Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989) was reported by the Associated Press on November 5, 1979, to have said “the great Satan, America.” The term immediately became popular during the Iranian hostage crisis. “Great Satan” (or “Big Satan") is still used in the Muslim world and became frequently cited after the terrorist attacks of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
The origin of “Little Satan” (Israel) isn’t so well known, but was cited in print a few months later. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said “Israel is the little Satan” in a July 1980 interview.
Wikipedia: Great Satan
The Great Satan (Persian شيطان بزرگ Shaytân-e Bozorg) is a derogatory epithet for the United States of America in some Iranian foreign policy statements. Occasionally, these words have also been used toward the government of the United Kingdom.
The term was originally used by Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini in his speech on November 5, 1979 to describe the United States whom he accused of imperialism and the sponsoring of corruption throughout the world.
Ayatollah Khomeini also occasionally used the terms Iblis (Diabolis - the primary devil in Islam) to refer to the United States and other Western countries.
Definition of the term
Khomeini is quoted as saying on November 5, 1979, “(Americans) are the great Satan, the wounded snake.” The term was used extensively during and after the Islamic Revolution, but it continues to be in used in some Iranian political circles. Use of the term at rallies is often accompanied by shouts of “Marg bar Amrika!” ("Death to America” is an inexact translation of “Marg Bar Amrika”, but is supposed to mean “Down with America"). The term has also found in political statements of Muslim and anti-American activists throughout the world. It is used in academic journals and media.
Wikiquote: Ruhollah Khomeini
Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (21 September 1902 – 3 June 1989) Iranian Islamic cleric, the political and religious leader of the Islamic Revolution which overthrew the Shah of Iran. He is often referred to as the Imam Khomeini.
Quotes about Khomeini
The Imam throughout his life called America ‘the Great Satan’. He believed that all the Muslims’ problems were caused by America.
. Hossein Shariatmadari, as quoted in “Khomeini ‘sought to drop Death to America chant’” by Robert Tait, in Guardian Unlimited (20 August 2007)
Google News Archive
5 November 1979, Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville, KY), pg. 1, col. 3:
Iranian Protesters Seize
U.S. And British Centers
By The Associated Press
Urged on by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian protesters seized two U.S. consulates, an American cultural center and the British Embassy in Tehran today, and continued to hold the U.S. Embassy and more than 50 hostages, it was reported.
Khomeini called on the student militants to act against “the great Satan, America,” in order to force it to extradite the deposed Shah Mohammad Rexa Pahlavi, hospitalized in New York for cancer treatment, back to Iran for trial, Radio Tehran reported.
Google News Archive
30 July 1980, Glasgow Herald, pg. 2, col. 3:
U.S. “great Satan,” says Gaddafi
THE UNITED States is “the great Satan of our planet” and Israel is the little Satan,” says Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.
The Jews of Africa and Asia:
Contemporary anti-Semitism and other pressures
By Tudor Parfitt
London: Minority Rights Group
Inevitably, Khomeini’s passionate hatred for Israel often referred to as ‘Little Satan’ and for historical Jewry began to colour the general attitude of the revolution towards the local ‘protected’ Jews.
24 January 1989, The Advocate (Baton ROuge, LA), “Israel hopes U.S. will renounce PLO”:
In the Middle East, Arab nations refer to the United States as “Big Satan” and Israel as “Little Satan.”
14 August 1994, Baltimore (MD) Sun, “Hezbollah replaced PLO in nightmares of the West” by Doug Struck, pg. 1A:
America still is the “Great Satan” and Israel the “Little Satan.”
The ayatollahs’ crisis: Youth, courage and revolutionary ideas
By Robert Morton
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Friday, July 16, 1999
Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Iran has been the region’s most powerful foe of both the “great Satan” and Israel, the “little Satan.”
Published 00:00 08.10.01
Czechoslovakia 1938, Madrid 1991, Palestine 2001
From at least one standpoint, Osama bin Laden must be pleased as punch. He has managed to cause a feud between the Big Satan and the Little Satan. One terror attack on America has done to the romance between U.S. President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon what dozens of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel and in the territories have been unable to do.
By Akiva Eldar
From at least one standpoint, Osama bin Laden must be pleased as punch. He has managed to cause a feud between the Big Satan and the Little Satan.
New York (NY) Daily News
Just One Dog In The Hunt
BY MICHAEL GOODWIN
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
The Great Satan - that would be us - and the Little Satan - Israel - are weakened because of our failures in Iraq and Israel’s in Lebanon.
July 21, 2007
Why Does the Left Hate Israel?
By Richard Baehr
Hatred of America
The most basic reason as suggested already is that those who hate America, also hate those whom America supports, of which Israel is exhibit A. For Al Qaeda, there is the great Satan, America, and the little Satan, Israel.
Wall Street Journal
JANUARY 5, 2009
Eradicating the ‘Little Satan’
The West should take Iran’s threats to Israel seriously.
By ZE’EV MAGHEN
The accession of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been accompanied by a sharp transformation in the Iranian attitude to, and depiction of, the state of Israel.
4/3/2011 12:23:34 PM
The Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeni coined the phrase “Great Satan” and “Little Satan” to demonize the United States and Israel and mark them for destruction.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, July 15, 2011 • Permalink