Hyderabad: Citing India as a living example of peaceful co-existence of people of different religious and ethnicities, visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for unity between Shias and Sunnis.
Stating that there can be no military solution to conflicts, the Iranian leader said that Tehran seeks brotherly relations with all the Muslims nations and the countries of the region, including India.
Addressing Muslim leaders and scholars belonging to different Islamic schools of thought here on Thursday, the first day of his three-day visit to India, his half an hour-long speech was focused on calling for the unity among the Shias and Sunnis while holding the West responsible for sowing the seeds of discords among various sects of Muslims.
"India is a living museum of different ethnicities and religions peacefully co-existing. This process is going on for centuries. Shia, Sunnis, Sufis, Hindus, Sikhs and others are living together. They together built their country and built their civilization," Rouhani said in his speech in Persian.
He noted that India and Iran have historical and cultural relations which go beyond political and economic ties and the people of two great countries share the same historical roots.
Rouhani said Tehran seeks more cordial and closer relations with India in all areas of mutual interest. Rouhani alleged that the West created rift among Muslims by instigated certain groups and outfits.
"They portray themselves as Islamic groups but we call them 'takfiri'. All those who follow 'qibla' (the direction in which Muslims offer namaz) and believe that there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is His last messenger are living together as brothers," he said.
Claiming that Iran in recent years made efforts to end conflicts and bloodshed in the region, he said that his country plans to enhance brotherhood with all Muslim nations and countries of the region.
"Iran is not seeking any discord with the other Muslim countries who have age-old relations with us. We believe that in case of differences, bullet is the not the solution. Dialogue and logic are the tools at our disposal to overcome the differences. There is no military solution. The solution has to be political," said Rouhani.
The Iranian leader said his country was ready to help countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
He said that the Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians lived together in Iraq and the same was true of Syria till the West created a discord there.
"We want to spread peace and also engage in dialogue while defending our rights. In case of need, we do believe in resistance and steadfastness," he added.
Rouhani said the enemies of Islam were trying to portray Islam as a religion of violence. "The fact is that Islam is a religion of moderation, tolerance and forgiveness", he said extensively quoting from Quran and the sayings of Prophet Mohammad.
Quoting Quran, he said the Muslim community shoulder huge responsibility as they are present on this planet to spread good deeds and eradicate evils. Quoting a saying of Prophet Mohammad, he said oppressed irrespective of his faith should be helped.
Rouhani said while during industrialization, the West plundered the mineral resources of the East and in the current age of technology, it is trying to plunder their culture and beliefs.
Iranian President arrived in Hyderabad on Thursday on a three-day India trip during which he will also hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top political leadersof the country.
He was received by Union Minister of State for Power RK Singh and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan at the Begumpet airport in Hyderabad.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrives in Telangana's Hyderabad. He will offer Friday prayers at Makkah Masjid tomorrow. He will also visit Golconda Fort and Salar Jung Museum. pic.twitter.com/gYBZibYbYu
— ANI (@ANI) February 15, 2018
Rouhani is expected to hold talks on trade and connectivity, including the strategically-important Chabahar Port with PM Modi.
He will offer prayers at Makkah Masjid today and visit Golconda Fort and Salar Jung Museum.
The two sides are also looking at inking a number of pacts in several key areas apart from exploring the scope of cooperation in fields such as health and traditional medicine during the visit, which is part of India's continued regional engagement, official sources said, as per PTI.
Rouhani is accompanied by ministers of foreign affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif, petroleum Bijan Zangeneh, road and urban development Mohammad Akhundi and industry Mohammad Shariatmadari, as per reports. A large delegation of businessmen is also said to be part of the President's delegation.
During PM Modi's bilateral visit to Iran in 2016, nearly a dozen pacts were signed between the two countries.
The Trilateral Transit Agreement (Chabahar Agreement) was also signed by transport ministers of India, Iran and Afghanistan in the presence of PM Modi, Rouhani and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
(With IANS inputs)