More than one hundred thousand Moslems in Iran have been commemorating the death of one of their earliest religious leaders.
GV: Demonstrators arriving for rally carrying floats (2 shots)
SV: Demonstrators assembling with hand puppet of President Carter (2 shots)
GV AND SV: Religious leader leads cheering (3 shots)
GV: Demonstrator marching through streets carrying floats and beating their chests. (2 shots)
GV: Imam leading chanting
GV: Demonstrators wearing Khomeini overalls and beating chests
GV: Women in black
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Background: More than one hundred thousand Moslems in Iran have been commemorating the death of one of their earliest religious leaders. They took to the streets of Teheran in a mass protest of their devotion to the Shi'ite sect. The Shi'ite sect was founded around 1300 years ago amid the controversy of succession prompted by the death of the Prophet Mohammed. The demonstration was to mark the death, over 1200 years ago, of Hassan, the brother of the sect's founder.
SYNOPSIS: More than 95 per cent of Iran's 24 million people are followers of Shi'ism. They believe -- unlike Sunni Moslems - that the prophet Mohammed nominated his son-in-law Ali as his successor. However, while remembering the past, the demonstrators do not forget the present and a token of anti-United States feeling remains in evidence.
Islam has given the people of Iran many of its leaders. And as with the early Christian church in Europe.... the were interested in politics as well so spiritual matters. Indeed it is maintained by some that the Shi'ites were behind the Iranian constitution of 1924 by insisting the country remain a monarchy.
Shi'ism has been the official religion in Iran since the sixteenth century. World wide they now total around 40,000,000, about one tenth of the world's Islamic population.
However, Shi'ite religious leaders are removed from their Sunni colleagues in ways which have been compared with the differences of early European Christianity in the Middle Ages.
The Sunni interpret the Islamic Holy Book The Koran to mean that portraits...especially those of a religious leader ...are to be frowned on. The Shi'ites...on the other hand...have no such objections and portraits of Iran's leader Ayatollah Khomeini are frequently seen carried high above marching crowds.