Imam stresses peaceful methods for campaigning

Translated by M. B. Khoshnevissan


Ayatollah Golpaygani had an office in London named "London Islamic Center". In the year 1357 (1978) corresponding to the Islamic months of Muharam and Safar when the revolution days were in its peak, I on behalf of Ayatollah Golpaygani left for London. Thus, I could not take part in the big demonstration held in Tehran on the day of Ashura. But I remember that a demonstration and a gathering was also held in London. There is a square in London named "Liberation" where any person, group and party can go and speak. In the Ashura day of that year, the Iranians hold a ceremony there and I also took part in it.

It was during those days that someone saw me wearing a turban and said: "Khomeini, Khomeini!" I started talking to him in English, how do you know Khomeini? It was a time when the Imam had gone to Paris. As I have said before, I had learned English from the classes that martyr Beheshti organized in the School of Religion and Science. Of course, I did not give a speech in English there, because our speeches were for Iranians living there, but I spoke in English with the people on the streets.

At that time, Mr. Golpaygani's representative in London was variable. Mr. Saberi Hamdani was his representative for a while and Mr. Mesbahzadeh for a while. Of course, because Mr. Mesbahzadeh had tendencies towards the embassy and the revolutionaries there did not like him, Mr. Golpaygani dismissed him. It is mentioned that Ayatollah Hassan Nouri Hamdani (the elder brother of Grand Ayatollah Nouri Hamdani) was also one of the representatives of Grand Ayatollah Golpaygani. I don't remember that he went to London before or after me, as a representative on behalf of Mr. Gaplaygani. He was less related to Mr. Golpaygani.

At that time, the Imam had gone to Paris for about two months. The late Ayatollah Agha Sheikh Ali Safi, on behalf of Ayatollah Golpaygani, went to Neauphle-le-Château to meet the Imam and came to London from there and told us about their meeting. Therefore, I also decided to visit the Imam before returning to Iran. Without any problems or restrictions, I went from London to Paris and then to the Imam's residence in Neauphle-le-Château.

I was told there: "Here, it is not like Qom where you can easily go and sit and talk with the Imam!" If you want to see him, after performing Maghrib and Isha prayers, you can go for a few moments to kiss his hand." When night fell, the imam sat for a while after performing the congregational prayer. A large number of domestic and foreign political activists and journalists had come there. After the imam went inside, they summoned me. His son-in-law, Mr. Eshraghi, came and took me to Imam and we started talking. He knew that I am the representative of Mr. Golpaygani in London.

One of the issues that I told the Imam in the meeting was that, "Sir, the Shah's regime has gone beyond evildoing! Even if elementary school children come out of school and say "Down with Shah", they will be shot! Young people constantly ask us about the armed attack. Do you allow?"

The Imam responded, "No, because, first of all, by doing this, the Shah's regime accuses us of being terrorists. Secondly, our power is not enough to deal with them with arms and weapons. I hope that through these demonstrations, sit-ins, and strikes, we will achieve victory."

Therefore, when I came back to Iran, I informed the questioners of Imam's opposition. I stayed in Neauphle-le-Château for one or two days.


Source: A Star in Altar, Memoirs of Ayatollah Hashem Hamidi, interview and compilation by Reza Akbari, Tehran, The Institute for Contemporary History Studies, 1400 (2021). Pp. 76-78.

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