It was on July 19, 1941, that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill held up two fingers as a sign of victory. It became a symbol for all Western European resistance during WWII, with V's painted on walls and over Nazi posters. The National Socialist leader Adolf Hitler published his racist work "Mein Kampf" in 1925.
In "From War to War" (Second World War, 1958, Vol. 1, ch. 4, p. 50), Winston Churchill said Hitler's Mein Kampf was: "... the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message."
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Before the House of Commons, June 18, 1940, Churchill warned: "I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. ... The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war."
This is similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt's comment, Sept. 1, 1941: "Preservation of these rights is vitally important now, not only to us who enjoy them – but to the whole future of Christian civilization."
Churchill continued: "If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science."
Churchill concluded: "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"
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Earlier in his career, 1897-1898, Winston Churchill fought in northwest India, Egypt and Sudan, serving under the command of General Herbert Kitchener. Winston Churchill wrote in "The Story of the Malakand Field Force" (Dover Publications, 1898): "Their system of ethics, which regards treachery and violence as virtues rather than vices, has produced a code of honor so strange and inconsistent, that it is incomprehensible to a logical mind."
Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote on the prophet of Islam in "Of the Standard of Taste," 1760: "Let us attend to his narration; and we shall soon find, that the prophet bestows praise on such instances of treachery, inhumanity, cruelty, revenge, bigotry, as are utterly incompatible with civilized society."
The annotated "John Quincy Adams – A Bibliography," compiled by Lynn H. Parsons (Westport, CT, 1993, p. 41, entry#194), contains "Unsigned essays dealing with the Russo-Turkish War and on Greece," (The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29, NY: 1830): "The natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels is in just accordance with the precepts of the Koran. ... The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force. ... Such is the spirit, which governs the hearts of men, to whom treachery and violence are taught as principles of religion."
An illustrative incident was Mohammed's war with the Quraishite tribe. He asked for volunteers to eliminate their leader, Kaab Ibn al-Ashraf, saying Kaab had "harmed Allah and His Apostle." A soldier volunteered, offering to lie to infiltrate Kaab's camp and murder him.
In Hadith Sahih al-Bukhari, Mohammed said: "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?" Thereupon Mohammed bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?" The Prophet said, "Yes." Mohammed bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab)." The Prophet said, "You may say it." (al- Bukhari, Vol. 5, No. 369, cf. Ka'b bin al-Ashraf.) Ibn Muslima then went to Kaab saying he was no longer loyal to Mohammed, thus gaining Kaab's trust. Indicating he wanted to talk to Kaab privately, Ibn Muslima lured Kaab away from his soldiers, then murdered him.
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A similar story occurred when Shaaban Ibn Khalid al-Hazly was gathering an army to stop Mohammed. Mohammed's warrior Abdullah Ibn Anis gained access to Shaaban by claiming to be a member of the Khazaa clan. When Shaaban saw Abdullah coming, he asked him, "From what tribe are you?" Abdullah answered, "From Khazaa. ... I have heard that you are gathering an army to fight Mohammed and I came to join you." Abdullah started walking with Shaaban telling him how Mohammed was a heretic and complained how Mohammed badmouthed the Arab patriarchs. They continued talking until they reached Shaaban's tent. Letting his defenses down, Shaaban invited Abdullah into the safety of his tent to rest. Abdullah waited until everyone was asleep, then he crept over and severed Shaaban's head. Abdullah ran with Shaaban's head to Mohammed, who jubilantly and shouted, "Your face has been triumphant (Aflaha al-wajho)." Abdullah responded, "It is your face, Apostle of Allah, who has been triumphant. (Aflaha wajhoka, ye rasoul Allah)."
These incidents reflect the sayings: "when weak, seek a truce; when strong, fight without mercy" and "when your enemy shows weakness that is Allah giving them to you."
Winston Churchill wrote in "The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War" (Dover Publications, 1898):
This state of continual tumult has produced a habit of mind which ... holds life cheap and embarks on war. ... The tribesmen of the Afghan border ... kill one another without loss of temper. ... A trifle rouses their animosity. They make a sudden attack. ... Truth is unknown among them. ... All are held in the grip of miserable superstition. ... Their superstition exposes them to the rapacity and tyranny of a numerous ... Mullahs ... live free at the expense of the people ... no man's wife or daughter is safe from them. Of some of their manners and morals it is impossible to write. As Macaulay has said of Wycherley's plays, 'they are protected against the critics as a skunk is protected against the hunters.' ...
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The Mullah drones the evening prayer. ... Then the Mullah will raise his voice and remind them of other days when the sons of the prophet drove the infidel from the plains of India, and ruled at Delhi, as wide an Empire as the Kafir holds to-day: when the true religion strode proudly through the earth and scorned to lie hidden and neglected among the hills: when mighty princes ruled in Bagdad, and all men knew that there was one God, and Mahomet was His prophet. And the young men hearing these things ... pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some ... prize ... across their line of sight ... so that ... they may strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam. ..."
Every ridge sparkles with bright sword blades, the spectator may observe ... the wild fanaticism of the Ghazi. ... The victory of the Turks over the Greeks; the circulation of the Amir's book on 'Jehad'; his assumption of the position of a Caliph of Islam, and much indiscreet writing in the Anglo-Indian press ... united to produce a 'boom' in Mahommedanism. ... The Mad Mullah was ... a wild enthusiast, convinced ... of his divine mission ... preached a crusade, or Jehad, against the infidel. The mine was fired. The flame ran along the ground. The explosions burst forth in all directions. The reverberations have not yet died away. ...
It is ... impossible for the modern European to fully appreciate the force which fanaticism exercises among an ignorant, warlike and Oriental population. Several generations have elapsed since the nations of the West have drawn the sword in religious controversy, and the evil memories of the gloomy past have soon faded in the strong, clear light of Rationalism and human sympathy. Indeed it is evident that Christianity ... 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 vaccination.
But the Mahommedan 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 the people of all other creeds, to this form of madness.
In a moment ... material prosperity, the fear of death itself, are flung aside. The more emotional ... are powerless to resist. ... Seizing their weapons, they become Ghazis – as dangerous and as sensible as mad dogs: fit only to be treated as such. ... Tribesmen become convulsed in an ecstasy of religious bloodthirstiness. ... Poorer and more material souls derive additional impulses from ... hopes of plunder and the joy of fighting. Thus whole nations are roused to arms.
Thus the Turks repel their enemies, the Arabs of the Soudan break the British squares, and the rising on the Indian frontier spreads far and wide. In each case civilization is confronted with militant Mahommedanism.
The forces of progress clash with those of reaction. The religion of blood and war is face to face with that of peace. Luckily the religion of peace is usually the better armed. ...
The Mad Mullah ... declared he would destroy the infidel. ... I was shown a captured scroll, upon which the tomb of the Ghazi – he who has killed an infidel – is depicted in heaven, no fewer than seven degrees above the Kaaba itself.
Even after the fighting – when the tribesmen reeled back from the terrible army they had assailed, leaving a quarter of their number on the field – the faith of the survivors was unshaken.
Only those who had doubted had perished, said the Mullah, and displayed a bruise which was, he informed them, the sole effect of a twelve-pound shrapnel shell on his sacred person. ...
It was Jumarat, on which day the prophet watches with especial care over the interests of those who die for the faith. ... The Mullah exhorted them all to the greatest efforts, and declared that he would himself lead the assault. To-night the infidels would be utterly destroyed. ... The attack came. ... They ... assailed both flanks ... firing everywhere became heavy. ... Along the whole front and from every side enormous numbers swarmed to the assault. On the right and left, hand-to-hand fighting took place. ... Colonel McRae again held his position. ...
The 24th Punjaub Infantry on the left were the most severely engaged. The enemy succeeded in breaking into the breastworks, and close fighting ensued, in which Lieutenant Costello was again severely wounded.
But the fire of the troops was too hot for anything to live in their front. ... The Mad Mullah being wounded, another Mullah killed and several hundreds of tribesmen slain ... they suffered heavy losses from the musketry of the defence, and their dead lay scattered thickly on the approaches. ... Many Ghazis, mad with fanaticism, pressed on carrying standards, heedless of the fire, until they fell riddled with bullets under the very walls. ... The tidal wave of fanaticism ... influenced the Mohmands.
Winston Churchill wrote in "The (Nile) River War" (first edition, Vol. II, 1899, pp. 248-50): "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. ..."
Churchill continued: "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 ... but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. ... "
Churchill concluded: "... 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 Rome."
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