If you are an avid supporter of a Anti Islamic group like the EDL or believe hate proper-gander from far right political parties like the BNP. You may be asking what have British Muslim Pakistanis done for Britain and the British people. Some May even say that Islam has no place in British society as it conflicts with social fabric this country is built.
Well here is a brief and compressed History lesson, and I will start with a Pakistani Muslim whom influenced one of Britain’s greatest monarchs Elizabeth the First, Queen of England.
Akbar the great One of India’s Greatest Mughal Emperors and father of the immortalised Shah Jahan. OK you may say he was not Pakistani. But he was from the land which today is now Pakistan and was a Muslim. What has Akbar got to do with Britain, well he was an inspiration to Queen Elizabeth and the cultural implications of the British officials sent to his court had effects in Britain. Some scholars may even say influenced social laws. Akbar formed probably the first multi religious council that discussed religious issues and tolerance.
Akbar wrote, As most men are fettered by bonds of tradition, and by imitating ways followed by their fathers… everyone continues, without investigating their arguments and reasons, to follow the religion in which he was born and educated, thus excluding himself from the possibility of ascertaining the truth, which is the noblest aim of the human intellect. Therefore we associate at convenient seasons with learned men of all religions, thus deriving profit from their exquisite discourses and exalted aspirations.“
Akbar wrote these words aimed at Philip II because of the Spanish catholic actions to Protestant Christians in Spanish controlled areas, The church of England being protestant and a young religion at that time needed support by world leaders. Queen Elizabeth considered Islam to be closer religiously to the protestant faith than Catholicism.
A Few random Facts.
- The 8th century Anglo-Saxon King Offa had a Islamic Inscription on his coin, Offa was King of Essex and Mercia.
- Muslims community’s have been settled in the UK as early as 1627.
- The first purpose-built mosque was constructed in Woking in 1889.
British Indian Muslims have their history embedded in The British armed forces fighting in many conflicts across the world through out Imperial british history. The most notable conflicts being World War one and two. During those periods there was a huge drop in both Hindu and Sikh persons joining the British Indian army and a rise in Muslim Indians volunteers. Punjabi Muslims made up a huge three percent of the British armed forces and during WW2 the British army had 2.5 million volunteers from the Indian sub continent. (Punjabi Muslims being the majority in Pakistan today). We have to remember these troops fighting in two wars were volunteers not conscripts like in Britain. They fought for the freedom, democracy and rights of UK citizens when they was denied this by British rule in India. According to the British commonwealth graves commission 87.000 Indian troops died in world war 2. Out of 122 deaths of Indian troops under the age of 18 in Italy, 90 was Muslim boys whom was only 15 years old.
There was a total of 383.800 British military deaths in World war 2 this includes Indian persons serving in the British Indian army. So statistics show 87.000 of the 383.000 were Indian.
Congress in India declared WW2 was not their fight the Indian Muslim league responded declaring it was the their fight giving support for Britain fighting against fascism by 1945 British forces totaled 650,000 Muslim Indians.
Other Muslim activity during world 2 includes the 350.000 north African Muslims in the French army fighting the Germans invasion of France, 2.000 Jewish refugees was hidden in the Paris central mosque and given fake Muslim identities.
I could go on forever about Muslim Indian persons serving in two world wars with facts and figures gained from varies sources, scholars and historians, but I simply don’t have the time.
But I would not forgive myself if I didn’t mention Noor Inyat Khan daughter of the famous Sufi teacher and musician Hazrat Inayat Khan and the Great great-granddaughter of Tipu Sultan a 18th century ruler of Mysore.
Noor was executed by Nazis after 10 months of interrogation after being deployed in France as a wireless operator. Her last words are reputed to be, before being shot by the Gestapo at Dachau concentration camp were, “Libirte”. Noor Inyat Khan Never revealed any information, she was awarded both the George cross and Croix de Guerre.
The information Noor gathered, her contribution to was crucial to intelligence operations in Nazi occupied France during world war two and her deeds must not be forgotten.
We must never forget both Indian and Pakistanis of all religions have contributed both culturally and laid down there lives as volunteers for the freedom of all in the UK and Europe. So please be mindful to the fact before you feel the need to say that Islam has no place in our nation.