Muslims should set aside their differences and focus on “the ideal of liberating Palestine,” Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said Friday at an event for al-Quds Day, an anti-Israel celebration held annually by Iran. Al-Quds is the Arabic and Farsi name for Jerusalem.
The day’s rallies, held across the country, were attended by tens of thousands and featured chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” Israeli and American flags were also burned, Reuters reported.
Ali Kotobi, an Iraqi-born 63-year-old who attended one al-Quds Day rally, told Al-Monitor that Israel created the Islamic State. “Daesh is the creation of Israel. They want Muslims to fight each other and Palestine to be forgotten.”
Rouhani concurred with the sentiment that intra-Muslim conflicts were preventing Israel from being destroyed. “The Zionist regime 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. He later told state TV that “due to the divisions in the Islamic world, the presence of takfiris [Sunni extremists] and terrorists in the region…we are far away from the ideal of liberating Palestine.”
Al-Quds Day was established in 1979 by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni, who declared that the last Friday of Ramadan should be a day of pan-Islamic demonstrations against the Jewish state.
A leader of Iran’s Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) took the opportunity to boast about his country’s support for the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah. “Hezbollah has 100,000 missiles that are ready to hit Israel to liberate the occupied Palestinian territories if the Zionist regime repeats its past mistakes,” IRGC deputy head Hossein Salami told the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
The IRGC itself issued a statement on the occasion, saying that within 25 years, “there will be no Israel on the map of the world.”
Lady Liberty stoned, set on fire at #QudsDay rally in Iran pic.twitter.com/Gei9MSS0Wl
— Sobhan Hassanvand (@Hassanvand) July 1, 2016
[Photo: Mehr News]