Former Iranian Premier's Speech

Article excerpt

Former president of Iran Mohammad Khatami yesterday urged British Muslims to integrate into society while retaining a sense of identity.

Addressing a meeting organised by the Muslim Council of Britain in Whitechapel, east London, Mr Khatami said Muslims must adhere to the rules and regulations of the country they live in.

He told the 150-strong crowd: "There are a huge number of Muslims in non-Muslim countries and they have the right to be considered equal citizens.

"At the same time they have to respect the laws and regulations of the country they are in and take advantage of the advantages of living in that country. Muslims should look to gain knowledge and be innovative."

Mr Khatami said Muslims had only to look at the history of Islam to see it was a religion of "wisdom and understanding".

During the 15-minute speech, he said "misunderstandings" occurred in the past and more mutual awareness of other customs and communities would help.

He said: "There are always misunderstandings and there are some today who wish to add to the problems. …