SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

This article supports the thesis that the Islamist movement in Iran that climaxed with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 defined itself primarily as a movement against Baha'is as the country's internal “Other.” Through examining the works of Ayatollah Khomeini, this study shows that similar to Friedlaender's notion of “redemptive anti-Semitism” in Nazi Germany, for Khomeini, the Muslim nation of Iran could only be saved by purging Baha'is. Khomeini's “Othering” of Baha'is is an example of Bauman's “anti-grammar” of Selfing/Othering in which the Other must be annihilated for a system of “pure” sameness to be created. “Subverting” the distinctions among Baha'is, agents of imperialism, Jews, Zionists, and Israel, Khomeini constructed a chain of equivalent identities among different elements seen as expressing a certain sameness — enmity to Islam and Iran. With the construction of this chain of equivalent identities, the struggle to eradicate Baha'is was transformed into a struggle to overthrow the Pahlavi regime.