What would Winston Churchill say today?
Churchill on Islam
Claim: Winston Churchill wrote about the “dreadful curses of Mohammedanism” in his 1899 book The River Wars.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, January 2015]
Origins: An obscure quote attributed to British statesman Winston Churchill has been circulating on the Internet since at least May 2013, when Missouri State Representative Rick Stream sent an e-mail to his colleagues warning about the dangers of Islam. Thate-mail cited a passage said to have been taken from a speech by Churchill, as reproduced in his 1899 book The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan:
He was a brave young soldier, a brilliant journalist, an extraordinary politician and statesman, a great war leader and Prime Minister, to whom the Western world must be forever in his debt. He was a prophet in his own time; He died on24 January 1965, at the grand old age of 90 and, after a lifetime of service to his country, was accorded a State funeral.
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.
A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.
The above-quoted passage did appear in The River War when it was first published as a two-volume set in 1899, but the selection was removed when the book was condensed into one volume and republished in 1902. While the one-volume abridged edition ofThe River War is still readily available, as of January 2015 the original two-volume 1899 version is much harder to find, a condition which may have led to confusion about the origins of the quote in question. However, the Churchill Centre has confirmed these words were indeed written by Winston Churchill.