Unconfirmed reports. He has has been very ill with cancer for a long time.
No Islamists are all that great, but they are what they are, and the Muslim religion is what it is. It’s never going to be this groovy Western human rights and democracy religion that we want it to be. It’s just not that kind of a religion and Muslim civilization is just not that kind of a civilization. Trying to force this human rights and democracy and globalized neoliberalism on the Muslims is, to overuse a metaphor, like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. There’s another metaphor I like better. Stalin said that trying to force Communism on the Poles was like trying to put a saddle on a cow.
Let’s get real. Sure, most of the West hates Muslims. But which ones do we hate? We hate the Muslims who are being real Muslims and who are being true to their religion. The perfect Muslim country for the West is a secular country, but that right there goes against Islam, and most Muslims do not want to live in secular countries.
Islamism is just Islam.
Islamists are just Muslims.
If we hate Islamism and Islamists, then we simply hate Islam and Muslims. There’s no other way to slice this cake.
That said, Khameini was orders of magnitude better than Khomeini, the original ayatollah. The Iranians have made great strides towards moving in the direction of a more humanist Islamism. They have the advantage of Shiism. Like Catholicism, Shiism sees Islam as a moving target to be continuously reinterpreted in accordance with the times. Sort of like the living Constitutionalists. The Vatican is much the same way. These high priests see themselves as the interpreters and re-interpreters of religion, and the Shia clergy and in fact very similar to the high priests of the Vatican.
Hardly anyone in the West can see Khameini as a good man. But for an Islamist, he was very good of kind. And that’s about all we can expect from this religion of low expectations.