Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1900-1989) Revolutionary leader of Iran from 1979 until his death in 1989. From exile in France, Khomeini became a symbol of Shi'ite* opposition to the secular shah (ruler, king) during the 1970s. Khomeini was regarded by some as the deputy of the mythical "Twelfth Imam* ," believed by some Shi'ite Moslems to represent the eventual establishment of a purified Islamic state. Khomeini came to power in 1979, following the departure of the shah. Khomeini established a militant Shi'ite theocracy in Iran and was in power during the "hostage crisis" of 1979-1980 in which more than 50 U.S. diplomats were taken hostage by Islamic university students.

Ted G. Jelen


M. S. Kimmel and R. Tavakol, "Against Satan," in Charisma, History, and Social Structure , ed. R. M. Glassman and W. H. Swatos, Jr. (New York: Greenwood, 1986): 101-112

R. Wright, In the Name of God (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989).

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