British Future is pleased to welcome Avaes Mohammad to the team.
Avaes will manage a new project – “An Unknown and Untold Story – The Muslim Contribution to The First World War” – which seeks to raise public awareness, during the centenary of the First World War, of the 400,000 Muslims from undivided India who served in the British Army in The First World of War.
Avaes brings the diversity of his experience to the role, ranging from his background in the chemical sciences to his practice as professional playwright and poet. Having managed a range of projects across various sectors and with his active interest in the development of British Muslim cultures, we look forward to his time with us at British Future. Avaes is also a trustee of the Bhopal Medical Appeal and works closely with English PEN as a writer/facilitator.
He said: “The stories of the 400, 000 Indian Muslims who fought for Britain in World War 1 are worthy of mass acknowledgement and respect in their own right. But they also serve as a reminder that Muslim effort and commitment has been part of British history and culture for generations.
“This often-overlooked narrative shatters the ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis and underlines the strong and shared claim that Muslim and Non-Muslim Britons can all make to British identity today.”
Few people are aware that the multi-ethnic army of 1914 looked much more like the Britain of 2014 than that of 1914, nor that Muslims fought alongside Christians, Sikhs, Jews and Hindus on the battlefield. Research conducted by British Future discovered that only 1 in 5 people know about this Muslim contribution, and almost nobody (2%) is aware of its scale. This public knowledge gap belies the significant contribution of soldiers from different faiths and nations to Britain’s role in the First World War, and the shared history of different communities in the country.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this major national project is a partnership between British Future and New Horizons in British Islam.Over the next 14 months it will bring together Muslim and non-Muslim communities to explore this shared history and its relevance to modern-day Britain.