Former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a war criminal for sanctioning the bombings of Dresden and Hamburg during World War II, an Islamic scholar has claimed during a heated debate over the proportionality of Israel’s response to the Hamas terrorist attack last month.
Mohammed Hijab made the accusation against Britain’s war-time leader during a fiery clash with U.S. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach moderated by Piers Morgan on Talk TV on Thursday evening.
“Churchill was wrong. Yes, he was. Yes, he was. Churchill was a war criminal,” Hijab claimed, citing the Allied carpet bombing of Dresden and Hamburg as a form of collective punishment against German citizens during the Third Reich.
An estimated 25,000 civilians were killed in the three-day bombing of Dresden in February 1945. Dresden served as a major hub for Nazi Germany’s rail and road network; however, the entire city was leveled to the ground, which some historians claim was revenge for the Luftewaffe’s devastating attacks on the English city of Coventry.
When pressed by Morgan on his view that Churchill, who the host described as “standing up to the Nazis who killed 12 million people,” was a war criminal, Hijab replied: “Retaliate to the man, not the babies.”
Hijab was then asked to name a major conflict in modern history during which civilians had not been killed to which he claimed it wasn’t about civilians being killed “but the ratio.”
The Islamic scholar, however, admitted he didn’t know how many civilians had been killed during the Dresden bombing nor how many civilians were murdered by the Nazis, leading Morgan to suggest he didn’t know what he was talking about.
“You call Winston Churchill a war criminal based on ratios, but you don’t even know what they are,” the host told his guest.
“Whatever the number, I’m against it,” he replied.
Rabbi Shmuley proceeded to offer a staunch defense of Churchill describing him as “the greatest statesman of the 20th Century. He saved the world from Nazi terror.
“That you can live in a country that is only around today because of that man showing no gratitude is the height of… to call all the British people who defeated the Nazis war criminals is wrong,” he added.
Hijab is not averse to controversy, having previously been involved in anti-Jewish demonstrations in London and giving a speech in Leicester denouncing Hindus following cultural clashes with Muslims in the city.
“They believe in reincarnation, what a humiliation and pathetic thing for them to be reincarnated into,” Hijab said about Hindus involved in the civil unrest. “Some pathetic, weak, cowardly people like that. I’d rather be an animal, I’d rather be reincarnated as a grasshopper bruv, that’s the truth.”
Hijab is an influential figure within Britain’s Islamic community and has a YouTube channel with 1.1 million subscribers.