Iran, Syria Hold Conferences on a 'Culture of Resistance'

Speakers in Tehran claimed that Muslims are the primary victims of terrorism. Both conferences offered support for Arab violence against Israel.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz,

As Iran was hosting an international conference this week under the banner "The Muslim World: Victim of Terrorism," Syria was holding its own international conference on "Arab and Islamic Media Support of the Palestinian People." In both countries, the theme was how the Islamic or Arab peoples are under assault and occupation by Israel and the United States.

On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the audience at the first-ever Culture of Resistance Conference, held in Tehran, that the Islamic world has been victimized by terrorism perpetrated by "the arrogant powers." It is those powers, Ahmadinejad said, that have created and promoted international terrorist organizations. "Unfortunately," the Iranian leader said, "Islam's enemies are trying to cover up their failures by wrongly portraying Islam as a religion of violence."

Ahmadinejad called the United States a terrorist regime and claimed that Israel, with Western backing, is continually threatening other nations. "Islam is nowadays the victim of organized terrorism," he declared.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi told conference attendees, "We strongly condemn all forms of terrorism because we have suffered most from it."

The two-day Tehran conference, which had as its explicit goal the promotion of a "culture of resistance," ended on Wednesday and was attended by guests from 46 states.

At the same time as the Iranian event, a three-day conference in Syria drew 350 people from around the globe, as well.

Like its sister gathering in Tehran, the Syrian conference expressed a commitment to "deepen the culture of resistance." Specifically, the conference offered support for the Hizbullah terrorist organization, referred to in Syrian media as "the Lebanese national resistance." The final statement of the conference further praised the war Hizbullah launched against Israel in July 2006, "which defeated the US-Israeli schemes," according to the Syrian government's news agency, SANA.

In their closing statement, the Syrian conference organizers called on Arab and Islamic media to put the Arab-Israeli conflict at the top of their agenda, especially regarding the release of convicted Arab terrorists in Israeli jails.

Presented as the centerpiece of the conference's final statements, however, was a declaration in favor of "Syria's legitimate right to restore the occupied Syrian Golan." To emphasize this point, the last session of the gathering was held in Kuneitra, on the Syrian side of the Golan mountain range.





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