Sheikh Tejan-Sillah said Imam Khomeini was forced to exile because of his stance as the main speaker of the opposition inside Iran as he continuously attacked the Shah’s brutality and because of that he gained the popular support of the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He further said that the charismatic religious scholar managed to overthrow one of the strongest and most oppressive regimes in the world and placed Iran on a collision course with the West.
In his remarks, the Iranian Consulate in Sierra Leone, Dr. Ali Reza Faramazi gave a brief background of the life of Imam Ayatollah Khomeini and said his first act of defiance was to organize the religious leaders against a proposed law of the Shah’s regime that would effectively end the requirement for elected officials to be sworn in on the Holy Qu’ran. He emphasized that this action was just the beginning in a long string of events that would change Iranian politics forever.
Dr. Faramazi reiterated that in June 1963, Khomeini made a speech suggesting that if the Shah did not change the political direction of Iran, the populace would be happy to see him leave the country. As a result, Khomeini was arrested and held in prison. During his incarceration, people took to the streets with cries for his release, and were met by the government with military force. Even so, it was nearly a week before the unrest was resolved. Khomeini was held in prison until April 1964, when he was allowed to return to Qom.
Dr. Faramazi said Imam Khomeini spent many years in exile in Iraq, Turkey and France, from where he led a movement which ultimately put an end to monarchical rule in Iran. He further said that Ayatollah Khomeini became the supreme religious leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, following many years of resistance to Shah Pahlavi.
He expressed that following his appointment as Ayatollah, Khomeini worked to remove the Shah from power for his associations with the West.
Dr. Faramazi ended his statement that Imam Khomeini was widely acknowledged as the new leader of Iran, and came to be known as the Supreme Leader as he returned home to cheering crowds, and began laying the groundwork for the Islamic state he had for so long been imagining.
Imam Khomeini passed away at the age of 86 on the night of June 3, 1989. The late Imam led popular protests against Iran’s former Pahlavi regime which was a key ally of the United States.
The Ceremony which was chaired by Sheikh Mohamed Lamin Mansaray was climaxed with prayers for the late Imam Ayatollah Khomeini.