A NEW project begins in Bradford tomorrow to bring young people from Muslim and non-Muslim backgrounds together using their shared First World War heritage.
‘Unknown & Untold’ will see teenagers from three centres in the city interview descendants of Indian soldiers who fought for Britain in the First World War and and take part in workshops to understand the contribution of these soldiers to the British war effort.
The youngsters from Belle Vue Girls Academy, School, Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College and the JAMES (Joint Activities and Motor Education Service) Centre,will then take part in a creative workshop to encourage them to express what they have learned through prose, poetry or rap lyrics.
The project is a partnership between Bradford Museums and Galleries and thinktank British Future and New Horizons in British Islam, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Avaes Mohammaed, Unknown & Untold project co-ordinator at British Future, said: “400,000 Muslim soldiers served Britain in World War One from what is today India and Pakistan.
“Their story represents the long history of contribution made by Muslims towards the Britain we enjoy today.
“This common heritage will be shared with Muslim and non-Muslim youth in Bradford to promote a sense of identity that can stretch across ethnic and faith boundaries.”
Sofia Maskin, museum officer at Bradford Council, said: “This is a great opportunity to bring together young people from diverse backgrounds to learn about a shared history which may lead to a lasting appreciation of each other’s stake in British society. Many teenagers, both white and Asian, will have no idea that their ancestors fought for the same side in the trenches 100 years ago.”
The Unknown & Untold project has already taken place in areas such as Birmingham, Belfast, Leicester, Woking and Sandhurst Military Academy.
It looks at different aspects of the Muslim contribution to the First World War and aims to deepen engagement and understanding among British Muslims and the wider public.
It also hopes to find out about any relevance to contemporary questions of identity and integration. Visit ww1muslimsoldiers.org.uk.
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