Iran’s Rouhani says it’s up to Muslims to correct Islam’s image

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX1SX2O

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX1SX2O

DUBAI (Reuters)  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday (Dec. 27)  that Muslims must improve the image of their religion, which has been tarnished by the violence of hardline groups such as Islamic State,

“It is our greatest duty today to correct the image of Islam in world public opinion,” Rouhani told a conference on Islamic unity in Tehran in a speech broadcast by state television.

His remarks were rare for a leader of Iran, which considers itself an authority in the Islamic world and often blames the “enemies” of the religion for problems in the Middle East.

“Did we ever think that, instead of enemies, an albeit small group from within the Islamic world using the language of Islam, would present it as the religion of killing, violence, whips, extortion and injustice?” Rouhani said.

Rouhani, a relative moderate, said Islamic principles opposed violence and the extremism of groups such as Islamic State stemmed from “narrow-mindedness and a lack of moderation”.

Rouhani criticised Muslim countries for “being silent in the face of all the killing and bloodshed” in Syria, Iraq and Yemen – conflicts in which Iran plays a role.

Iran supports the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has close ties with neighbouring Iraq, and condemns the Islamic State group which fights both governments.

The Islamic Republic is also an ally of the Houthi movement which seized control of most of Yemen last year and has fought a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia for nine months.


  • Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and calls for the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews, when he is not saying death to America. He is a moderate only to people who don’t pay attention. Iran is a big part of the reason Islam has a bad reputation

  • Islam has an image problem because it is at war with itself.

    After America destroyed Iran’s legitimate democracy in the 1950s and replaced it with a vicious Shah a furious anti-American religious revolution resulted.

    Some of Iran’s leaders know religion stands in the way of everything Iran needs in order to progress: free speech, modern finance and banking, human rights and the silver bullet cure to poverty – the emancipation of women.

    Islam is in a civil war – a fight over which direction it needs to evolve:
    more Armageddon or more Secularism.

  • Larry

    “Moderate” when speaking of a dictatorship is always a relative term. Usually having more to do with the belicosity towards neighbors than tempered and reasonable views. There is no such thing as a moderate dictator. Just one we can live with at the moment.

  • Christy Besozzi

    Under Mr. Rouhani’s directive and/or acquiescence, the persecution of Iran’s Baha’i Faith community has worsened significantly. His statement that Islam must correct its own problems does not bode well since he is an active participant in injustices rendered not only to my co-religionists in the Baha’i Faith in Iran, but also Sufis, Sunnis, and other minority groups. The Baha’i Faith community in Iran is the largest of the religious minorities in Iran with about 300,000 members.

    Persecution by the government includes: forced closure of hundreds of businesses owned by Baha’is; the denial of higher education to Baha’i students; confiscation of Baha’i cemeteries and the desecration of graves; issuance of fatwas against the Baha’i citizens – at least one murder and numerous attacks on Baha’is occurred thereafter; loss of jobs; confiscation of property; and now the government even harasses Muslims who are friendly to Baha’is.

    Depending on Mr. Rouhani to correct…

  • Thibodeau

    … And Israelis celebrate the walling off and stabbing of Palestinian children, whose families have been on the land over 1,000 years.

    Israel has no credibility on the topic of Iran. Israeli occupational ctions speak far louder than domestic Iranian political words.