National Muslim Service of Commemoration held at the National Arboretum

The AFMA National Service of Commemoration and Conference held at the National Memorial Arboretum. Picture by Pete Maclaine

200 Muslim youth and adults from counties across the UK were part of the day and came together for the first time.

A Commemoration brought together members of British Muslim communities and serving Muslims to remember those who have given their lives in service of Britain.

The service saw representation and attendance from Muslim veteran of WW2, Sgt (Retd) Mohammed Hussain and General Officer Commanding London District, Major General Ben Bathurst.

Supported by the Armed Forces Muslim Association (AFMA) the Commemoration built on the successes of last years’ service, which was held at the WW1 Muslim Memorial in Woking, marking 100 years of the Armistice.

200 Muslim youth and adults from the North East, North West, West Midlands and East Midlands were a part of the unique event, delivering Remembrance related speeches and presentations followed by various activities and site visits and a Service of Commemoration.

Major Naveed Muhammad MBE, the Army’s National Liaison Officer and former Chair of the Armed Forces Muslim Association (AFMA), said: “Engaging with British Muslim communities in an intimate event allowed us to celebrate the service and sacrifice from our wider UK communities.

“It was heart-warming to hear that those who attended were vocal in their praise for the Armed Forces being supportive and inviting to military personnel.

“The Armed Forces are proud of the contribution of British Muslims serving today alongside colleagues from many backgrounds.

“Through this commemoration, in showing our respect alongside local communities, we hope to inspire future generations of Muslim recruits as well as those of other faiths and none.”

Imam Asim Hafiz commented: “It’s important that we held a Service of Commemoration to honour and respect those who served for our country. We also wanted the event to reaffirm that being Muslim is absolutely compatible with military life.

“It is now more vital than ever that our Armed Forces represent the society we serve and this event allowed us to highlight the scale and history of contribution of British Muslims to this country that goes much deeper than many realise.”

About AFMA

AFMA was set up in 2009 to recognise the contribution Muslim personnel make across all three services, both in the regular and reserve forces. AFMA brings together Muslim serving personnel from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force so they can connect with and support each other, and share their experiences of serving in the armed forces.

Its mission is to balance the needs of serving Muslims and their faith, while maintaining their operational effectiveness. All AFMA’s members adhere to the values of courage, respect, discipline and selfless commitment, which reflect those of the wider Armed Forces.

AFMA provides advice for service chiefs on religious policy, spiritual guidance to serving personnel, and has helped the armed forces to be a welcoming place to work for Muslims. It also organises social get-togethers, which bring Muslim personnel together from each branch of the armed forces, and helps foster a sense of belonging and community.

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