Iranian President Hassan Rohani has called for Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims to overcome differences that represent the largest and oldest division in the history of Islam.
Speaking in Tehran on January 7 at the start of the 28th International Conference on Islamic Unity, Rohani called for Muslims "of all Islamic faiths" to begin "practical cooperation" in order to reach unity and solidarity.
The president of Shi’a-dominated Iran said Muslims "cannot attain unity through words, slogans, and holding repeated gatherings and conferences on the issue."
He said Muslims must "practice recognizing different Islamic faiths as one single religion" from the time they start their school studies.
The conference comes amid intensified sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi’a from the Middle East to Pakistan.
Tensions have been exacerbated by the growth of the Sunni-led Islamic State militant group, which denounces Shi’a as heretics, traitors, and non-Muslims.