Last week, Senior Reform Rabbi, Laura James-Klausner join calls for more recognition of Muslim contribution to the British war effort in World War 1.
In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph, which was written by the Rabbi as well as other faith leaders including Bishops, Imams and Hindu leaders, the multicultural composition of the army was highlighted with extra emphasis shone on putting all “differences and divisions aside” to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. In the letter they wrote, “British troops fought alongside soldiers of different colours and creeds from across the Commonwealth, including some 1.5 million Indian soldiers, 400,000 of them Muslims from present-day Pakistan, yet only a minority knows that thousands of Muslim soldiers fought for Britain.”These Muslims came from all areas of the world, including India, Egypt, Russia, Tunisia and America, to name a few and their contribution to the war cannot be underestimated with Luc Ferrier, the founder of the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation, stating that without the contribution of Muslim troops and labourer’s the Allies would have lost the war.
The letter goes on to jointly back the “Remember Together” initiative, which launched last week with the faith leaders stressing that respect is now more important than ever as the centenary “comes at a time when Britain’s society can feel more fragmented and anxious than any of us would want”.
The aim of the “Remember Together” initiative is to unite people from different faiths and ethnic backgrounds to mark the armistice centenary. Remember Together view this shared history of service and contribution as something all can commemorate in Britain, no matter what their politics, ethnicity or faith.
Alongside the faith leaders’ other signatories of the letter to the Sunday Times include both past and present military leaders. In the letter they draw special attention to soldiers such as Khudadad Khan, as Muslim from modern-day Pakistan, who in 1914 became the first Indian soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery.
Armistice Day marked an important day to remember everyone from the First World War generation no matter where they are from and we think that Rabbi Laura James-Klausner summed this up perfectly saying, “The bullets on the battlefields of World War One did not discriminate between Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews and others. One hundred years later, we honour those who fought together by remembering them together.”