A group of Muslim women in partnership with the Armed Forces Muslim Association (AFMA) attended a memorial event on Saturday 3rd July at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire.
The event was also attended by the Support Our Soldiers charity and the family of Jabron Hashmi, the first British Muslim serviceman to be killed in action in Afghanistan. There was a service and ceremony marked by the laying of wreaths at the main Armed Forces Memorial to commemorate all those who have fallen since World War 1.
Kalsoom Bashir, Tahmina Saleem and Sara Khan of Inspire took part in the wreath laying ceremony to pay their respects to those who have laid down their lives for our country and to show solidarity with the families and communities affected by those losses.
Kalsoom Bashir, said: “We are here as ordinary members of the community. We have come together as women to show our respect for those young men and women that have died serving our country. We want to show that the grief of a mother losing her son is shared, and that the loyalty of those who have been lost is remembered. There have been other organisations – that represent nobody – who have tried to hijack the message from UK Muslim communities. We are here to claim it back. There was a strong feeling of disgust in the Muslim communities that anyone would try to exploit the grief of families at Wootton Bassett. We thought that this was an appropriate way to show our respects. We are very grateful to AFMA for joining us.”
Group Captain Zahur Ulhaq from AFMA said: “There is a strong history of Muslims playing an integrated role in the UK armed forces. It is important to recognise the contribution that these communities have made, and continue to make, to the security and defence of the UK.”
AFMA has been established to represent the interests of the many Muslims currently serving in the UK armed forces, as well as building bridges with the wider public. They were proud to support this event, which was arranged at the request of the community representatives who attended.
- Kalsoom Bashir speaks at the National Memorial Arboretum
- Group Captain Zahur ul Haq speaks at the National Memorial Arboretum
- Zubeida Malik of R4’s Today programme interview with Tahmina Saleem, one of the women who attended the commemoration:http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8779000/8779063.stm
- BBC News piece on Muslim women who laid wreaths at the National Memorial Arboretum on 3 July 2010:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10498482
- Armed Forces Muslim Association http://www.afma.org.uk