Remona Aly
Friday 22 August 2014 Things Unseen

Britain’s Forgotten Muslim Heroes

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Britain’s Forgotten Muslim Heroes

Despite the large number of events marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, few people know about the 400,000 Muslim soldiers from undivided India – present-day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – who fought and died alongside British troops.

For Muslims themselves, it is a war which from a present-day perspective raises difficult questions, as their ancestors helped vanquish the Muslim superpower of the time, the Ottoman empire.

Remona Aly speaks to Muslims serving in the British Forces today – including Imam Asim Hafiz, their first Muslim chaplain – to find out what that historical legacy means to them.

At the Living Islam Festival, she meets military historian Jahan Mahmood, who discusses the sacrifices made by Muslim soldiers for Empire and King in a war that was effectively not their own, and the integral role faith played on the battlefield.

He also highlights the importance of these little-known narratives in terms of countering anti-Muslim prejudices and strengthening Muslim ties with the rest of British society.