Churchill’s Disgruntled Diatribe on Islam
The West’s policy in the Muslim world may hearken back to opinions held by leaders from its past.
- In 1899, Winston Churchill wrote a searing cultural critique of Islam – based on a few months’ stay in Sudan.
- Churchill wrote, “The influence of [Islam] paralyzes the social development of those who follow it.”
- Churchill believed that Christianity had survived because it “is sheltered in the strong arms of science.”
Islamophobia is not a condition recently born into the world. In the unabridged edition of The River War (1899), Sir Winston Churchill infamously expounded his view of Islam, following his short stay of a few months in Sudan:
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 Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes 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 proseltyzing 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.