Sadiq Khan has backed plans for a new London memorial to recognise the contribution of Muslims who fought in the First and Second World Wars.
The monument will be the first in the UK to pay tribute to the millions of Muslims who served in the British Armed Forces during the conflicts.
The Mayor of London said: “The incredible contribution that Muslim soldiers have made, and continue to make, to the British Armed Forces deserves to be commemorated and celebrated.
“It is only right that those who have given their lives for our country are recognised and honoured by a prominent national monument and that the public can learn more about the sacrifices made by these brave men and women for our country.”
Muslim service personnel have played a key part in Britain’s Armed Forces during the past century.
According to National Muslim War Memorial Trust (NMWMT), during World War I at least 2.5m Muslim soldiers and labourers fought with the allied forces. The British Indian Army alone had at least 400,000 Muslims serving in it, during this period, and there were also a significant number of Muslims serving in the British merchant navy.
However, the organisation’s chair, Lord Sheikh, said the “heroic contribution” of Muslims in the British Armed Forces during both World Wars has been “undervalued”.
He added: “One of the key reasons we have set up the charity is to combat Islamophobia, and people should realise the sacrifices Muslims made to keep the Union Jack flying.”
Lord Sheikh said those associated with the trust “very much hope to draw attention to and get more public recognition for the sacrifices made by Muslim personnel in the British Armed Forces”. The War Graves Commission report illustrates how long overdue this is.”
“The support of the London Mayor is particularly significant as the first memorial will be located in the capital.” Though the specific location is yet to be agreed upon.
So far, £29,000 has been raised of a £2 million target to erect a permanent memorial, the trust’s website shows.