Khomeini’s Frenzied Funeral

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June 6 1989: To cover-up the humiliating funeral of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian authorities tried to confiscate every roll of film taken in a crowd estimated at 2 million. One of such photos made it to The Associated Press in London next day and it shows the emotional outpouring at the funeral that reflected both Iranians’ grief over the death of the leader who seemed to embody their revolution and the emphasis Shiite Muslims place on martyrdom and death. When the Ayatollah’s coffin was brought to Behesht-e-Zahara cemetery in Teheran, wailing mourners ripped the body from the flimsy box and fought to touch it. — the New York Times

Westerners found [it] as bizarre, frightening — and ultimately incomprehensible, wrote Time. As a helicopter brought the open wooden coffin containing the mortal remains of the Imam, nearly a million mourners thrust forward in the blistering heat and choking dust to touch the body and snatch a piece of the linen burial shroud, leading to an ignominious exposing of the remains.

The corpse spilled to the ground, bare feet protruding from beneath the white shroud. As the Revolutionary Guards beat back the crowds, firing shots in the air and spraying fire hoses, other soldiers shoved the body and coffin back into the chopper. It lifted off with the casket hanging precariously out the door. Some five hours passed before there was another, successful attempt to deliver the body to its final resting place, this time encased in a metal coffin. With chants of “Death to America!”, the guards ripped of the metal lid to inter the body in only a shroud in accordance with the Islamic tradition. The grave was quickly covered with concrete slabs and a large freight container to prevent the mourners from exhuming the corpse. By the end of the ceremony, eight people had died, more than 440 people had been hospitalized and an additional 10,800 had been treated for injuries.”

See Khomeni’s Iran on The Times and a reflection 20 years on New Statesman.

21 thoughts on “Khomeini’s Frenzied Funeral

  1. I remember Americans fighting almost to death when a rich man dropped some hundred dollars down from his balcony.

    I think that clearly shows the alleged American cultural “superiority” to the Iranians.

  2. ILUVISLAM: What these people need is a case of good ol’ fashioned forced conversion to Wahabism. What’s good for Saudi Arabia is definitely good for Iran.

    Gooze mani Khomeini.

  3. Wasn’t this the same guy who sent children to clear minefields for the army in the ’80 to ’88 Iran/Iraq war? Great guy….
    Fitting funeral….

  4. Khomine still lives on don’t judge Him because Khomeini is an ayatalloh the highest ranking in Islam when you clowns become ayatalloh then talk.

  5. it is difficult to ascertain from these photos of he was loved, or hated. were they really trying to tear his body to pieces? it doesn’t seem like they respected him.

  6. The name of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran is in the Guinness Book of Records. The funeral of Imam Khomeini (RA) has been named as the highest number of participants. According to the statement, according to Guinness officials had 10 million 200 thousand people attended the event that took about a sixth of the population of Iran.

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