Sunday 8 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday: Honour Our Muslim Soldiers

Inayat Bunglawala has written a timely article in the Guardian (Thursday 5 November 2009) about the sacrifice Muslim's made in the two world wars:

"Inscribed in marble at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium, are the names of 54,896 soldiers of Britain and the Commonwealth who died in the Ypres Salient in the first world war and whose graves are unknown. The German army had surrounded Ypres on three sides and subjected it to bombardment throughout much of the war as it stood in the path of its plans to occupy the rest of Belgium. Among the dead recorded at the Menin Gate Memorial are Muhammad Aslam, Abdullah Khan, Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Usman and many others with recognisably Muslim names.

Of the 1.3 million Indians who constituted the volunteer force during the first world war, approximately 400,000 were Muslims. [Major Gordon] Corrigan says:

The Punjabi Musselman [Muslim] was regarded as the backbone of the old Indian army, and constituted about a third of the British Indian army. Known for their reliability, they were steady men who could be depended on to carry out any task at hand.

Still, it is to be hoped that knowing a bit more about Muslim contributions to Britain's past war efforts and how even in those times the authorities were aware of the importance of catering for the religious needs of their soldiers can also help us today when any minor accommodation to religious belief seems to be met with howls of outrage from some quarters."

You can read the full article here.

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