Call for na­tional memo­rial in city for fallen Mus­lim sol­diers Coun­cil­lor says mon­u­ment should re­flect sac­ri­fice of Com­mon­wealth ser­vice­men

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Carl Jack­son Coun­cil Cor­re­spon­dent

ACOUNCILLOR has called for a na­tional memo­rial in Birm­ing­ham recog­nis­ing Mus­lim sol­diers who died in the first and sec­ond World Wars whilst serv­ing with the Bri­tish Army.

Cllr Ma­jid Mah­mood (Lab, Hodge Hill) stated the Sec­ond City is the ‘ideal’ lo­ca­tion for such a mon­u­ment, ar­gu­ing that it is home to rel­a­tives of Mus­lims who lost their lives in the con­flicts.

In do­ing so he pointed to the heroic ser­vices of Khu­dadad Khan, who re­ceived the Vic­to­ria Cross, and Noor Inayat Khan, who earned the Ge­orge Cross.

It is es­ti­mated more than 3.5 mil­lion sol­diers from Asia fought for the Al­lies in the two wars, in­clud­ing 400,000 Mus­lims in the First World War and 600,000 in the Sec­ond World War. Tens of thou­sands were killed.

Cllr Mah­mood made the call for a memo­rial in Birm­ing­ham as the city coun­cil backed a mon­u­ment to be in­stalled at Can­non Hill Park to vic­tims of the 2015 Tu­nisia ter­ror at­tacks in Sousse and the Bardo Mu­seum, which is to be funded by the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice.

He said: “I know there is some fund­ing for a Sikh memo­rial in Lon­don but there is noth­ing for Mus­lims in the coun­try and I think it is time we started a cam­paign. It is es­ti­mated 60,000 Mus­lims died whilst fight­ing for the Bri­tish Army [in the First and Sec­ond World War].

“Peo­ple for­get the roots of Mus­lims, where we have come from and where we have come to.

“The For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice are con­tribut­ing to­wards a memo­rial for the vic­tims of the Tu­nisia at­tacks.

“None of the vic­tims are from Birm­ing­ham but it has been cho­sen be­cause the lo­ca­tion is cen­tral.

“But we have got peo­ple in Bir- ming­ham who have im­me­di­ate fam­ily who were killed fight­ing for the Bri­tish Army who were Mus­lim, but there is noth­ing in the coun­try to recog­nise it.

“This is the ideal place for a memo­rial.”

Khu­dadad Khan, a Se­poy of the 129th Duke of Con­naught’s Own Baluchis, was com­mended for his ac­tions dur-

It is es­ti­mated 60,000 Mus­lims died whilst fight­ing for the Bri­tish Army

ing the bat­tle of Ypres, in Bel­gium, on Oc­to­ber 31, 1914. The Baluchis were mas­sively over­whelmed by the Ger­man at­tack but Khan, who was the only one left of his ma­chine gun team, man­aged to halt their ad­vance un­til re­in­force­ments ar­rived. He be­came the first In­dian soldier to be awarded the Vic­to­ria Cross.

Noor Inayat Khan served with the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Ex­ec­u­tive and was the first fe­male ra­dio op­er­a­tor to be flown into oc­cu­pied France dur­ing the Sec­ond World War where she con­tin­ued send­ing mes­sages back to Lon­don whilst avoid­ing cap­ture.

She was ul­ti­mately be­trayed and ar­rested by the Gestapo but re­fused to give up in­tel­li­gence un­der in­ter­ro­ga­tion.

Khan was ex­e­cuted at Dachau con­cen­tra­tion camp and posthu­mously awarded the Ge­orge Cross, the high­est dec­o­ra­tion avail­able to a civil­ian.

Cllr Ma­jid Mah­mood

> In­dian troops at bayonet ex­er­cise. Right: Cllr Ma­jid Mah­mood

> Khu­dadad Khan, VC

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