RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s top cleric heightened the Kingdom’s rhetoric against Iranians, saying they are “not Muslims,” a day after Iran’s Supreme Leader said Saudi authorities had “murdered” Muslim pilgrims who were injured during last year’s crush at the Hajj pilgrimage.
Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh was quoted Tuesday by Makkah newspaper as saying that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s accusations are “not surprising” because Iranians are descendants of Zoroastrians and are therefore “not Muslims.” He says their “enmity to Islam, especially the Sunnis, is very old.”
The majority of Iranians are Shia Muslims, while most in Saudi Arabia are Sunni.
The 2015 hajj incident killed at least 2,426 people, according to an Associated Press count. Iran had the highest of death toll of any country, with 464 Iranian pilgrims killed.