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Khomeini the Poet Mystic

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Ayatollah Khomeini (1902-1989), the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is commonly known in the West for his political reading of Islam. Especially his death-sentence against the British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie, in 1989, strengthened his image as a fundamentalist. Khomeini as a hermit and mystic poet who composed poetry about selfless love, wine and mystic union is, for the western public, contradictio in terminis. Yet mysticism and poetry are two essential aspects of his personality, usually overshadowed by his outspoken political views.

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