A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ayatollah Montazeri

Grand Ayatollah Hossein ‘Ali Montazeri, once the heir apparent to Imam Khomeini until he fell out with that leader, has died in Qom at age 87. The leaders of the Iranian protest movement (for whom Montazeri had become a patron) have called for a national day of mourning.

It should be noted that he died in the first 10 days of the month of Muharram, a period of Shi‘ite mourning that culminates in the feast of ‘Ashura, when mourning for Imam Hussein reaches its peak. That could make his funeral even more explosive.

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