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    Junon's Avatar
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    Muslims celebrating their forefathers’ contributions to Britain’s colonial wars?

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    Salaam

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    To what end are Muslims celebrating their forefathers’ contributions to Britain’s colonial wars?


    Rights activist and author, Moazzam Begg, reflects on the Muslim contribution to British colonial wars and questions to what end are we celebrating it?

    Like many British Asians, I grew up listening to my father’s stories of his father and grandfather’s serving and fighting as Indian soldiers of the British Army under the Raj.

    I never met my grandfather, but I’d look at his war medals in awe and dreamt of following in his footsteps – at least in my youth.

    I seriously considered joining the British Army after leaving school but racism and the First Gulf War stopped me in my tracks. How could I be part of an army that saw me as a second class citizen while it invaded, occupied and killed Muslims – to whom I was discovering my re-connection with?

    Despite the pride I’d felt about our family’s military history and traditions – our family tree goes right back to the Great Mughals, and records my ancestors were all soldiers. However, I’ve always struggled with the idea of them serving as soldiers of the colonial British occupiers.

    I never knew for sure what motivated them to fight for Britain, especially when the Ottomans were the enemy in World War One. My dad said it was simply because they were professional soldiers. Perhaps, but they were also very strong in their faith and I’m certain that at least fighting against the last bastion of the Islamic Caliphate would not have been lost on them. Even Gandhi supported the ‘All India Khilafah Movement’ that opposed severe British impositions on the Ottoman Caliphate after the war, which eventually led to its abolition.

    A recent article in The Guardian by Harriet Sherwood also provided another indicator: “We were slaves.” Nand Singh spoke of a “curtain of fear” separating the Indian and white soldiers. They were subject to floggings and other inhumane physical punishment, paid less than their white counterparts, segregated in camps and on trains and ships, denied home leave, and barred from positions of command.”

    In fact, when Indian soldiers saw the freedom they witnessed in areas they helped liberate in Europe, they too yearned for the same thing back home, ironically, from the clutches of the people they were fighting and dying for.

    The Ottomans

    I also know that many soldiers were literally forced to conscript, with teenage boys taken by British forces and families threatened if they refused to serve. Others had to either serve or starve to death.

    There were exceptions of course. I recall reading about an entire clan of Afridi Pashtuns fighting for the British who literally got up and walked out of a military campaign in Iraq (Mesopotamia) against the Ottomans, once they realised they had been lied to, and that their enemies were in fact Muslims, they walked all the way back home to India.

    Others even joined the ranks of the Ottomans and saw it as a religious duty to “fight alongside the army of Islam”. There were revolts by Muslim and Hindu soldiers in Malaya who refused to fight the Ottomans. Many were executed in what was known as the Singapore Mutiny of 1915.

    North Africans and sub-Saharans also contributed in the same way, fighting for the French in far off colonies – from Africa to South East Asia and in both world wars. Yet today, French Algerians and others face some of the worst discrimination in Europe.

    Celebrating Muslim contribution to British wars

    There has been much fanfare in recent times about Britain finally recognising the contribution of Indian, African and Caribbean colonial troops to their war efforts. Indeed, this recognition is long overdue, but to what end?

    So that we can say “look how much we sacrificed for your wars, your countries, your principles, your ideals and your future and still you don’t see us as equals?”

    For those who don’t know their history, we even sacrificed our “third qiblah” and allowed it to fall from British Mandate Palestine to modern day Israel. We don’t need to tell them how much we sacrificed. Palestine contains Al-Aqsa and the best we can do today to “challenge” it is to visit it – as long as Israel lets us.

    I’m not questioning or disparaging the intentions or courage individual soldiers. That is with their families, and ultimately, their Lord. But what pride is there in celebrating a role in the destruction of the last central Muslim authority, for an empire that takes over a century to recognise your contribution in that act of treachery, only so you can say “stop discriminating against us because we lost our hearts and sold our souls for the glory of your Empire and we’re not even an afterthought in your history.”

    https://5pillarsuk.com/2018/10/28/to-what-end-are-muslims-celebrating-their-forefathers-contributions-to-britains-colonial-wars/

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    anatolian's Avatar
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    Re: Muslims celebrating their forefathers’ contributions to Britain’s colonial wars?

    Those wars between the Ottomans and Brits and French in Gallipoli in WW1 were ironic indeed. When they temporarily stopped fighting for the prayer the Ottomans were calling azan for congregation and Muslim soldiers from the British and French ranks were coming to jamaat to perform the prayer and then returning to their ranks after the prayer to continue to fight. Ofcourse this was not the first time Muslims fought each other but this event was really interesting. In this incident you accept the brotherhood of your enemy at the same time. However that wasnt the only irony. The Arabic revolt is much worse than that in the eye of an average Turk. There is still some "anger" against Arabs in the heart of this average Turk because of that even on that day.
    Last edited by anatolian; 10-30-2018 at 08:42 PM.

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    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: Muslims celebrating their forefathers’ contributions to Britain’s colonial wars?

    Salaam

    You might be interested to know something similar happened on the Western front called the Christmas truce.



    Whatever the rights and wrongs of this war it was a fatal decision on the Arabs who foolishly choose to side with Western powers. They belatedly realised the 'freedom' they were promised was a mirage.

    Blurb

    In 1920 an Arab revolt came perilously close to inflicting a shattering defeat upon the British Empire's forces occupying Iraq after the Great War. A huge peasant army besieged British garrisons and bombarded them with captured artillery. British columns and armoured trains were ambushed and destroyed, and gunboats were captured or sunk. Britain's quest for oil was one of the principal reasons for its continuing occupation of Iraq. However, with around 131,000 Arabs in arms at the height of the conflict, the British were very nearly driven out. Only a massive infusion of Indian troops prevented a humiliating rout.

    Enemy on the Euphrates is the definitive account of the most serious armed uprising against British rule in the twentieth century. Bringing central players such as Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell vividly to life, Ian Rutledge's masterful account is a powerful reminder of how Britain's imperial objectives sowed the seeds of Iraq's tragic history.



    Some regret their descion.


    erkii abi


    We are all a Ummah of the prophet (sav) yes the arabs does a mistake and fights the khalifa but we must togheter again and strong when we grow up again and build a khalifat we must be strong again like in the ottomans earlier in sh Allah the ummah of the prophet peace be upon him comes stronger believe me dont do fitna about your brothers and sisters help each other and we will win !

    Random Person

    @Erkii Abi, put a fork in it, it's done. The few Muslim people capable of rebuilding such an empire are also Muslims smart enough not to get into any serious alliance with Arabs. I think they know how this will turn out. It is the nature of the modern Arab, it is what it is. Arabs can't even trust each other, what makes you think people like Turks, Bosnians or Indonesians can trust you?

    A harsh assessment but judging by how Arab regimes behave he may have a point.

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    Re: Muslims celebrating their forefathers’ contributions to Britain’s colonial wars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Junon View Post
    Salaam

    Some regret their descion.


    erkii abi


    We are all a Ummah of the prophet (sav) yes the arabs does a mistake and fights the khalifa but we must togheter again and strong when we grow up again and build a khalifat we must be strong again like in the ottomans earlier in sh Allah the ummah of the prophet peace be upon him comes stronger believe me dont do fitna about your brothers and sisters help each other and we will win !

    Random Person

    @Erkii Abi, put a fork in it, it's done. The few Muslim people capable of rebuilding such an empire are also Muslims smart enough not to get into any serious alliance with Arabs. I think they know how this will turn out. It is the nature of the modern Arab, it is what it is. Arabs can't even trust each other, what makes you think people like Turks, Bosnians or Indonesians can trust you?

    A harsh assessment but judging by how Arab regimes behave he may have a point.
    Salaam. erkii abi seems a Turk who still believes in the ummah. He is naive. He wants the Islamic union and ready to forget the past. The other guy makes a harsh and unjust comment for my part. All of the regimes of Muslims today are unislamic, so no one has right to isolate the Arabs as a whole. No nation are angel but what we need is just to acknowledge our faults. Muslim Arabs must acknowledge their grand fathers' fault. Thats all. It might be hard but with the lack of recognition of past, no future can be built.

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    Re: Muslims celebrating their forefathers’ contributions to Britain’s colonial wars?

    Salaam

    Like to share a MSM view



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