New book: The Unknown Fallen

The MCB office was briefly visited by Vera Mathys and Luc Ferrier, founders of the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation on 24 January, where they also visited the archive strongroom of the East London Mosque. The Foundation has just published ‘The Unknown Fallen – the global allied Muslim contribution in the First World War’. This is Volume 1 and draws on part of an amazing trove of original documents that have been uncovered by the Foundation. Its Foreword notes, “. . . the aim is to find a common humanity based on universal values . . .  at least 2.5 million Muslim soldiers and labourers from all over the world, fought with the Allied forces with dignity and honour, many of whom were more decorated than their European counterparts”. The Unknown Fallen is a unique documentation of experiences and sacrifices that need to be better known. For example there are images of a platoon performing the salaat on the Western Front, accompanied with an extract from a soldier’s letter, “We live in cages like hedgehogs and we constantly have rain on our heads; we are exposed to deafening noises, peoples faces change and are altered under the effect of fear . . .  Let me tell you, my dear father and I swear by Allah and by that which we hold sacred I will never stop saying my prayers.  I will never abandon my faith . . .”. Another account tells the story of a lady of the Rothschild family who lived in a mansion outside Paris. Seeing the condition of wounded soldiers in tents, she offered it for use as a hospital. This benefited many, including Muslims. Details of the publication, including on-line ordering, are available on www.unknownfallen.com