Tens of thousands of Iranians joined anti-Israel rallies across the country to express solidarity with Palestinians. They chanted “death to Israel, death to America” and burned the Israeli flag. The day is known as al Quds Day, an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan that was initiated by Iran during its 1979 revolution to express support for Palestinians and opposition to Zionism. It has since blown up to be an international hate fest against Israel, with incitements to violence at al Quds Day rallies.
This year, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani propelled al Quds Day by accusing Western powers of trying to exploit the differences between the world’s Sunni and Shia Muslims in order to divert attention away from the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Two critical strategies reign supreme among jihadists: manipulating ignorance and telling endless lies. Jihadists have never needed the West to be violent and divided. Since 1948, over 10 million Muslims have been killed by Muslims, and it is no secret that the divide between Sunnis and Shia Muslims is Islam’s greatest schism that began in the 7th century. Sunnis regard themselves as the orthodox branch of Islam and frequently denounce Shia as heretics who should be killed.
To this day, Tehran’s policies of supporting Shia militias are evident, and translate into sectarian conflicts in the region. In Syria, Iranian-backed Shia militiamen have been assisting the Shia government in combating the Sunni-dominated opposition, while Sunni jihadist terror groups such as the Islamic State have been targeting Shia and their places of worship in Syria and neighboring Iraq.
Also, the start of this year, Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shia cleric who supported mass anti-government protests. This triggered mass demonstrations across the Middle East, and a diplomatic crisis with Iran, prompting Tehran to threaten that Saudi Arabia would pay a “high price” for the execution.
So now Rouhani is spitting out propaganda about the West exploiting Sunni-Shia differences to detract from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He forgot to mention the Muslim jihadists still trying to destroy Israel from the day of its birth in 1948 and the global call (by Sunni and Shia mujahideen) to “holy war” against the West to conquer it by the sword. The Sunni/Shia divide may be historic and bloody, but it gives heightened meaning to the phrase the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
“Iran’s Rouhani accuses West of exploiting Sunni-Shi’ite rift, raps Israel,” by Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, July 1, 2016:
ANKARA (Reuters) – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani accused Western powers of trying to exploit differences between the world’s Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims to divert attention from the Israel-Palestinian conflict, state television reported on Friday.
Rouhani’s comments came as tens of thousands of Iranians joined anti-Israel rallies across the country to express support for the Palestinians. They chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and burned the Israeli flag.
“The global arrogance (the United States and its allies) wants to create discord among Muslims … Unity is the only way to restore stability in the region,” Rouhani said.
“We stand with the dispossessed Palestinian nation.”
Opposition to Israel, which Tehran refuses to recognize, has been a cornerstone of Iranian policy since its 1979 Islamic revolution. Shi’ite Muslim Iran backs Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups who oppose peace with Israel.
“The Zionist regime (Israel) is a regional base for America and the global arrogance … Disunity and discord among Muslim and terrorist groups in the region … have diverted us from the important issue of Palestine,” Rouhani said.