More Churchill on Islam

Islam is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog.
—Winston Churchill, 1898

I think that is exactly right. Adherence to Islam automatically turns many of its adherents madly violent, and makes other adherents supportive of such violence. In a comment written for VFR, Spencer Warren provides the source of the quotation, along with much else.

In 1898 Churchill served as a lancer and war correspondent (simultaneously, a common practice at the time), with the expedition dispatched to subdue the jihadist rulers of the Sudan. He rode in the last great cavalry charge in history at the Battle of Omdurman. Though respecting the Dervishes’ courage, he wrote in one of his dispatches that Islam was “as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog.”

[Quoted in Richard Toye, Churchill’s Empire (New York: Henry Holt, 2010), quoting in turn Frederick Woods (ed.), Young Winston’s Wars: The Original Despatches of Winston S. Churchill, War Correspondent, 1897-1900, (London: Leo Cooper, 1972), p. 149 (dispatch of 20 Sept. 1898).]

A year earlier Churchill served as soldier and war correspondent on India’s North-West Frontier with the Malakand Field Force under the command of Major-General Sir Bindon Blood. Of the enemy Afghan Pathan tribesmen, he later described them as disposed to treachery and violence by their “strong aboriginal propensity to kill,” though he respected their bravery. That propensity was compounded by their Muslim religion, which stimulated “a wild and merciless fanaticism.” And though an exaggeration at the time, these words would later prove prophetic: “Civilisation is face to face with militant Mohammedanism.”

[Quoted in Toye, pp. 40-41, quoting in turn Churchill, The Story of the Malakand Field Force, pp. 3-4, 168, 192-3, and Wood, p.30 (dispatch of 21 Sept. 1897). Churchill also sharply criticized the tribesmen’s brutal repression of women, Malakand Field Force, p. 6. (The edition of this book is the one found in The Collected Works of Winston Churchill, vol. II, ch.3.)]

In 1922, as Secretary of State for the Colonies, he presented a White Paper to the House of Commons setting out in detail Britain’s policies in its Mandate of Palestine. Among other things, it reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, but stated the promised Jewish National Home should be founded in Palestine, not comprise Palestine as a whole. (At this time Palestine was defined to include what is now Jordan.) Churchill defended a controversial concession made to Pinhas Rutenberg, a Jewish businessman, for the exclusive production of electricity in Palestine. Speaking in favor of this concession and of the Zionist role in the economic development of Palestine, Churchill told the House:

Left to themselves, the Arabs of Palestine would not in a thousand years have taken effective steps towards the irrigation and electrification of Palestine. They would have been quite content to dwell—a handful of philosophic people—in the wasted sun-scorched plains, letting the waters of the Jordan continue to flow unbridled and unharnessed into the Dead Sea.

[Quoted in Toye, Churchill’s Empire, p. 148.]

A final note. The Conservative leader and Prime Minister of the latter nineteenth century, the Marquess of Salisbury, whose government approved the Sudan expedition, hated the “false religion” of Islam. Quoted in Toye, p. 51.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 05, 2011 04:17 PM | Send

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