February 11, 2016

One of Winston Churchill’s first books was titled The River War, which he published in 1899. The book documented his experiences as a young Lieutenant when he was, with the help of his influential mother, able secure a British Army commission with General Gordon in Khartoum, Sudan.

The leader of the ‘dervishes’ that were defeated in the 1896–1899 conflict was The Mahdi—Mohammed Ahmed ibn Abdallah—who led a jihadist uprising by the Ansar, as the Mahdi’s followers were known, against Turco-Egyptian rule in Sudan at the end of the 19th century.

At the annual International Churchill Conference held outside London in 2015, The Mahdi’s grandson and current Mahdi, Imam Ahmed Abdel Rahman El Mahdi spoke passionately to the assembled group.

You can read a transcript of his remarks here. You can also watch his presentation below, along with the Q&A session that followed.

Palace of Westminster, London

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