Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urges that Muslims around the world must strive to improve the image of Islam. He emphasised that Muslim should make every effort to change the world’s opinion about Islam. Rouhani said that the image has been flawed by hard-line groups like the Islamic State.
In a conference in Teheran he said, “We must remove Islam’s negative image from today’s cyber and real space.”
Rouhani made the comments while referring to the conflict in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. This conflict has divided Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims.
According to The Daily Star, he said, “I invite all Islamic countries in this region and beyond – even those who until today have bombed and launched missiles on their neighbours – for all of us to stop this and choose the right path.”
The Daily Star stated that Shiite Iran backs Yemen’s Huthi rebels while its Sunni ruled arch-rival, Saudi Arabia is fighting and bombing them since March. This is one of the prime causes of conflict between the two countries.
Rouhani said, “does the weakening of Syria benefit its Muslim neighbours? Does the destruction of Syria lead to the strengthening of Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates or other countries? Who is pleased by Syria’s destruction other than Isreal.”
The Times of Israel stated that Rouhani accused Saudi Arabia of upholding terrorism and poverty by bombing Yemeni rebels. He also made allegations that it was supporting armed rebels fighting to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad.
He further criticized Saudi Arabia and said, “how many bombs and missiles have you purchased from the US in the past year”. He continued, “if you had distributed the same money among poor Muslims, none of them would have gone to bed hungry.”
Rouhani’s attacks on Saudi Arabia highlights the fight for regional supremacy between the two countries. It also reconfirms the struggle between Shiite and Sunni communities.