Accessibility links

Breaking News

Rouhani: It's Up to Muslims to Fix Islam's Image

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accuses archrival Saudi Arabia on Dec. 27, 2015, of promoting poverty and terrorism by continuing to bomb Yemeni rebels and supporting armed rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that it is up to Muslims to improve the world's opinion of Islam.

During a speech, at the opening ceremony of the International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, President Rouhani said Muslims "must remove Islam's negative image from today's cyber and real space."

Rouhani criticized Muslims for "being silent in the face of all the killings and bloodshed," in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

He said conflicts in Iraq and Syria only benefit Israel and those against Muslims.

Rouhani also went on to deny his country is seeking the formation of a "Shi'ite crescent," a Shi'ite-dominated region in the Middle East stretching from Lebanon through Syria and Iraq.

"There is neither a Shi'ite nor a Sunni crescent. We have an Islamic moon. We, Muslims, are in world where we must be united," he said.

A worsening proxy conflict between Iran and Gulf powers, particularly Saudi Arabia, is fueling Sunni-Shiite tensions which has polarized the Arab world for years. Shi'ite Iran supports Yemen's Houthi rebels, while Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia leads the coalition that is bombing them.