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Why I support the National Muslim War Memorial Trust

Commemorating Muslims who served in Britain's Armed Forces and telling their stories will bring people closer together.

Summary

Posted 8 May 2021

I was born only five years after the end of World War II.

Growing up in Manchester in the 1950s and 1960s, much of what I saw on television was about World War I, the run-up to World War II and the war itself, both documentaries and movies.

I also read quite a lot about the war, most notably 4½ volumes
of Winston Churchill’s six volume history of World War II, and Basil Liddell Hart’s military histories of both wars.

Despite all this reading and television watching, I was oblivious to the major contribution African and Asian servicemen made in both World Wars. I first learned about it the age of 58 when I was part of the Muslim Council of Britain and the MCB produced the short booklet “Remembering the Brave: The Muslim contribution to
Britain’s Armed Forces”.

I have learned more since then and was particularly impressed by the book reviewed on my page “Review of ‘The Unknown Fallen: The Global Allied Muslim Contribution in the First World War – Volume 1’ edited by Dr Anne Samson”.

Knowing about the Muslim contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces matters for everyone in Britain.

Accordingly, when Lord Sheikh asked me to get involved with a new charity he was setting up about this, I readily agreed to help.

What is the National Muslim War Memorial Trust?

The National Muslim War Memorial Trust (“NMWMT”) is a charity, created in the form of a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, usually abbreviated to CIO. I am one of the trustees. Its website lists all trustees with short biographies.

While its full mission is set out on its website, I summarise it as follows:

A significant amount of money needs to be raised. Based upon my knowledge of the cost of the Mahatma Gandhi memorial next to Manchester Cathedral I expect that the physical memorial will, of itself, cost more than £1 million

For a permanent education programme, I believe that it is only feasible to spend about 4% per year out of a permanent endowment. Accordingly, each £1 million raised for the endowment will allow continuing annual expenditure of about £40,000 per year.

How you can help

Changing the world requires taking action. The struggle for African-American civil rights in the USA illustrates the categories of action very well:

  1. Doing something in person. This is often hard and sometimes dangerous; for example the brave African-Americans who took seats at segregated restaurant counters knowing that they were likely to be arrested and quite often beaten.
  2. Speaking and writing, for example Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X.
  3. Giving money, such as the many small donations that helped to fund the legal services of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People).
  4. Prayer, shown by the fortitude of the Black churches, especially after atrocities such as the 2015 Charleston murders.

You can do all of these things to help NMWMT:

  1. Volunteer to help organise local events once the coronavirus pandemic is over.
  2. Tell your friends about NMWMT and share our Twitter and Facebook content online.
  3. Give money, based on your own financial position. You can donate online via any page of our website.
  4. If you have a religious faith, pray for NMWMT’s success.

What have I done myself?

Time

As well as serving as a Trustee, I have spent a great deal of time dealing with bank account mechanics, organising Gift Aid registration with HMRC, specifying the website and liaising with the website developers, registering with payment processors, uploading content and acting as webmaster, helping to create and manage social media accounts etc.

Money

I have also given my own money.

So far, just over £5,000 but I have every expectation, God willing, of giving more.

 

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