February 24th, 2011

Notes from Chairman Khomeini: on church and state

I keep revisiting events in Iran in 1979, as a reminder of what can happen in those other countries in upheaval today in the Muslim world (which is not necessarily what will happen, of course).

Here are some selected quotes from the Ayatollah Khomeini, whose utterances before his return to Iran in 1979 were quite different from his utterances after his return.

Just as an example, in November of 1978 he said, “Personal desire, age, and my health do not allow me to personally have a role in running the country after the fall of the current system.” Then on his return to Iran about a year later: “I will strike with my fists at the mouths of this government. From now on it is I who will name the government.”

Here’s another later quote:

Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world. . . . Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us?…Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors!

Straight from the horse’s mouth: Islam, not a religion of peace.

Here’s another that chills the blood, and is meant to:

There is no room for play in Islam … It is deadly serious about everything.

The following is not a quote from Khomeini, but I include it because it so perfectly illustrates the Orwellian madness/stupidity/deception/amorality (take your pick, or take them all) of so many on the left in their confrontation with totalitarian tyranny of the non-Western variety. It was spoken on the occasion of Khomeini’s death in 1989:

The freedom-lovers of the world mourn the sad demise of Imam Khomeini.

The speaker was Ernesto Cardenal, “Nicaraguan combatant, scholar, poet, and liberation theologian.” “Liberation theologian” could be a description of how Khomeini regarded himself, as well, so it’s not so very surprising that Cardenal would see him as a kindred spirit. Cardenal is a Catholic priest, a man of the left who affiliated himself back in the 70s and 80s with the Sandinistas in his native Nicaragua:

On 19 July 1979, immediately after the Fall of Managua, [Cardenal] was named Minister of Culture by the new Sandinista regime. He occupied this office until 1987, when his ministry was closed owing to economic reasons. When Pope John Paul II visited Nicaragua in 1983, he openly scolded Cardenal, who knelt before him, on the Managua airport runway, for resisting his order to resign from the government. The Pope admonished Cardenal: Usted tiene que arreglar sus asuntos con la Iglesia (“You must make good your dealings with the Church”).

One of the doctrines Khomeini was noted for was his idea that Islam should be closely intertwined with politics. This philosophy represented a break with most of his immediate predecessors. Khomeini fully lived out his own beliefs, beginning with his triumphant return to Iran in 1979. The deadly serious repercussions of that decidedly unplayful philosophy are still being felt by the Iranian people today.

[NOTE: This all is another excellent reminder of the remarkable prescience and wisdom of our own founding fathers, who were not against religion itself but who were profoundly against the establishment of a state religion, even a seemingly benign one. ]

15 Responses to “Notes from Chairman Khomeini: on church and state”

  1. Artfldgr Says:

    its more like the set up to the 6 day war…

  2. jon baker Says:

    “… of so many on the left in their confrontation with totalitarian tyranny of the non-Western variety.”….unfortunately, our last republican president kept repeating the lie “Islam is the religion of peace”…..course, unfortunately, he also helped push ethanol on us …..but to his credit he did try to expand domestic drilling.

  3. LAG Says:

    neo, I was struck by your quote, “There is no room for play in Islam … It is deadly serious about everything.”

    Is there a medical/psychiatric term to describe someone who’s always serious? This sounds like a mental condition, probably carried by all fanatics.

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    When the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, one of his first legal reforms was to reduce the marriageable age of girls to nine years old, exactly in line with the example of the Prophet, announcing: “It is a blessing for a family to have a daughter out of the house before her first blood.”

    “There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.” Ayatollah Khomeini, 1942

    “… those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [God’s law].”

    “Those who oppose the mullahs oppose Islam itself; eliminate the mullahs and Islam shall disappear in fifty years. [my emphasis] It is only the mullahs who can bring the people into the streets and make them die for Islam– begging to have their blood shed for Islam.” -Ayatollah Khomeini

    The quote neo offered, disavowing its attribution to Khomieni, is a paraphrase of what he did say;

    “There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun [or] joy in whatever is serious.” Ayatollah Khomeini

    The Muslim Brotherhood leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi who recently spoke in Cairo’s main square after a 30 yr exile and who had a military escort to the event is the next Khomeini. Cut from the very same cloth.

  5. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Oops, darn tags! What a stupid I am!

  6. Perfected democrat Says:

    They don’t like music either; imagine a world without Coltrane or Brahms…

  7. Alex Bensky Says:

    Interesting the idea that Muslims have to kill the infidels before the infidels kill them. Most infidels don’t have any particular interest in killing Muslims. I think this is called projection.

  8. Parker Says:

    Or without Miles, Ann Peebles, and Hank.

  9. LAG Says:

    Or Alan for a good time –

  10. Perfected democrat Says:

    A world without comedy or ballet….

  11. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Did Khomieni ever tell a joke? Did he ever laugh so hard at a joke that his sides hurt? Did he have any sense of humor? Did he ever just have some fun, doing whatever?

    Can you even imagine an Islamic comedian? I can’t. There is no humor in Islam. There was no joy in Khomieni and there appears to be little of it in Islam, at least out in public.

    And if you live in a society where those things must be hid from public view, what does that say about a society?

    I suspect the answer to those rhetorical questions is an unequivocal no.

    “There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun [or] joy in whatever is serious.” Ayatollah Khomeini

    Khomieni knew whereof he spoke, “there is no ‘fun’ in Islam”. How can there be, it’s anti-life.

    And if they get their way, they’ll drag everyone else down into that hell hole of a pit in which they’ve already died…

    So we have to laugh at them, ridicule is the harshest criticism.

    So here’s a joke for you:
    Two Radical Arab Terrorists boarded a flight out of London. One took a window seat and the other sat next to him in the middle seat…just before takeoff, a U.S. Marine sat down in the aisle seat.

    After takeoff, the Marine kicked his shoes off, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the Arab in the window seat said, “I need to get up and get a coke.”

    “Don’t get up,” said the Marine, “I’m in the aisle seat, I’ll get it for you.”

    As soon as he left, one of the Arabs picked up the Marines shoe and spat in it.

    When the Marine returned with the coke, the other Arab said, “That looks good, I’d really like one too.” Again, the Marine obligingly went to fetch it.

    While he was gone the other Arab picked up the Marines other shoe and spat in it.

    When the Marine returned, they all sat back and enjoyed the flight.

    As the plane was landing, the Marine slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened. He leaned over and asked his Arab neighbors, “Why does it have to be this way? How long must this go on, this fighting between our nations? This hatred? This animosity? This spitting in shoes and pissing in cokes?”

    The Few. The Proud. The Marines.
    Semper Fi

  12. LAG Says:

    This thread reminded me of something that I’ve finally remembered–Umberto Eco’s book, Name of the Rose.

    There, another twisted old monk recognizes the danger that humor presents to his fanatic piety. He tries and fails to hide Aristotle’s second book of poetics. He ends in destroying the book and a fantastic store of knowledge. I see parallels.

  13. SteveH Says:

    Ahhhhh but a muslim will laugh at the infidel. Sort of like liberals who seem to need their ideology to make a funny point come to think of it.

  14. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Actually Geoffrey there are quit a few Moslem comedians. Let me recommend a blogger that has since stopped writing but whose archives display original wit http://muttawa.blogspot.com/

  15. David A Says:

    Here are some more pre-revolution quotes by Ayatollah Khomeini taken from:


    Obviously, this master of “Taqiyya” said opposite and diametrically-opposed things after the revolution than those he stated here. It would seem that Islamic theory bears little resemblance to actual Islamic practice.

    “I don’t want to have the power or the government in my hand; I am not interested in personal power.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Paris, November 16, 1978)

    “I don’t want to be the leader of the Islamic Republic; I don’t want to have the government or the power in my hands. I only guide the people in selecting the system.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with an Austrian TV reporter, Paris, November 16, 1978)

    “It is the Iranian people who have to select their own capable and trustworthy individuals and give them the responsibilities. However, personally, I can’t accept any special role or responsibility.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with Le Journal newspaper, Paris, November 28, 1978)

    “After the Shah’s departure from Iran, I will not become a president nor accept any other leadership role. Just like before, I limit my activities only to guiding and directing the people.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with Le Monde newspaper, Paris, January 9, 1979)

    “The Islamic regime does not have oppression.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with France Press news agency, Paris, October 25, 1978)

    “The foundation of our Islamic government is based on freedom of dialogue and will fight against any kind of censorship.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with Reuters news agency, Paris, October 26, 1978)

    “In the Islamic Republic the rights of the religious minorities are respectfully regarded.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with an Austrian TV reporter, Paris, November 6, 1978)

    “In Iran’s Islamic government the media has the freedom to express all Iran’s realities and events, and people have the freedom to form any form of political parties and gatherings that they like.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with the Italian newspaper Paese Sera, Paris, November 2, 1978)

    “Our future society will be a free society, and all the elements of oppression, cruelty, and force will be destroyed.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Paris, November 7, 1978)

    “In Iran’s future Islamic system everyone can express their opinion, and the Islamic government will respond to logic with logic.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with international reporters, Paris, November 9, 1978)

    “We would like to run the Islamic government like Islam at its beginning, so that people know how different the Islamic democracy is from other democracies. If the people of the world know the benefits of Islam, my hope is that they all become Moslems.”
    -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with a group of young French people in Paris, November 9, 1978)

    “In the Islamic government all people have complete freedom to have any kind of opinion.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with Human Rights Watch, Paris, November 10, 1978)

    “My proposal for establishing an Islamic government does not mean a return to the past. I am strongly for civilization and progress.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with international reporters, Paris, January 11, 1979; also quoted in Etlaat newspaper in Iran)

    “These words that you have heard regarding women in the future Islamic government are all hostile propaganda. In the Islamic Republic women have complete freedom, in their education, in everything that they do, just as men are free in everything.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with German reporters, Paris, November 12, 1978)

    “Women are free in the Islamic Republic in the selection of their activities and their future and their clothing.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Paris, November 6, 1978)

    “The ranking Shiite religious clergymen do not want to govern in Iran themselves.
    -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with France Press news agency, Paris, October 25, 1978)

    “In Islamic Iran the clergy themselves will not govern but only observe and support the government’s leaders. The government of the country at all levels will be observed, evaluated, and publicly criticized.” -Ayatollah Khomeini (in an interview with Reuters news agency, Paris, October 26, 1978)

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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