By Muhammad Dilwar Hussain
Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with the glorification of Muslims who fought for the colonial British Empire during WW1 to show how “loyal” we are to this country.
First and foremost, I don’t think anyone can accurately ubstantiate whether the tens of thousands of Muslims who fought for the British did so out of their own will, or whether it was under duress or desperation in seeking a better life.
However, what we do know is that the Muslim soldiers who refused to fight the Ottomans were lined up and slaughtered in what is infamously known as the Singapore Mutiny of 1915.
Glorifying the Muslims who fought for the British Empire neither counters the dominant Islamophobic narrative, nor does it address the legitimate foreign policy grievances troubling the minds of Muslim youth, as well as their desire to live freely in accordance to Islam without the fear of being labelled and targeted.
Surely, knowingly or *unknowingly* reigniting the age old colonial sentiment of “fighting for Queen and country” only reinforces what the neocons and Islamophobes are essentially saying: Muslims aren’t loyal to this country and they simply cannot be trusted let alone accepted unless there’s unequivocal support for the nation?
I could be wrong, and I’m open to being proven otherwise.
It was reported by Tariq ibn Shihab that Umar ibn al-Khatab (ra) said: “Verily, we were a disgraced people and Allah honoured us with Islam, so if we seek honour from other than Islam, then Allah will humiliate us.”
Our beloved Prophet (saw) said: “He is not one of us who calls for asabiyyah, or who fights for asabiyyah, or who dies for asabiyyah.” [Sunan Abu Dawud]
“Asabiyyah” being all forms of tribalism and nationalism.
And Allah (swt) knows best.