Sunday Levity: 1895—A plot to illuminate the new world

Or The “Story of a Mussulman Propaganda That Came to Grief”

Here’s the New York Times’ report from December 1895, on the Nawab of Basoda’s trip to the United States to find out what became of his money.

The Nawab of Basoda, ruling Prince of India who left us last week, after looking us over for a month or so with the purpose of putting us in a book, returns to his principality with a sore trouble oppressing his heart. He did not see Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb, and he looked in vain for evidences of the fruit of the “American Propaganda of Islam,” of which Mr Webb is the prophet.

The Nawab is one of the most faithful of the faithful, and one of his objects in visiting America was to see for himself the progress of the Mohammedan mission work inaugurated some three years ago with such a blast of trumpets and flare of cymbals by Mr Webb, who was formerly United States Consul at Manila in the Philippine Islands. Incidentally, too, the Nawab came to find what had become of 40,000 to 50,000 pounds of good Indian money which the Nawab declares was given into the keeping of Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb to supply oil for the light of Islam that was to illuminate the new world and convert its people. [NYT Archive/PDF]

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