London schoolchildren from different faith and ethnic backgrounds are coming together on Remembrance Sunday to commemorate the soldiers of all backgrounds who fought in the First World War.
Pupils from Eden Girls School and Walthamstow School for Girls joined forces to learn about the 1.5 million men from India who served 100 years ago, 400,000 of them Muslims from what is now Pakistan. The students made giant remembrance poppies, each commemorating one of the soldiers of all creeds and colours who came from the Commonwealth, creating a wreath that will be presented at the Walthamstow remembrance service on 11 November.
The event is part of Remember Together, a new initiative from British Future and the Royal British Legion to bring people from different backgrounds together to understand our shared history and remember the soldiers from all backgrounds who fought for Britain in 1914-18.
Avaes Mohammad, a teacher at Eden Girls School, said:
“It’s always been important to us that our students understand their British identity. Teaching this shared history – that people from their ancestral countries fought for Britain 100 years ago – is a powerful way to underline that British Muslims have as much stake in our country as anyone else.
“We’re also excited to be linking up with Walthamstow School for Girls for the Remember Together project – it’s important for students of both schools that they get to know and mix with students from different backgrounds. Coming together to learn that soldiers from all creeds and colours served side-by-side in the trenches will help them all understand that they have much more in common than they perhaps thought.”
Rob Morrow, a teacher at Walthamstow School for Girls, said:
“I do think projects like Remember Together can make a difference because the students now have a better understanding of this country’s history, of how different groups of people who knew nothing bout one another worked together in the most difficult of circumstances in order to overcome adversity.”
Imams in mosques around the country will also give remembrance-themed services at Friday prayers. A Remember Together event in Birmingham has brought together Imams from across the UK to learn more about the Muslim contribution to WW1 and the Islamic context of Remembrance.
Faith leaders, charities and organisations representing different faiths and politicians of all parties have shown their support for Remember Together in a joint letter published in the Sunday Telegraph.
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy said:
“At a time when some seek to twist the events of the world wars in order to divide our nation, bringing children together to understand the history of Britain and what that means for our shared future has never been so important.”
Tweeting his support, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said:
Remembrance should belong to all of us. I fully support the #RememberTogether campaign’s efforts to raise awareness of the Commonwealth soldiers who fought alongside our British troops in World War One. Let’s remember their sacrifice this November 11th.https://t.co/WlRIMIqRZV
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) October 28, 2018