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Khomeinism (Hardback)

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"Fanatic", "dogmatic", "fundamentalist" - these are the words most commonly used to describe the Ayatollah Khomeini. Ervand Abrahamian's book challenges that view, arguing that Khomeini and his Islamic movement should be seen as a form of Third World political populism - a radical but pragmatic middle-class movement that strives to enter, rather than reject, the modern age. Abrahamian, while critical of Khomeini, asks us to look directly at the Ayatollah's own works and to understand what they meant to his principle audience - his followers in Iran. Abrahamian anlyzes political tracts dating back to 1943, along with Khomeini's theological writing and his many public statements in the form of speeches, interviews, proclamations and fatwas (judicial decrees). What emerges is a militant, sometimes contradictory, political ideology that focuses not on issues of scripture and theology but on the immediate political, social and economic grievances of workers and the middle class. This book reveals how the Islamic Republic has systematically manipulated history through televised `recantations', newspapers, school textbooks, and even postage stamps.

All are designed to bolster the clergy's reputation as champions of the downtrodden and as defenders against foreign powers. Abrahamian also discusses the paranoia that permeates the political spectrum in Iran, contending that such deep distrust is symptomatic of populist regimes everywhere.

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