"Cultural acts, main way of fighting terror": President


President Rouhani met with American Muslim leaders in New York on Tuesday and emphasised that Islam is the religion of mercy, democracy, intellect, science, consultation and elections, adding: “The main way of combating terrorism is cultural actions and introducing true Islam to the younger generation”.

Explaining the history of the world of Islam full of ups and downs and the efforts of great powers to dominate Islamic countries, Dr Hassan Rouhani said: "Muslims faced two major problems, the first problem was scientific retardation compared to advanced countries and the other was terrorism and extremism”.

"One of the great missions of the Islamic countries is to compensate their scientific and technological backwardness; in this regard, some Islamic countries have taken more steps. Some Islamic countries are somewhat slower, but there is still a gap,” Dr Rouhani added.

The president said: "If the Holy Quran has commanded us "And prepare against them whatever you are able of power," one of the examples of this power is the scientific and technological power, even the military power of today's world is connected to science and technology, and I am glad that the Islamic countries held the first summit in the field of scientific and technological cooperation in the recent weeks and gathered in Astana and adopted a detailed plan for scientific and technological cooperation between Islamic countries”.

Dr Rouhani expressed his hope that the implementation of the decisions would be a step for Muslims to be able to return the world of Islam to the point that they were pioneering in science and technology during the Renaissance.

Referring to the fact that Muslims in recent decades, especially from the beginning of the new century, faced a new challenge and that some extremists in the name of Islam started terror in the world, the president, said: "Where did this round of extremism start? Who was involved? What was the role of Zionism and major powers in this regard? What we are seeing in the region is that major powers want extremism and violence against people as a means of slowing down other countries and defame Islam and Muslims by the use of al-Qaeda, ISIS, al-Shabaab, al-Nusra Front, and Boko Haram”.

Dr Rouhani said: "It's a pity that many people around the world are killed in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and the blood of innocents is shed, but there is also a higher sadness and that is, together with slaughter of innocent people, real Islam is being slaughtered too”.

The president said that in the present and future world and we have no doubt that the religion of Islam is a guiding power for all humanity, adding: “Unfortunately, some have turned Islam, which is the religion of guidance, light and mercy, to the religion of violence, extremism and terror in the world”.

“If we want to fight terrorism, the main path is cultural steps; we must introduce real Islam to our young generation. No matter who the heads of ISIS and al-Qaeda are, the sad point is that this extreme way is still attractive for some Muslims and some uninformed young people, and terrorist groups have absorbing power, which means that the problem is unsolved, even though many of them are destroyed and driven out of some countries”.

Criticising a kind of thinking based on which some think that Islam is opposed to democracy and people’s votes and added: "Unfortunately, there are countries that are Muslim, but at the same time, view elections and people's votes non-religious. If think that Islam is against people's opinions and votes, we would be defeated in today's world. We need public opinion and we need people's presence and votes to run the society”.

Dr Rouhani also said that the Quran has called for consultation which means that people's affairs, government, and the administration of the society must be done with the opinion and the vote of the people.

The president emphasised that we must eliminate the gap between Islam and the people's votes and the election and the people's vote and democracy, adding: “We must eliminate the gap between Islam and reason and rationality, and the gap between Islam and the human experience. Islam is the religion of mercy, democracy, intellect, science, consultation, and elections”.