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Churchill criticized Islam for the wrong reason

Reader comment on item: Churchill, Hitler, and Islam

Submitted by Prashant, Sep 21, 2017 at 16:16

Dear Dr Pipes:

I am no fan of Islamic doctrine(s) but, I think, Churchill's criticism of Islam in the two pages from the 'RIver War' that you reproduced. I took the trouble of reading those two pages was unfounded. Churchill's criticism of Islam is triggered by a statement of the (presumably) Muslim train driver of the train in which Churchill was traveling. According to Churchill the engine of the train broke down and the journey could not progress. At this point the driver of the train said that "Allah's will has some wise purpose". The driver probably implied that some good will come out of the breaking of the engine.

Churchill was a great leader and we all cal learn a lot from his life. But he was had a disparaging view of the colonized cultures. He had famously called Mahatma Gandhi a 'half naked fakir' (without perhaps realizing that as a barrister the mahatma could have easily afforded a jacket that Churchill could ever afford as a journalist!). Coming back to Churchill's story, he took exception to the train driver's 'fatalistic attitude'. If 'leaving everything to the God' is fatalism (or Theological Determinism), it is found in many religions including Winston's Churchill's. If you do not like theological determinism, you ought to dislike many religions and not just Islam.

I think the above criticism of Islam by Churchill is no more substantiated than Churchill's criticism of so many other things and people. Churchill might have given better reasons of why he did not like Islam in subsequent pages but you did not quote them.

Submitting....

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