In a little notice meeting reflecting growing ties between South America and the Islamic world, Mexican President Felipe Calderon welcomed former Iranian President Mohamed Khatami to Mexico City.

The two leaders met Wednesday at Los Pinos, Mexico’s official presidential residence, to discuss deepening cultural bonds with the Islamic world in the face of Western notions of a “clash of civilizations.

The visit drew virtually no mention in the press outside of Mexico, even in Iran.

Khatami came at the invitation of the International Center for Dialogue between Civilizations, established in 2006 at the Colegio de San Luis in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.

A notice on the Colegio de San Luis website said Khatami spoke at the center to oppose the main thesis of Harvard University professor Samuel Huntington’s seminal 1996 book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.”

In his speech, Khatami proclaimed a “Dialogue among Civilizations,” a theme echoing a 2001 U.N. declaration.

Similarly, a statement by Calderon emphasized, in diplomatic language, that Khatami was promoting an exchange of opinions “concerning the roads available to promote peaceful co-existence among natures and cultures.”

The Mexican newspaper La Jornada echoed the presidential statement: “The government of Mexico shares the conviction that dialogue and negotiation should be promoted as the preferred means to advance agreements.”

The radical leftist La Voz de Aztlan in Los Angeles characterized the Khatami-Calderon meeting as “part of a growing alliance between Mexico, South America and Islam.”

La Voz de Aztlan also noted, “President Calderon has been worried about the growing racist hostility against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the USA.”

The online publication said the visit “may signal the beginning of a new international alignment that may bring into reality what Patrick Buchanan wrote in his new book, ‘Day of Reckoning.'”

In July, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met in Tehran with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reflecting Tehran’s recent campaign to develop closer ties with Latin America.

In September, Ahmadinejad met with Fidel Castro in Cuba, where the communist dictator endorsed the Iranian leader’s efforts to further the goals of the Islamic revolution begun by Ayatollah Khomeini.

The International Center for Dialogue between Civilizations was opened in 2006 by Islamic Dawa of Chauen, a militant Shiite Islamic group originally formed in Iraq, and the radical Junta Islamica of Spain.

Chauen is a city in the Mexican province of Marruecos with historic ties to the Berbers in Morocco. The Junta Islamica derives from the descendents of the Moriscos, the Spanish Muslims expelled from Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group noted for aggressively promoting the rights of Hispanic immigrants, characterizes the Nation of Aztlan, publisher of La Voz de Aztlan, as a “tiny Chicano group that pushes racism and homophobia.”

Aztlan is the name for the mythical place of origin of the Aztec people. In the politics of Hispanic immigration, Aztlan has come to represent the part of the southwestern United States, including a large part of California, sought by the Reconquista movement for Mexico.



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