Perhaps one of the readers here already knew this, but I was unaware of the origins of the term. I had read some of the Iranian dissident blogs, and had thought it was attributed to the regime change proponents of Iran.
Was I ever wrong!
The term began long before the revolution in Iran. In fact, it began in the 19th century, by a young journalist from Britain, of royal heritage on his father’s side, and an American mother.
Have you guessed who this person is?
Here are a few more clues. He won a Nobel prize for literature in 1953, and was voted the greatest Briton of all time, in a 2002 BBC poll.
Does that help?
It was Winston Churchill, of course, and in his book “The Story of the Malakand Field Force,” he first used the phrase.
In this book, when describing a local imam, Churchill coined the term “Mad Mullah”. Speaking of the Pathan and Beluchi tribesmen of the border regions, he noted with some sarcasm that “the Mullah will raise his voice and remind them of other days when the sons of the prophet drove the infidel from the plains of India, and ruled at Delhi, as wide an Empire as the Kafir holds to-day: when the true religion strode proudly through the earth and scorned to lie hidden and neglected among the hills: when mighty princes ruled in Bagdad, and all men knew that there was one God, and Mahomet was His prophet. And the young men hearing these things will grip their Martinis*, and pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some Sahib (prince) – best prize of all – across their line of sight at seven hundred yards so that, at least, they may strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam.”
My, how little things have changed with islam, in the last one hundred ten years.
The rest of the excellent article that I gleaned this info from, can be found here.
You know the drill…read it all!
*-The Martini is a rifle, not a cocktail.