What are the lessons to be learned from our historic experiences with Islam? Aside from the Crusades and, a little more recently, the Spanish Inquisition, how did the British fair during our encounters over the last century.
The great British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was a serving army officer stationed in the Sudan in 1899 when he wrote and published The River War. As you would expect, the text has been altered over time, toned down and sanitized into an opinion the government of the day would like you to believe was the great man’s
However, the Churchill Center has confirmed the following passage is the original version of Churchill’s thoughts on Islam in 1899.
‘How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia (rabies) 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.
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.’
And in The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898) Churchill observed;
‘That religion, which above all others was founded and propagated by the sword—the tenets and principles of which are instinct with incentives to slaughter and which in three continents has produced fighting breeds of men—stimulates a wild and merciless fanaticism.
The love of plunder, always a characteristic of hill tribes, is fostered by the spectacle of opulence and luxury which, to their eyes, the cities and plains of the south display.
A code of honour not less punctilious than that of old Spain is supported by vendettas as implacable as those of Corsica.
Indeed it is evident that Christianity, however degraded and distorted by cruelty and intolerance, must always exert a modifying influence on men’s passions, and protect them from the more violent forms of fanatical fever, as we are protected from smallpox by vaccinations.
But the Mohammaden religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance. It was originally propagated by the sword, and ever since its votaries have been subject, above all the peoples of all other creeds, to this form of madness.’ – Winston Churchill