Muslims in WW1
As part of our Behind Blue Walls series, we want to highlight the work of Luc Ferrier and his association with Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation. Luc has recently created a beautiful coffee table book entitled ‘The Unknown Fallen’, which illustrates the contribution made by Muslim soldiers and labourers during World War I – a contribution that is otherwise largely ignored and forgotten. In an effort to demonstrate that ‘Islam’ and ‘The West’ are not so different and that we share more common history than many of us know, Luc has recently published this highly informative book whilst the Foundation continues to educate and organise battlefield tours to highlight just how Muslims did not just support the Allied Forces – they were an integral part of the war effort.
Our shared history
Bigotry and intolerance are born from fear of the unknown and perceived differences in others. There is a rise in Far Right extremism that is equal to the rise in Islamic extremism; both are dangerous and both are fed by those who would tell us that differences in creed, culture or even colour are worth killing and dying for. We have been here before, of course – there have been many times in history when the same pattern of behaviour can be seen, from the Crusades to the rise of the Third Reich. We don’t seem to learn that humans have far more things in common than we have differences that set us apart.
Yet there are those who try to demonstrate our commonalities in an effort to unify rather than divide. One such group is the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation, which has tirelessly researched the contributions made during World War I made by Muslims from all over the world in support of the allied forces. The dates in the Foundation’s name relate to the 1914-18 World War and the subsequent year of battles in the Middle East.
The Unknown Fallen
At our Safestore branch in Fulham
, we recently helped to store a large number of copies of 'The Unknown Fallen'. This coffee table book brings together a wealth of research on the contributions made by more than 2,500.000 Muslim soldiers and labourers during The Great War. The book is part of the growing documented evidence of the history shared by Islamic and European countries during that turbulent time – so much history relating to that period focuses on the sacrifices and bravery of the soldiers from across the world, yet those of Muslims has been largely overlooked. This need to demonstrate the intertwining of our histories is at the heart of the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation and the book “The Unknown Fallen.”
A shared history can give us a shared future
The Foundation has organised battlefield tours aimed at highlighting the large number of deaths-in-service sustained by Muslim soldiers and talks are given about how the teachings of the Qur’an helped Muslim soldiers to treat German PoWs with respect and decency. Halal food was served in the trenches and accommodations were made so that Muslim soldiers and labourers could pray. Muslims fought against oppression and died for a free Europe. These insights are linked with thought-provoking photographs and quotes that have been compiled with assiduous care by Luc, who wants to fill in an often overlooked element of World War I history.
By presenting the information in a highly visual and engaging manner, he hopes that it will appeal to everyone, particularly teenagers and young people in whom he hopes knowledge of a shared history will lead to a more open and trusting attitude towards others and acceptance of people of the Muslim faith not as a recent ‘interloper’ but as an integral (and positive) part of European history. We are pleased to be able to highlight and promote this important work.
The Unknown Fallen: The Global Allied Muslim contribution in the First World War. Volume 1. Pp112. HB. Forgotten Heroes Foundation. £49.50 available online https://www.unknownfallen.com/
The foundation has launched a campaign to convince businessmen to buy as many as possible books and donate them to the school of their choice. There is a huge demand from Headteachers to give this book to their students, but no budget available. So please help them! Contact the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org