UK

New Charity Aims To Erect War Memorials To Recognise Muslim Military Contribution

The National Muslim War Memorial Trust (NMWMT) said it also wants to educate on the role of Muslims in the military.

A new charity aims to erect war memorials to recognise the sacrifices made by Muslims who fought in the British military over the last century.

The National Muslim War Memorial Trust (NMWMT) said it wants to educate students and adults on the role of Muslims in the Armed Forces and dispel misconceptions.

According to the trust, there were at least 400,000 Muslims fighting in the British Indian Army during the First World War, growing to roughly one million by the Second World War.

Conservative peer Lord Sheikh, the organisation's chair, said the "heroic contribution" of Muslims in the British military during both World Wars has been "undervalued".

"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.

A recent investigation found the Commonwealth War Graves Commission did not properly commemorate hundreds of thousands of black and Asian service personnel.

He added that those associated with the NMWMT "very much hope to draw attention to and get more public recognition for the sacrifices made by Muslim personnel in the British Armed Forces".

It comes after an investigation, published this week, found the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) did not properly commemorate hundreds of thousands of black and Asian service personnel who died fighting for the British Empire. 

"The War Graves Commission report illustrates how long overdue this is," Lord Sheikh said.

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 £2m target has been raised to erect a permanent memorial, the trust's website shows.