Remember Together, a new initiative from British Future and the Royal British Legion, brings people from different backgrounds together to remember all of those who fought for Britain a century ago.
There is increasing awareness that Remembrance could, should and does belong to all of us. The armies of 1914-18 looked more like the Britain of 2018 than that of its day. British troops fought alongside soldiers of different colours and creeds from across the Commonwealth, including over a million Indian soldiers, 400,000 of them Muslims from present-day Pakistan.
This shared history of service and contribution is something that we can all commemorate in Britain – whatever our politics, ethnicity or faith.
Imams in mosques around the country have given remembrance-themed services at Friday prayers. A Remember Together event in Birmingham brought together Imams from across the UK to learn more about the Muslim contribution to WW1 and the Islamic context of Remembrance.
In Bradford, London and Derby primary and secondary school pupils and families from different ethnic and faith backgrounds are coming together to learn that soldiers from all backgrounds fought side-by-side, and make poppies to remember them. Poppy wreaths made at the events will be laid at local war memorials as part of Remembrance Sunday services in Walthamstow, Bradford and Derby on 11 November.
Politicians from all parties have joined faith leaders, charities and former military leaders to back Remember Together in a letter to the Sunday Telegraph (28 Oct). Supporters include Baroness Warsi; Lord Paddy Ashdown; Lord Richards, former Chief of Defence Staff; James Cleverly MP; Naz Shah MP; Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London; Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands; the Bishop of Durham; Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism; Charles Byrne, Director-General of the Royal British Legion; and Imam Qari Asim MBE, Chair of the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board.
Imam Qari Asim, Chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board. who will deliver a Remember Together event for Imams in Birmingham, said:
“Most people, Muslims included, don’t know that thousands of Muslim soldiers, from present-day Pakistan, fought for Britain in the First World War. It’s important that they do – this shared history of contribution is something that we can all commemorate in Britain, whatever our ethnicity or faith.”
British Future Director Sunder Katwala said:
“The Centenary of the Armistice makes Remembrance this year even more special, with more activity than ever before in Mosques and Gurdwaras, as well as Synagogues and Churches, to mark Remembrance. That reflects the growth in public awareness of how those who fought together a century ago were just as diverse as modern Britain – and how a commitment to remembering that shared history together offers a powerful counter to those who seek to divide us today.”
Baroness Warsi, whose own ancestors fought in the Second World War, said:
“Soldiers of different creeds and colours fought side-by-side for Britain a century ago. It’s important that we remember this long history we all share – it helps explain why multi-ethnic, multi-faith Britain looks like it does today and why we can all feel a sense of belonging in our society.”
Catherine Davies, Head of Remembrance at the Royal British Legion, said:
“We owe the First World War generation a huge debt of gratitude for helping shape the world as we know it today including the 1.2m British and Commonwealth Armed Forces who lost their lives on the battlefield. This year, 100 years from the end of the First World War, we want to say Thank You to all of those who made so many sacrifices for the society we live in today – men and women, young and old, of every faith and ethnicity.”
Remember Together is a partnership between integration thinktank British Future and the Royal British Legion as part of its Thank You campaign, supported by ISD and Google.org.
Do please share with the #RememberTogether hashtag – we hope everyone across the UK this November, of all races and religions, will join us and show their support for Remember Together.