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Old 27 March 2011, 04:43 AM
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Soapbox Churchill on Islam

Comment: I am sending the attached short speech from Winston Churchill,
delivered by him in 1899 when he was a young soldier and
journalist. It probably sets out the current views of many
but expressed in the wonderful Churchillian turn of phrase and
use of the English language, of which he was a past master. Sir
Winston Churchill was, without doubt, one of the greatest men of
the late 19th and 20th centuries.

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 on 24 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

Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition,
Vol. II, pages 248-50 London)

Churchill saw it coming.
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Old 27 March 2011, 11:12 AM
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Apparently there's two different versions of the book out there. The one-volume 1902 version is easily available: Wikipedia has 3 different links to it.

But the quotes in question supposedly appear in the 1899 two-volume version, which I can't find online. The words "votary" and "dreadful" don't appear in the one-volume version.

The one-volume version has this nice quote:

For more than a thousand years the influence of Mohammedanism, which appears to possess a strange fascination for negroid races, has been permeating the Soudan, and, although ignorance and natural obstacles impede the progress of new ideas, the whole of the black race is gradually adopting the new religion and developing Arab characteristics. In the districts of the north, where the original invaders settled, the evolution is complete, and the Arabs of the Soudan are a race formed by the interbreeding of negro and Arab, and yet distinct from both... The qualities of mongrels are rarely admirable, and the mixture of the Arab and negro types has produced a debased and cruel breed, more shocking because they are more intelligent than the primitive savages.
The whole book is pretty racist, what with it being an account of the white man's appointment with his destiny to conquer black and "Mohammedan" men. The New York Times review of the 1899 version says as much: "The River War was... a logical and an important incident in the progressive story of our race." It opens by listing British conquests in Africa, then says they're "part of one great movement. This movement is centuries old. It has its vicissitudes, but it is the most persistent political phenomenon now visible to mankind. It is the forward movement of the men born to speak the English tongue." There we go, toss in some sexism and ethnocentrism while we're at it.
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Old 28 March 2011, 11:17 AM
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were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science
LOL, the same Christianity that still today denies evolution.
But the real stupidity of this verse is its claim that the Muslim world was backward. They actually had a very advanced civilisation hundreds of years before the western world caught up from about the 1600s.

Islam had universities, a diplomatic corp, cryptography, astronomy, chemistry, soap, and medicine: at a time when most of Europe was illiterate and living in poverty or serfdom.
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Old 28 March 2011, 02:40 PM
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Very good point, Skeptic, something that I was trying to make not that long ago with someone who said that Islam "has nothing that we need to learn or understand."

While my gut says that Churchill would never have said that, it does sound like the whole "White Man's Burden" thing that was going through Britain at the time, the whole jiingoistic let's go in there conquer them and ask questions later attitude, so I wouldn't have been surprised if he did say that.
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Old 28 March 2011, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
LOL, the same Christianity that still today denies evolution.
That very quote says as much, in the next phrase:

were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled
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Old 29 March 2011, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by bufungla View Post
That very quote says as much, in the next phrase:
I think by "the science against which it had vainly struggled," Churchill was referring to "the science against which Islam had vainly struggled".
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Old 29 March 2011, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
LOL, the same Christianity that still today denies evolution.
More accurately, some Christians still deny evolution.
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Old 29 March 2011, 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
More accurately, some Christians still deny evolution.
This is true, I work at a christian school (and also attended a christian school for grades 11/12) and the practising christian teachers definately teach evolution in science (and believe it as far as I can see). They have no time for intelligent design or creationism.

To clarify I am a teacher aid not a teacher.
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Old 16 August 2013, 03:00 PM
Joe Smith
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Default Young Winston on an ancient culture

Some observations about young Winston Churchill's rant about Islam in this widely circulated trashmail.

1. The passage, as has been noted, is from v 2 of The River War, 1899, pp 248-50. We have an electronic copy at my college so I read it.
2. The passage is INCOMPLETE. It happens to leave out WSC’s praise of Muslim soldiers: "Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die ..." Then the rant resumes. But why did the trashmailer leave out these lines, which come after the bit about how individual Muslim may be good fellows. Thousands of Muslim are brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen and will give up their lives for her and England. But they are base, backward, degenerate? Hello! Maybe that is all they are good for, to be the Queen's cannon fodder. Is this what you mean, Winston? His sort of thinking borders on the pathological.
3. The CONTEXT of course is missing from the trashmail. Why do we never wonder about context when such pompous self-important nonsense arrives in our inboxes? So what was it that set off WSC into a hyper-tizzy? It seems that the Muslim engineer driving the troop or supply train on which young Winston was riding had not maintained it properly and it broke down well short of its destination. So all that ranting about how abominable Mohammedanism makes its “votaries”, how degraded they become in their thought, how primitive in their treatment of women, bluster bluster bluster—all that vile undigested prejudice because a native engineer with a rudimentary knowledge of mechanics (remember, we are in South Africa in the days of de facto apartheid) did not grease and oil his steam engine as a good British lad trained at a Birmingham or Manchester technical school would have. One poorly trained, or maybe just bored and inattentive, native mechanic exposes the baseness of hundreds of millions of people. In Freshman Comp, reasoning like this gets a well-earned F.
4. And last but not least ... young Winston was young at the time of the incident, around 24 or 25, an emotionally-starved son of two cold and distant parents. How dare he pontificate on civilisations that flourished when his ancestors quivered in mud huts at the sound of thunder. Who is really being abominable here, I wonder.
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