LONDON, Dec. 29 (UPI) — Deceased former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill may have briefly considered converting to Islam according to newly released letters, however his family adamantly objected.
Early in his life, Churchill wrote he “wished” to be a Pasha, the Ottoman equivolent of a British noble. According to Cambridge University Fellow Dr. Warren Dockter, Churchill, like many Victorians of the era, was interested in to the point of idealizing Islamic culture as a young man.
“Please don’t become converted to Islam,” pleaded Lady Gwendoline Bertie, Chruchill’s future sister-in-law in a 1907 letter. Bertie eventually married Churchill’s older brother.
“I have noticed in your disposition a tendency to orientalize, Pasha-like tendencies, I really have … If you come into contact with Islam your conversion might be effected with greater ease than you might have supposed, call of the blood, don’t you know what I mean, do fight against it.”
Despite Lady Bertie’s concerns, Dr. Dockter told The Independent Chruchill’s relationship with Islam was only as an appreciator, as Churchill “was more or less an atheist by this time anyway.”
Lady Bertie’s concerns were further alleviated when, upon returning from the African tour, Churchill’s opinions of Islam soured due to the faith’s treatment of women.
“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,” Churchill wrote in The River War, his 1899 book about the African Tour.
“Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it.”
Content from the newly-discovered letters was released to the public less than a week after the Combined Military Services Museum in Essex revealed it was in possession of Churchill’s iconic Tommy Gun, long thought to be lost forever.
— War History Online (@WarHistoryOL) December 24, 2014