Since Khomeini's death, the popular appeal of an Islamic state - and of fundamentalism - has surely dimmed. Thinkers still debate and warriors kill, but no country seems prepared to emulate Iran. Perhaps revolutions happen only under majestic leaders, and no one like Khomeini has since appeared.
Look at Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution and the slogans that they used: anti-imperialism; anti-colonialism; the struggle of the have-nots against the haves; the state monopoly over economy, which was very much patterned after the Soviet Union. All of these things did not come out of Islam. Islam is not that developed.
Prior to his takeover of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini was camping near Paris, giving daily news conferences to a fawning international press corps without a murmur of complaint to France from the United States about the disaster it was coddling in the incredibly naive liberal belief that this extremist cleric would be an improvement over the Shah.
The leaders of the Pahlavi regime, in an attempt to forestall the rising tide of the Islamic revolutionary movement, were hard at work to cast doubt on the question of the Imam Khomeini's position as a Marja'a (a top religious authority) and in this way, undermine public faith in his academic, political and religious competence.
When the Islamic revolution began in 1979 under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, it aroused considerable admiration in the Arab street. It presented a model of organised popular action that deposed one of the region's most tyrannical regimes. The people of the region discerned in this revolution new hope for freedom and change.
The Islamic revolution in Iran is a positive development. At the same time, the Islamic revolution of Afghanistan, sprung exclusively from spiritual roots, dealt a heavy blow to the communist regime in the former Soviet Union. In face of that revolution, the red Soviet empire had to concede that it is incapable, in spite of its military superiority, to defeat the Mujaheddin, whose main weapons were their right and their spiritual strength. Another quite new situation appeared as a consequence of the Islamic revolution in Iran, that destroyed the Zionist rule in that country and shook its foundations in that part of the world. Khomeini's letter to Gorbachev, in which he was inviting the latter to convert to Islam, had great symbolic power! What is new again is the movement of Islamic rebirth and the continuous decay of the strength of the colonial government bodies directed from afar by Israel in many Islamic countries." "The Islamic system has remained stable in Iran even after the death of Khomeini and the change in the person of the leader and of the leadership group the only one to remain stable in the entire Islamic world. On the contrary, the demise of the Shah meant at the same time the collapse of his regime, his artificial form of government, and his army. All that went to the dust-bin of history. The same fate awaits the other regimes that prevail in the muslim world. Israel knows that very well. She tries desperately to cause the wheel of history to stand still. However, any strike against Iran or against the growing Islamic movements, will cause the anger of the muslim masses to grow, and the fire of the Islamic revolution to ignite. Nobody will be able to suppress that revolution.
Otto Ernst Remer
they have no business administering government policies in a country that favors freedom and equality. ... Can you imagine having the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as defense minister, or Mahatma Gandhi as minister of health, education, and welfare The Hindu and Buddhist idea of karma and the Muslim idea of kismet, or fate condemn the poor and the disabled to their suffering. ... It's the will of Allah. These beliefs are nothing but abject fatalism, and they would devastate the social gains this nation has made if they were ever put into practice.
When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship-though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved...