Iran urges EU to stop 'anti-Islamic' meet in Germany

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Iran called on the French presidency of the European Union on Wednesday to prevent an "anti-Islamic congress" of right-wing groups from taking place in Germany later this month.

The official IRNA news agency said the French charge d'affaires in Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry's human rights department over the Islamic Republic's concern about a "growth in anti-Islam".

"Specifically, Iran asked the rotating head of the EU to prevent the formation of an anti-Islamic congress in Cologne in Germany by making responsible decisions," IRNA said.

The website of the congress organisers says the meeting is supported by German right-wing groups, as well as by Belgium's Vlaams Belang and Austria's Freedom Party (FPOe).

They are plannng a rally in Cologne on Sept 20 to protest against "Islam terror in Europe, Muslim parallel societies and ghettos in our cities", as well as the building of a new mosque in the city.

Some left-wing groups are calling for protest rallies against the congress.

IRNA said the French charge d'affaires condemned any kind of racism or anti-Islamic action and promised to follow up the issue and respond to the Foreign Ministry.

There was no immediate comment from the French embassy.

Western rights groups have often accused Iran of violating human rights, including discrimination of ethnic and religious minority groups. Iran rejects the accusations.