Connected Histories: Muslims in the First World War

Connected Histories: Muslims in the First World War

Certificate of Honourable Discharge discovered through the project
Certificate of Honourable Discharge discovered through the project

Heritage Grants

BIRMINGHAM, West Midlands
Birmingham
Xtra Mile West Midlands CIC
£63900
The project explored and commemorated the significant contribution made by Muslim soldiers in the British Indian Army in the First World War.

400,000 Muslims from India took part in the First World War, almost half the population of present-day Birmingham, but the story of these ancestors who fought and died in the war is little known.

Volunteers recorded stories, transcribed recordings and curated a popular exhibition online and at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Topics ranged from Muslim soldiers that served (including those that were injured or died) to role of Muslim Lascars (seamen) in the Merchant Navy.

The project explored not only the past but the living memory of the war in Birmingham: through stories, documents and objects that have been passed down through generations, and discovered how these stories help people to understand the war and how it relates to lives today. The project hosted ‘kebab shop dialogues’ to record and investigate peoples’ reaction to discovering their community’s First World War connections.

Izzy Mohammed, Project Manager, said “The project demonstrates the profound implications and opportunities for Muslims and other communities when we can bring this narrative and research to people, creating a sense of place and belonging.”

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