot of controversy exists on the issue of his so-called statement that Israel needs to be "wiped of the map." Many Western scholars dispute that this was what he meant. They claim that that he actually meant was that the current regime in Israel needs to change. The confusion stems from a wrong translation from Persian to English. Ahmadinejad himself later on clarified this was not at all what he meant. It is an understatement to say that his world view is not aligned with the national interests of the U.S. — but then again, the U.S. is not alone in this world. Considering the above, I am baffled by the negative reactions his planned visit to the Columbia University generates. There was a time when people around the world looked up at the U.S. as a role-model for democratic values and principle. — Johannes (Belgium)

I am not sure why everyone seems so surprised at Columbia's invitation to Ahmadinejad. Liberals have a long and glorious history of bowing to every dictator, warlord and potentate that comes down the pike. Instead of, in true New Yorker fashion, telling Ahmadinejad to "(insert your favorite explative)," they will be giving him probably more courtesy that George W. Bush could ever expect on the grounds of their university. I urge the alumni, faculty, students and all of New York to call for the immediate resignation of the president of Columbia University. — Danny (Midlothian, TX)

Is the so-called president of Iran wants to come over here, let him. Then arrest him for sponsoring terrorism — all the while send the Navy over to the Gulf and take out any capability he has to make a nuclear weapon. — Mark

This is another case of turning a blind eye to a very serious threat. This man is on a mission to destroy Israel, the USA, and anyone else that gets in his way of world domination. — Joe

If this guy is a sponsor of terror then why can't he be banned from entering the United States, period? The news says Iran is sending explosives to Iraq that is killing our soldiers, then get tough and say he WILL NOT enter our country. — Randall

It is an outrage that Ahmadinejad, an outspoken threat to and enemy of the United States, is even allowed in our country, much less invited to speak at one of our universities! WHO CARES what his deranged opinions are on Israel or the Holocaust? Columbia University should be embarrassed and ashamed! — Sherry (Texas)

He is a terrorist. He may not use a bomb, but he uses his voice. Why would the U.S. government allow him in our country? The big question is, why would Columbia University invite him to visit? I am embarrassed for the students, parents of students, and graduates — Columbia University has substantially devalued all that they do and have done. The U.S. government should pull the $400 million in research grants to Columbia and give them to a worthy university. Or, let's take the $400 Million in grant money that I give them as a substantial U.S. tax payer and use it to move Columbia University to Iran. — Phil

I think it is absurd that a University in America would welcome a tyrant to speak. Why not put Bin Laden on the agenda as well? And, why would you let this creep touch our soil? Iran is like the little guy that use to run around the playground and tell everyone how bad he was until one day, he had to defend his self. Iran is a threat to freedom and should be dealt with. A military theater is necessary to stop Iran on their turf. — Buddy

I am absolutely infuriated that this country would allow this Iranian bozo to step foot in our country! I thought we were trying to keep terrorists out of the USA — not welcome them with open arms! I am not interested in anything he has to say and if some of the liberal, so-called intelligent students and faculty are interested in a dialogue with him, let them go to Iran and chit chat — don't disgrace the memory of the 9/11 victims and our brave military by giving him the time of day. He is laughing through his teeth at the stupidity of some people in this country and around the world.. ... where are our leaders who are supposed to protect us? We need to wake up and I'm not sure what it will take to accomplish that, if 9/11 didn't. — Nancy

As a Columbia graduate I plan on burning all my Columbia gear this weekend in protest. Let me be CRYSTAL clear here. What I object to is not Ahmadinejad being invited to speak at Columbia, even though I do not share his views. As a Constitutionalist, the right to free speech is one I hold dear, above virtually all others (even though I am clearly not fully allowed that right in this country). So even though his countrymen are not granted that freedom, I'm happy that he's granted it here — hopefully the irony is not lost on him.

No, what I object to so strenuously is Columbia's defense of only CERTAIN speech as free, when it suits them. Without endorsing or refuting any of these, I point of a couple of glaring inconsistencies. Columbia left the students who PREVENTED the free speech of a member of the Minutemen unpunished, but in defense of free speech, they invite Ahmadinejad to speak. Columbia will not let the military recruit on campus on the grounds that the don't ask, don't tell policy is discriminatory, but they will let a man who has publicly said that Israel must cease to exist speak. You just simply can not have it both ways. Free speech is never truly dangerous in and of itself, since often it exposes people for what they are. However, allowing someone or some group to DECIDE what sort of speech is free and what is not in support of some sort of ideology is one of the most dangerous things a society can let happen, since it is the seed of thought control and the beginning of the ultimate end of freedom. — Scoo

Wouldn't it be nice to honestly say we're shocked? Unfortunately, the outcome is also all too predictable. After delivering a patronizing speech and charming his way through a couple of softball questions, Mr Ahmadinejad will no doubt receive a standing ovation.? Its odd: the rank and file in NYC can see that a "somber wreath laying ceremony" is a thinly veiled version of an "end-zone dance," but academia's avid embrace of moral relativism wont allow it to perceive what dupes these students are about to become? America has often been accused of anti-intellectual bias. Events like this suggest that we may want to keep it that way. — Rudy (Valrico, FL)

What an outrage. He is using our own values as a free society to mock us. Can we not recognize right from wrong anymore through our politically correct vision? Where has common sense gone? He is not even presenting himself to the world as a wolf in sheep's clothing. He's saying here I am; I am the wolf; what are you going to do about it. He is a dangerous person whose fervent passion is to divide and conquer. Evil is opportunistic, and he is working in all the cracks of our free thinking society to crack us wide open for our differences. SHAME on Columbia University. — Nancy

I can't believe that ANY institution would give this man a forum! He has spoken out openly AGAINST America and Americans. He helps and harbors other enemies! Sadly though, the U.N. set the example. Ahmadinejad treats its authority with defiance and yet, he is still welcome to address the General Assembly? I fail to understand why America is so divided on protecting its own interests, people, and sovereignty. — Bill (Georgia)

Since the staff of the university wants to hear this speaker so badly, why don't they go to Iran and listen to him from the jails they would be placed in once they arrive? We should arrest this tyrant the moment he sets foot on U.S. soil. In the future, he will flaunt his romp through N.Y. and note we had the opportunity to jail him, but we are too caught up in politics to do so. — Alan (Stone Mtn, Georgia)

Listen, if Pelosi and others can visit our enemies and enjoy a shopping spree, what Columbia University is doing pales in comparison. — Henry (Sarasota, FL)

It is a disgrace to the USA and to all U.S. citizens that the world's leading terror state leader will speak at a U.S. university — on top of all it is New York, a city which has a large Jewish community — will host a Holocaust denier to speak about what? What is the purpose of his speech, dose any one think he's going to be more friendly after the speech. — Omar

I think it's outright ridiculous to let a terrorist speak in AMERICA.To let a terrorist like Ahmadinejad, to come into America is an insult to the great American people! I don't think they should allow him in America much less anywhere around ground zero. — Patrick

The administration at Columbia University would have invited Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, too. They do not understand the threat we face from a nuclear armed Iran. Ironically, the Iranians would imprison or stone to death the liberal Columbia University professors inside of Iran. — Craig (Austin, TX)

It's offensive. Would our leaders be allowed to speak in Tehran? This man should be barred from the world stage. — Andrew

Ahmadinejad is a war criminal. He should be arrested the moment he steps foot on our soil. My hope is that funding is cut for Columbia, donations are non-existent and Bollinger loses his $1 million salary for supporting the enemy. He should be tried for treason. — AJ

Outrageous! If we do not deal with this threat now, we are making a strategic error that will have grave consequences in the future. — Jere

I am outraged that he is even allowed into this country. Sickens me to think of the millions of dollars that will be spent protecting him. NYC should send a bill to him ! — Donald

I must "suspend disbelief" that this maniacal sob will be allowed to enter this country. — Russ

For Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia University is totally unacceptable and a slap in the face of all Americans alike. I would hope that if his speech is aloud that the American people would come together and stop any financial support for that school and that students would choose a different college to attend. I feel that Ahmadinejad should be confined to his motel room with guards when he is not in meetings, at minimum. — Michael (Bloomdale, OH)

America's gone crazy. We invite a self-confessed enemy of America, the president of a country which is producing weapons with which to attack us? At the very least, we should refuse to provide protection for him and refuse to allow any one in with him beyond a very small support contingency. At least there is the sense not to allow him at Ground Zero. — Robin

I think it is an insult, not only to the families of 9/11 but to the entire country and the men and women in our armed services and their families; and a slap in God's face. Why would they want to invite the president of Iran at all. He has stated that he lives to see Israel and the US wiped off the face of the planet. — Peggy

My husband and I have been ranting about this all week. We hate it that he is even allowed on our soil, much less INVITED to speak at this university. If we had the money, we would be up there in a heart beat to do our part in holding a nasty sign up for him to read. We hope that people show up to protest him by the thousands and thousands! — Laura (Kansas City, MO)