Jan. 29, 2011
A senior cleric on Friday praised the recent popular uprisings in the Arab world, saying they herald the creation of "an Islamic Middle East”.
At the weekly congregation, the interim Friday prayer leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, was referring to the recent historic revolution in Tunisia and massive protests in Egypt, Jordan and Yemen, IRNA reported.
"Incidents happening in the Middle East and the Arab world should not be considered as ordinary,” he told worshippers on Friday.
"To those who do not see the realities, I clarify that an Islamic Middle East is being created based on Islam, religion and democracy.”
Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, on Thursday called on the country’s people to continue protests after the weekly Muslim prayer congregation.
Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman Essam Al-Arian warned that Egypt would ‘explode’ if the government does not listen to the people.
Police clamped down on anti-government protesters in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Friday.
The leader of Tehran’s interim Friday prayers said the recent uprisings in the Arab world enjoy support of Muslims worldwide, as people came to the streets and shouted "God is the Greatest.”
Khatami also praised the congregational prayers in Tunisia days after the revolution ousted former President Zine El Abidin Ben Ali from power.
On January 24, Ben Ali fled amid a wave of violent protests that began when a 26-year-old fruit vendor set himself on fire to protest against police abuse.
Later, the government declared a national state of emergency, imposing a ban on public gatherings and authorizing security forces to open fire on anyone who refused to comply with orders.
Before his ouster, Ben Ali and his generals tried to stem the flow of public outcry over the dire political and economic situation in the country by sacking his Cabinet members, and called for parliamentary elections to be held within six months.
Khatami noted that Tunisians held their first Friday prayers after Ben Ali fled, adding that this is the influence of the Islamic Revolution on the people of the country.
A vast majority of Tunisians are Muslims and committed to Islamic values.