Despite children and adults from different faiths and ehtnic backgrounds having come together on Remembrance Sunday to pay poppy wreaths all over the country, just 22% of people know that thousands of Muslim soldiers fought for Britain in the first world war.
As part of 'Remember Together', a new initiative from integration think-tank British Future in partnership with The Royal British Legion, countless members of ethnic minority communities paid tribute as part of Remembrance, with the armies that fought for Britain from 1914-1918 including soldiers from across the Commonwealth, including over a million Indian soldiers, 400,000 of them Muslims from present-day Pakistan.
Aiming to bring people from different backgrounds together to learn about the WW1 contribution from soldiers of different ethnic and faith backgrounds and to mark Remembrance as one, Remember Together hopes to continue the trend which has seen more people become aware of the multi-ethnic nature of Britain's forces, with 68% of the public now aware of the service of Indian soldiers and 77% agreeing that teaching this shared history would be good for integration in Britain today.
“Only 22% of people know that thousands of Muslim soldiers fought for Britain," said Major Naveed Muhammad MBE, Chairman of the Armed Forces Muslim Association. "Communities from Commonwealth countries across the globe showed selfless commitment towards Britain and countless of these made the ultimate sacrifice in service of others.
"As a Muslim serving in the British Army today, I am acutely aware of the sacrifice my community made in our nation’s darkest hours," Major Muhammad MBE added. "Almost one million Muslim men volunteered to fight alongside their Hindu, Sikh, Christian, and Jewish brothers."
"The Indian Expeditionary Force of over 1.5 million servicemen included approximately 400,000 Muslims who worked together with Sikhs and Hindus in a concerted effort to help secure freedom and peace in Europe and across the world.
"I’m pleased our Prime Minister plans to wear a Khadi poppy, made of traditional hand-spun cotton cloth, and specially created by the Royal British Legion this year to thank these soldiers," he continued. "I honour this legacy and urge all communities, regardless of faith, to unite as our nation’s heroes did over one hundred years ago and recognise their service.”