Past Greats that Understood Islam (in Quotes)

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), a German philosopher best known for his book, The World as Will and Representation

“Consider, for example, the Koran. This wretched book was sufficient to found a religion of the world, to satisfy the metaphysical need of innumerable millions of men for twelve hundred years, to become the foundation of their morality, and of no small contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and most extended conquests. We find in it the saddest and the poorest form of Theism. Much may be lost through the translations; but I have not been able to discover one single valuable thought in it.”Mohamamd and Satan

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French political thinker and historian

“I studied the Koran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world, and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion infinitely more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.”

Ernest Renan (1823-1892), a French expert of Middle Eastern ancient languages and civilizations,philosopher and writer

“Muslims are the first victims of Islam. Many times I have observed in my travels in the Orient that fanaticism comes from a small number of dangerous men who maintain the others in the practice of religion by terror. To liberate the Muslim from his religion is the best service one can render him.”

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), Anglo-French writer and historian

“Will not perhaps the temporal power of Islam return and with it the menace of an armed Mohammedan world, which will shake off the domination of Europeans – still nominally Christian – and reappear as the prime enemy of our civilization? The future always comes as a surprise, but political wisdom consists in attempting at least some partial judgment of what that surprise may be. And for my part I cannot but believe that a main unexpected thing of the future is the return of Islam.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), famous Irish playwright

In his writings, Shaw described the religion (of Islam) in a 1933 letter to Rev. Ensor Walters as “ferociously intolerant”.

“Mahomet rose up at the risk of his life and insulted the stones (that the Arabs worshipped) shockingly, declaring that there is only one God, Allah, the glorious and the great .. And there was to be no nonsense about toleration,“ Shaw wrote. “You accepted Allah or you had your throat cut by someone who did accept him, and who went to Paradise for having sent you to Hell.”

(There was) an interview between Shaw and Muslim propagandist Maulana Mohammed Abdul Aleem Siddiqui published in a Muslim periodical in January 1936. The interview took place in Mombasa, Kenya, some time between April 10 and 20, 1935

(In an) account of the conversation between Shaw and Siddiqui, published in the Tanganyika Herald of May3, 1935 .. (it) quotes him commenting on a lecture Siddiqui had given. “You spoke on Philosophy of Peace, but as a Muslim it would have been more appropriate if you had delivered a lecture on the Philosophy of War, for Islam doubtless was spread at the point of the sword,” Shaw is quoted as having said.

(The above is an extract from “Ads for Islam ‘misquote Shaw from bogus book’”, The Australian newspaper, July 9, 2013. Richard F. Dietrich, treasurer of the International Shaw Society, was quoted for the article.)

Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), the 26th President of the United States (1901–1909).

“The Greeks who triumphed at Marathon and Salamis did a work without which the world would have been deprived of the social value of Plato and Aristotle, of Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Thucydides. The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization, because the victories stretching through the centuries from the days of Miltiades and Themistocles to those of Charles Martel in the eighth century and those of John Sobieski in the seventeenth century.”

“During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier and the Polish king, the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any ‘social values’ whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence. There are such ‘social values’ today in Europe, America, and Australia only because during those thousand years the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do – that is, to beat back the Moslem invader.”

Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British Prime Minister (1940-45 and 1951-55)

[Forenote: Sir Winston Churchill has been recognized as one of the greatest men of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He was an extraordinary war leader to whom the Western World must be forever thankful. He was a prophet in his own time as this quotation, written well over 100 years ago, demonstrates.]

Churchill criticized what he alleged to be the effects Islam had on its believers, which he described as fanatical frenzy combined with fatalistic apathy, enslavement of women, and militant proselytizing.

“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, 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 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 (Islam) has vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.” (1899)

[Sir Winston, as an officer of the British Army, served in the Sudan and in the Crimean War; in both instances against the Muslims. These experiences gave him ample opportunity to observe the structure of Islamic society. Churchill’s quotes were taken from the volume: Sir Winston Churchill; “The River War”, first edition, II: 248-250, published by Longmans, Green & Company, 1899.

If Sir Winston were alive today, it is doubtful that a person in Great Britain criticizing Islam publicly could be arrested, and then fined or jailed, and even more doubtful that any Muslims would be sitting in the English Parliament!]

Philip Schaff (1819–1893), a Swiss-born, German-educated Protestant theologian and Church historian who spent most of his adult life living and teaching in the United States

“Mohammedanism conquered the fairest portions of the earth by the sword and cursed them by polygamy, slavery, despotism and desolation. The moving power of Christian missions was love to God and man; the moving power of Islam was fanaticism and brute force.”

“Islam is not a new religion. .. it is a compound or mosaic of pre-existing elements, a rude attempt to combine heathenism, Judaism and Christianity, which Mohammed found in Arabia, but in a very imperfect form.”

William Muir (1819-1905), Scottish Orientalist and colonial administrator

“Some, indeed, dream of an Islam in the future, rationalised and regenerate. All this has been tried already, and has miserably failed. The Koran has so encrusted the religion in a hard unyielding casement of ordinances and social laws, that if the shell be broken the life is gone. A rationalistic Islam would be Islam no longer. The contrast between our own faith and Islam is most remarkable. There are in our Scriptures living germs of truth, which accord with civil and religious liberty, and will expand with advancing civilisation. In Islam it is just the reverse. The Koran has no such teaching as with us has abolished polygamy, slavery, and arbitrary divorce, and has elevated woman to her proper place. As a Reformer, Mahomet did advance his people to a certain point, but as a Prophet he left them fixed immovably at that point for all time to come. The tree is of artificial planting. Instead of containing within itself the germ of growth and adaptation to the various requirements of time and clime and circumstance, expanding with the genial sunshine and rain from heaven, it remains the same forced and stunted thing as when first planted some twelve centuries ago.” (1881)

“The sword of Muhammad and the Qur’an (Koran) are the most fatal enemies of civilization, truth, and liberty which the world has yet known.” (c. 1903)

G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton (1874-1936), English writer

“Islam was a product of Christianity; even if it was a by-product; even if it was a bad product. It was a heresy or parody emulating and therefore imitating the Church…Islam, historically speaking, is the greatest of the Eastern heresies. It owed something to the quite isolated and unique individuality of Israel; but it owed more to Byzantium and the theological enthusiasm of Christendom. It owed something even to the Crusades.”

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