Ruhollah Khomeini

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Putting the "fun" in fundamentalist Islam.
Party Like It's 632
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If one permits an infidel to continue in his role as a corrupter of the earth, the infidel's moral suffering will be all the worse. If one kills the infidel, and this stops him from perpetrating his misdeeds, his death will be a blessing to him.
This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others.
Barack Obama[2]
Beneath the banner announcing the departure of the Shah, the newspaper Kayhan reported this quote of Khomeini's directly from the press gallery: "Marxists are free to express their convictions." This promise of freedom, uttered at the very moment when the Iranian Revolution proclaimed that its objectives had been attained, was not kept, either by the country itself or by Khomeini.
—Chowra Makaremi[3]

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902–1989) was a fundamentalist Shi'a (Islamic) cleric and Iranian politician who overthrew the autocratic monarch of Iran, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1978–79.

Before he succeeded at this, Khomeini chattered a good deal about democracy and the UN Declaration of Human Rights;[4] once he was in power, however, he instituted a theocracy based on a strict form of Shi'a Islam and officially proclaimed Iran to be an "Islamic Republic". It appears from his philosophical background that the Islamic came from his religion and the Republic came from the book of that title by Plato, which just goes to show what reading too much Plato can do for a man.

Khomeini's seizure of power was a very unlikely happening that left many bystanders surprised. It had two primary causes:

  • The Iranian people had been suffering mightily under the Shah's rule; besides being a dictator and running a very corrupt government, the Shah was being propped up by the U.S., and this arrangement was causing some unwelcome Western cultural influence in the country. A secular reform movement in the early 1950s, led by the prime minister Mohammed Mosaddegh, had been very popular before being crushed by U.S. and British intelligence services at the behest of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Corporation (later BP).
  • Other reform movements, such as communist and Islamic socialist groups, underestimated Khomeini's potential influence, believing he could be kept on the sidelines in a broader reform movement.[note 1]

Under the Shah's rule, Khomeini had been in exile in Iraq but still had a large base of support in the clergy and radicals of Iran who opposed the Shah's secularization. After the death in October 1977 of Khomeini's son Mustafa, millions of Iranians marched against the Shah whom they blamed for Mustafa's death. Feeling the pressure, on 2 October 1978 the Shah granted amnesty to Ayatollah Khomeini. However, opposition to the Shah continued to grow and on 16 January 1979, the Shah left Iran in an attempt to calm the situation. The prime minister of Iran, Shapour Bakhtiar, was then effectively forced by the Iranian public to free all political prisoners and allow Ayatollah Khomeini to regain power in Iran. Shapour Bakhtiar asked the Ayatollah to allow free elections and preserve the constitution; however, Khomeini preferred to be an oppressive, theocratic dictator and so that is what he did. After he was secure in power, he started making some noise about how the Shi'a-majority population in neighboring Iraq should rise up and join in the new Islamic Republic; this was one of the causes of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, which left parts of Iran something of a smoking ruin and also caused an upswing in U.S. aid to Saddam Hussein. He also mounted a mass campaign of murder, rape, and torture against political opponents and "unbelievers", as well as their families, children, close friends and anyone who was accused of insufficiently Islamic behaviour.

Strangely enough, during 1987-88, Khomeini did business with both the Great and the Little Satan, but then again, war often creates strange bedfellows.

In 1988, shortly before the conclusion of Iraqi war, Khomeini ordered a large execution of prisoners (estimated as many as 30,000), most of whom were Mojahedin-e-KhalqWikipedia leftist militants,[note 2] but the pretext of war was used to terminate most of other opposition as well. Also he issued a fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie following the publishing of The Satanic Verses which Khomeini decreed to be blasphemous. Despite the death of Khomeini the fatwa is still extant and Rushdie continues to live in fear for his life. The fatwa drew vastly different reactions by self-declared leftists from a call for Rushdie to apologize, to a scathing indictment of the Iranian regime by figures like Christopher Hitchens. This divide would appear again (more pronounced) in the reactions to 9/11.

In early 2012 the 33rd anniversary of his return from exile was celebrated with a re-enactment. As he was dead by this point, a cardboard cutout was used as a stand-in. This was widely mocked online.[5]

Ayatollah Khomeini should not be confused with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who took over the rule of supreme leader some time after the former's death in 1989. The latter is (by the regime's standards) a moderate, and when in office sought détente with the U.S., until he finally sided with the fundies in 2009. Though make no mistake "marg bar[note 3] Israel" and "marg bar America" are still par for the course,[6][7] even for "moderate" Islamic Republic leaders.


Yes, Jolly Old Ruhollah hated the Jews as well (in addition to Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and other religious minorities), ordering the death of Jewish men, women and children[8] who were tried in Stalinist-style kangaroo courts with extremist clerics. Worse treatment was — and still isWikipedia — given to the Baha'i.

More crazy things![edit]

I've never even seen a camel in Tehran, let alone been tempted to have sex with one.
—Nikahang Kowsar, prominent Iranian cartoonist[9]

Khomeini is also known for his peculiar views on bestiality, saying:[9][10]:349[11][note 4][note 5]

#2632. If they have intercourse with a cow and sheep and camel[,] their urine and dung become unclean and drinking their milk will be also be unlawful and they must be killed and burned without delay, and the person who had intercourse with them must pay money to the owner. Further, if he had intercourse with any beast[,] its milk becomes unlawful.

Another passage seems to indicate that he supported pedophilia in some cases, specifically that intercourse with one's child bride after age 9 is acceptable, and that molesting an infant is acceptable.[13]

It can be shocking to the point of disbelief for even Muslims to read these passages by Khomeini.[14][9] Khomeini's book, Tahrir al-Wasilah,Wikipedia (from which this statement came) is subject to substantial controversy. The controversy is in part due to Khomeini writing the book in Arabic despite his having a poor grasp of the language, and it subsequently being rewritten by native Arab speakers. The other part of the problem was that Khomeini's mindset, as with other Islamic jurists, did not concern itself with problems of modernity. According to Islamic scholar Mehdi Khalaji, "Islamic jurisprudence hasn't yet been modernized. Its totally disconnected from the issues that modern, urban people have to deal with."[9]

But in spite of all of that, the very worst thing about Khomeini was that he had absolutely no sense of humour, claiming, "There is no room for play in Islam: there are no jokes, there is no joy, there is no humour. It is deadly serious about everything."[15]

Damn. Even Muhammad had humour.[16]


  1. Unfortunately, a very similar blunderWikipedia in Germany in 1933, which was also exacerbated by communist bumbling,Wikipedia had not managed to teach the communists anything.
  2. The "People's Mojahedin" are renowned for crushing Kurd rebels with Iraqi tanks and fighting against their own people alongside the Iraqi military.
  3. Literally translated as "death to" but often subtitled with "down with" on bilingual cardboards
  4. The Arabic-to-English translation intentionally preserved most of the many grammatical errors of the Arabic text.[9]:xxxii
  5. مسألة 22 - مما يوجب حرمة الحيوان المحلل بالأصل أن يطأه الانسان قبلا أو دبراء وإن لم ينزل، صغيرا كان الواطئ أو كبيرا، عالما كان أو جاهلا، مختارا كان أو مكرها، فحلا كان الموطوء أو أنثى، فيحرم بذلك لحمه ولحم نسله التجدد بعد الوطء على الأقوى في نسل الأنثى وعلى الأحوط في نسل الذكر، وكذا لبنهما وصوفهما وشعرهما، والظاهر أن الحكم مختص بالبهيمة ولا يجري في وطء سائر الحيوانات لا فيها ولا في نسلها. مسألة 23 - الحيوان الموطوء إن كان مما يراد أكله كالشاة والبقرة والناقلة يجب أن يذبح ثم يحرق ويغرم الوطئ قيمته لمالكه إن كان غير المالك، وإن كان مما يراد ظهره حملا أو ركوبا وليس يعتاد أكله كالحمار والبلغ والفرس أخرج من المحل الذي فعل به إلى بلد آخر فيباع فيه، فيعطى ثمنه للواطئ، ويغرم قيمته إن كان غير المالك.[12]


  1. Prisoner of Tehran: One Woman's Story of Survival Inside an Iranian Prison by Marina Nemat (2008) Free Press. ISBN 1416537430.
  2. Text: Obama's Speech in Cairo (June 4, 2009) The New York Times.
  3. "From Revolution to the Islamic Republic: The Books in Context" by Chowra Makaremi. In: Enghelab Street, a revolution through Books: Iran 1979-1983 by Hannah Darabi (2018) Specter Books. ISBN 9783959052634. Pages 10-11.
  4. Imam Khomeini’s Biography Islamic Thought Foundation (archived from October 21, 2012).
  5. Cardboard Cutouts of Khomeini Are Mocked Online by J. David Goodman (February 2, 2012, 2:28 pm) The New York Times (archived from February 6, 2012).
  6. Ali Khamenei Wikiquote.
  7. Iran's Khamenei hails his people for demanding death to America and Israel (18 July 2015, 4:37 pm) The Times of Israel.
  8. Ethnic And Religious Groups In The Islamic Republic Of Iran by Nazila Ghanea-Hercock (October 2004) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 The Ayatollah Under the Bed(sheets): In the Islamic Republic of Iran, all politics may not be sexual, but all sex is political. by Karim Sadjadpour (April 23, 2012, 3:04 AM) Foreign Policy.
  10. A Clarification Of Questions: An Unabridged Translation Of Resaleh Towzih Al-masael by Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah & Mousavi Khomeini, translated by J. Borujerdi (2019) Routledge. ISBN 0367017253.
  11. Tahrir al-Vasyleh, Ruhollah Khomeini fourth volume, Darol Elm, Gom, Iran, 1990
  12. تحرير الوسيلة - السيد الخميني - ج ٢ - الصفحة ١٦٠ [Al-Wasilat, Mr. Khomeini (editor). Part 2. Page 160] Shia Online Library (archived from February 13, 2020).
  13. "كتاب النكاح "[Book of Marriage]". Tahrir al-Wasilah (in Arabic). The Office of the Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei. Retrieved 11 December 2014. "مسألة 12 - لا يجوز وطء الزوجة قبل إكمال تسع سنين، دواما كان النكاح أو منقطعا. وأمّا سائر الاستمتاعات - كاللمس بشهوة والضمّ والتفخيذ - فلا بأس بها حتّى في الرضيعة." Google translation: "It is not permissible to have intercourse with a wife before the completion of nine years, whether the marriage was always or not. As for all other pleasures — such as touching with desire, being held together and teased out — there is nothing wrong with it, even in a nursing infant."
  14. Fake quote attributed to Khomeini in Tahrir al-Wasilah (Zoophilia) by Brother (December 31, 2019, 02:45:44 AM) Twelvers Shia (archived from September 29, 2020).
  15. Man Of The Year: Portrait of an Ascetic Despot (Jan. 07, 1980) TIME.
  16. Jokes and Humor of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by İsmail Yakıt (05.03.2010)