A new charity launched to recognise the sacrifices made by Muslims who fought in the British military in the past century is aiming to erect war memorials to commemorate their contributions.
The National Muslim War Memorial Trust (NMWMT) said it also wants to educate both students and adults about the role of Muslims in the Armed Forces, to dispel misconceptions and help create good relations between different people and communities.
The organisation’s chair, the Conservative peer Lord Sheikh, said the “heroic contribution” of Muslims in the British Armed Forces during both World Wars has been “undervalued”.
He said: “One of the key reasons we have set up the charity is to combat Islamophobia, and people should realise the sacrifices Muslims made to keep the Union Jack flying.”
He said those associated with the trust “very much hope to draw attention to and get more public recognition for the sacrifices made by Muslim personnel in the British Armed Forces”.
He added: “The War Graves Commission report illustrates how long overdue this is.”
An investigation published this week found the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) did not properly commemorate potentially hundreds of thousands of black and Asian service personnel who died fighting for the British Empire.
The NMWMT said the first memorial it will be involved in erecting will be at a location in London which is yet to be agreed.
So far, £29,000 of a £2 million target has been raised to erect a permanent memorial, the trust’s website shows.
According to the trust there were at least 400,000 Muslims fighting in the British Indian Army during the First World War, and this had grown to around one million by the time of the Second World War.