Sam Levin | Riverfront Times | Thursday, May 2, 2013

Missouri State Representative Rick Stream fired off a bizarre e-mail to his House GOP colleagues this week that discusses the dangers of Islam...citing an 1899 quote from former British prime minister Winston Churchill.

"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," writes Stream, quoting Churchill in a widely distributed e-mail that was forwarded to Daily RFT by way of a displeased recipient. "No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith."

And what exactly does this have to do with the Missouri legislature?

It's not all that clear.

We reached out yesterday to Stream, a Republican from Kirkwood and chairman of the budget committee, and have not yet heard back. We'll update if we do.

 It appears that the e-mail was sent out from at 11:21 p.m. on Tuesday night to an e-mail listserve that includes Republican representatives and possibly other staff in the Missouri House. Not everyone was pleased.

The e-mail, full version on view below, offers some praise for Churchill and explains that the quote comes from 1899 when he was a soldier and journalist. Stream praises him as a "great war whom the Western world must be forever in debt." The selection he cites come from a piece of Churchill's writing called the River War.

Read the full e-mail

“Leave the past to history especially as I propose to write that history myself.”

Winston S. Churchill