They are the forgotten heroes, the brave men who gave their lives to the Empire but whose names have been erased from the history books.
Did you know that more than 400,000 Muslim soldiers fought in World War One? Yes, there were more than 400,000 soldiers who actually sacrificed their lives and we don’t even remember them.
A recent survey by British Future, a think-tank devoted to ethnic incorporation, has revealed that only 22% of people know of their sacrifice, and only 2% people are aware of the scale of that sacrifice.
Now British Future project coordinator; Avaes Mohammed is managing a system to educate Birmingham children about the part Muslims from India played in the Great War.
Avaes, who got support from Birmingham historian Jahan Mahmood, is giving history lessons to a Muslim group from Lozells and a group of non-Muslims from King standing.
The youngsters will then interview children of soldiers who fought in the war.
The project is one of four across the country that makes up “An Unknown and Untold Story – The Muslim Contribution to the First World War”.
“Almost one-and-a-half million men from India took part in the war,” says Avaes. “That is more than all the other Empire countries put together.”
Avaes further stated, “They fought on the Western Front, in the trenches, when the Germans were making great advances and they were instrumental in solidifying the British force. We should not forget their contribution, because remembering it is so important to our contemporaries.”
At the eruption of war, the Indian army was 1.3 million powerful, with the ranks including 100,000 Sikhs and 800,000 Hindu troops.
In a burdened climate of war and quarrel in the Middle East and the rise of terror in all its forms, millions of Muslim around the world are forced to give good reason for their shared humanity and principles with the rest of the human race. It is important that we highlight the role played by almost half a million Muslims in Britain’s First World War. The 400,000 Muslim soldiers is a story that should be celebrated and documented by Western historians. The role of Muslims in the war effort has yet to be recognized or talked about as part of our conventional shared history and humanity.