Sunday, October 27, 2013

Forgotten Heroes - Remembering the Muslim sacrifice in the battle against tyranny

On Thursday I casually retweeted an interesting looking tweet from Rokeby School about "Remembering the sacrifice of Muslim soldiers, who gave their lives and their limbs in the name of duty"

Today I had a closer look at the tweet and its link to this article and video.

I would recommend that all EDL and UKIP supporters should read about the sacrifice of Muslim soldiers in the first and second world war, who fought and gave their lives to save Britain from tyranny and for their King.

Some highlights:-

"Visit the Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium and you will see these and numerous other obviously Muslim names on the memorial that is dedicated to the commemoration of soldiers killed in the Ypres Salient of the First World War, whose resting places are unknown. It is a large Hall of Memory, honouring 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers who could not be buried, their names cut into vast panels.

"The marble in Ypres that bear these names will endure, but they remain cold and silent. As a country – and as Muslims in particular – we have failed to honour the memory of those who fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy today. The memorial in Ypres testifies to the service of Muslim soldiers but we, their descendants and their debtors, have neglected to remember the scope of their sacrifice"

"Military historian Major Gordon Corrigan says the role of the British Indian Army was vital to the war effort; had they not helped fortify the front line during the First World War the Germans might well have broken through and made it to the ports on the English Channel. “The Punjabi Musselman 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.”

"From the trenches "In May 1915 Subadar Muhammad Agia of the 57th Rifles wrote, “It is just like the grinding of corn in a mill; there is no counting the number of lives lost. Not a single British or native officer of the old regiment is left, and not one sepoy.”

"British officers who led Indian regiments immersed themselves in the culture of India; learning to speak the same language, even eating the same food as the men they were leading. Major Corrigan explains, “The reason the British were better at running armies not of their race was because of the accommodations they made; unlike the French who would make recruits learn their language, the British Officer was expected to learn the language of his men. Urdu was the official language of the Indian Army at the time but they also had to learn regional dialects and have specialist knowledge of the religious needs of their men.”

"Stationed in France at the time of Eid in July 1917, Abdul Ali Khan wrote, “All of the Muslims of the Division had their prayers together and the assembly was close to our regiment. We, as far as possible, gave them food and tea. About 1,500 men assembled and prayers were offered for the victory of our King.”

"so important was the Muslim contribution in both World Wars that Churchill himself wrote, “We must not on any account break with the Muslims who represent 100 million people and the main army elements which we must rely on for the immediate fighting.”

"Field Marshall Sir Claude Auchinleck, a British army commander during World War II, “Britain couldn’t have come through both wars if they hadn’t the Indian army.”

"there was also the Palestine Regiment; and in World War II Arabs and Jews fought together under the British flag against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy".

"World Wars I and II connect every family in Britain. “If more was known about the contribution of so many Muslim soldiers of the British Indian Army, it might help to restore a sense of pride, and cement the social bonds of different communities in British society,” Jahan suggests. “This would turn the idea of a shared heritage into a meaningful weapon against prejudice.”

"The recognition of a shared past has the potential to give us a sense of a shared future; a future not marred by war, but rather one of contributing to the common good. That is why this Remembrance Day we must honour all those who died, including the Muslims who gave their lives for the freedom of this country".

...and so say I. Last Remembrance Day I went to Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium and you could clearly see the names on the monument of the many Muslim, Sikh and Hindu soldiers who died in Flanders fields.

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