The Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation has for the first time, documented the contribution of all the Muslims who fought and worked for the allied forces during the first world war. The 19 in its name refers to the conflict that was caused by the French military presence in Syria in 1919 after the first world war ended.
Researchers have spent the past six years delving into military, diplomatic and private archives, including diaries and letters, across 19 countries, accessing more than 850,000 documents in French, English, Farsi, Urdu, Russian, German and Arabic, as well as hundreds of images. They estimate that 2.5 million Muslims contributed to the allied cause either as soldiers or labourers, the first time such a figure has been established.
The foundation was founded by a Belgian, Luc Ferrier, 53, after he came across his great-grandfather’s first world war diaries in his attic in which he wrote extensively about the “Mohammedans” he encountered in the trenches. Gripped by fascination, Ferrier delved into the history books to learn more but found that there was little information available.
Bigotry and intolerance are born from fear of the unknown and perceived differences in others. There is a rise in Far Right extremism that is equal to the rise in Islamic extremism; both are dangerous and both are fed by those who would tell us that differences in creed, culture or even colour are worth killing and dying for. We have been here before, of course – there have been many times in history when the same pattern of behaviour can be seen, from the Crusades to the rise of the Third Reich. We don’t seem to learn that humans have far more things in common than we have differences that set us apart.
Yet there are those who try to demonstrate our commonalities in an effort to unify rather than divide. One such group is the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation, which has tirelessly researched the contributions made during World War I made by Muslims from all over the world in support of the allied forces. The dates in the Foundation’s name relate to the 1914-18 World War and the subsequent year of battles in the Middle East.
The Unknown Fallen
The Unknown Fallen is a visual feast for readers of all ages, with lavishly drawn illustrations and striking authentic pictures. It features not only historical aspects of the First World War but also unveils forgotten stories and testimonies backed up with breath-taking photos from Muslim soldiers from all continents fighting with the Allied forces in battlefields far away from their homes. It highlights the mutual historical and cultural interest of all these brothers-in-arms and many more fascinating facts associated with every region of our planet.
Discover six years of war, unrestricted by the constraints of physical space with more than 200 unique pictures accompanied by lively, informative text, offering hours of jaw-dropping moments – highlighting that Muslims from around the world contributed to the history of Europe, thus affirming that Muslim diaspora communities are stakeholders in Europe.