Remembrance: Meet the Muslims who played their part

Noor Inayat Khan

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As everyone is remembering our fallen soldiers this Sunday, we thought we’d show you some pretty epic heroes that we bet you haven’t heard of – and who just happen to be Muslim as well!

Did you know that Muslim troops played a huge role during both World Wars, and it was their amazing sacrifice that helped lead to Britain’s victory?

Almost one and half million soldiers from India took part in the first world war, 400,000 of whom were Muslims. They fought in the trenches on the Western Front and their role was vital in strengthening British presence where Germans had previously made great advances.

In the second world war, 2.5 million men and women from the Indian army fought for Britain, a third of whom were Muslim.

Brave teens played their part too, including three 15 year olds who died in combat in Italy. They were Amir Khan from Attock, Gulab Khan from Rawalpindi, and Mian Khan from Kohat.

Muslim women also played their part amid dangerous and terrifying situations. One of the most fascinating stories is that of Noor Inayat Khan, a child psychologist and children’s book author who volunteered as a radio operator during the Second World War. Influenced by her Sufi Muslim background and her deep spirituality, Khan believed in offering her life for the greater good.

Khan was recruited into Churchill’s covert Special Operations Executive, a significant and extremely risky position at the time. She was parachuted into France in 1943 to help send messages from the French resistance to London.

While on the run, Khan, unaided, arranged the rescue of downed British and American pilots, and helped save countless Jewish lives. She was eventually caught by the Germans and executed a year later.

For her extraordinary bravery and sacrifice, Khan has received the highest honours for civilian service in war from both Britain and France.

Noor Inayat Khan’s story is just one of many that tell of the absolute courage and dedication that brought together different communities and faiths in the effort to protect Britain – something we should remember when we pay our respects this week.

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