Rep. Rick Stream Defends Anti-Islam E-Mail, Says Not His Words, But Is "Interesting"
Last week, we wrote about the bizarre e-mail that State Representative Rick Stream sent out to his GOP colleagues in the Missouri House that included a lengthy quote from Winston Churchill about the dangers of Islam. That 1899 quote said, "Individual Muslims 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."
via Rep. Rick Stream.
KTVI (Channel 2)'s Charles Jaco has since picked up on our story with coverage that seems to have pressured Stream's office to address the e-mail. When we inquired about it last week, his office did not respond to multiple inquiries.
But yesterday, just before the KTVI story aired, Daily RFT did receive a copy of Stream's statement.
The e-mail, he says, does not contain his words, and he's not necessarily endorsing it. But he does find it interesting.
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First, here's Jaco's report from last night (during which, by the way, he actually shows up at Stream's office looking for comment).
And here is the full statement from Stream, a Kirkwood representative and chairman of the budget committee:
The email I sent to my colleagues on April 30 contained no content written by me, but was instead one of many I forward to my colleagues each night. The message contained commentary from one of our world's most well-known and well-respected political figures, Winston Churchill. My forwarding of the email does not in any way represent an endorsement of its content. Instead, it was simply a message that was passed along to me that I found interesting given the historic and important nature of the man who authored it, and the relevance of the message in relation to current day discussions.
For context, here's an excerpt of the Churchill quote in question (Stream's full e-mail is below):
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 had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.
As we mentioned in our original report on his e-mail -- which came by way of an offended recipient on the House e-mail listserve -- it does appear that the quote and some of the text introducing the quote has appeared in other places before and had recently resurfaced on some websites over the last few weeks.
via Rick Stream.
A prominent Churchill expert confirmed the validity of the quote, but told us, "All sorts of people have used these quotations to infer all sorts of things about modern situations. In the generic sense there is an application, but I would caution that these words were written over a century ago."
Continue for a full copy of the original e-mail Stream fired off to his colleagues.