World: The Enigmatic Mullah

His voice is soft, almost diffident, but it is powerful enough to have spurred the collapse of a 53-year-old dynasty. In his home country, nearly everybody utters his name with reverence; his photograph, hawked on virtually every Iranian street corner, is now as ubiquitous as the Shah's portrait once was. Yet little is known of the private life and thought of Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, the enigmatic patriarch of 32 million Shi'ite Muslims who regard him as their guiding light.

Day after day, streams of reporters journey to the drab stucco bungalow in Neauphle-le-Château, outside Paris, where the 78-year-old mullah has lived in...

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