BRITISH leader Winston Churchill was once begged to not convert to Islam, a recently unearthed family letter shows. The letter appears to counter claims the World War II leader was anti-Islamic, according to the academic who found the correspondence.
“Please don’t become converted to Islam; I have noticed in your disposition a tendency to orientalism,” wrote Lady Gwendeline Bertie in a letter dated Aug. 27, 1907, according to A. Warren Dockter, a research fellow at Cambridge University. “So if you come in contact with Islam, your conversion might be effected with greater ease than you might have supposed,” added the woman who would become the future prime minister’s sister-in-law.
In a letter to Lady Lytton in the same year Churchill wrote: “You will think me a pasha [rank of distinction in the Ottoman Empire]. I wish I were.”
Churchill’s fascination led him and his close friend Wilfrid S. Blunt, the poet and radical supporter of Muslim causes, to dressing in Arab clothes in private while in each other’s company.