I watched a television interview which mentioned Churchill’s comparing Hitler’s Mein Kampf to the Koran. I have searched and searched. Was the reporter telling the truth? (Who knows these days.) Thank-you for your time. —C.C.
You are referring to Fox News on February 24th, wherein Glenn Beck interviewed Geert Wilders, the Dutch lawmaker facing possible jail for anti-Islamic remarks:
BECK: I just have to give you this quote and get your thoughts — oh, there are my glasses. “The fact that in Mohammedan Law, every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property either as a child, a wife, or concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.”
Pretty outrageous stuff.
BECK: You didn’t say that, though.
WILDERS: I didn’t say that, no.
BECK: No. Winston Churchill said that.
WILDERS: Yes. And Winston Churchill, as a matter of fact, in a book in the ’50s also made a comparison, like Oriana Fallaci in Italy but also Winston Churchill, the comparison between Mein Kampf and the Koran. One of the reasons that I’m being prosecuted, I don’t remember Winston Churchill who got a Nobel Prize for this book and really would have been prosecuted.
Beck was accurate in his Churchill quotation (“The fact that in Mohammedan law…”). This is from Churchill’s The River War (London: Longmans Green, 2 vols., 1899), II: 248-50, which was deleted from the abridged edition published in 1901 and in print ever since.
On Churchill’s comparison of Mein Kampf to the Koran, Wilders must have read last week in a review in The Washington Times of my new book, Churchill by Himself. The reviewer was quoting from page 55 of Churchill by Himself, under “Mein Kampf and the Koran”:
All was there—the programme of German resurrection, the technique of party propaganda; the plan for combating Marxism; the concept of a National-Socialist State; the rightful position of Germany at the summit ofthe world. Here was the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message.
–Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, vol. 1, The Gathering Storm (London: Cassell, 1948), 43.
Wilders had the date wrong (it was 1948, not the 50s), and of course the quote takes on added significance in the light of 9/11. However, it is important to distinguish the context: Churchill was referring to Mein Kampf as an article of faith, like the Koran, but he could as easily have said the Bible. He was not saying the Koran is an earlier version of Mein Kampf.
One other point: Churchill received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 for the totality of his historical and biographical writings, and not for The Second World War, which was not completely published at the time.