Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini

Brazenly defying the West, he revived Islam's faithful and authored a new form of religious government. The prescriptions were often chilling

To Westerners, his hooded eyes and severe demeanor, his unkempt gray beard and his black turban and robes conveyed an avenger's wrath. The image is the man.

Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, the dour cleric who led an Islamic revolution in Iran, perceived himself above all as an avenger of the humiliations that the West had for more than a century inflicted on the Muslims of the Middle East.

He was among many Muslim autocrats in this century to embrace a mission designed as a corrective to the West. Kemal Ataturk, the most daring of them, introduced Turkey, after the fall of the...

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