Memorial for WWII Quaker Veterans

When first seeing the headline for this particular BBC article I was very confused. Quakers are pacifists, which by definition means that they are morally against violence and war. However during World War II many felt the need to contribute to their country and help their fellow country men. In order to do what they could for the cause, they organized efforts to help on the home front and on the battlefield through medical help. Staffordshire’s National Memorial Arboretum now has the first monument dedicated to these men of faith who helped their country.

Picture of the memorial to WWII Quaker service in the National Memorial Arboretum

Photo Credit: BBC

Read BBC’s article showcasing the memorial!

I found this article to be extremely interesting and also inspiring in many ways. First I found it very inspiring that these Quakers, or “Friends,” were able to contribute to the war efforts while still holding true to the tenants of their faith. They are great examples of how there are always other ways of helping a cause beside violence.

Secondly I think the fact that these soldiers are being remembered in this memorial is also inspiring, because it shows that they are important to society and that their sacrifices were not unappreciated by their country. People would not have thought that Quakers would be on the battlefield in the first place, but they were a vital part in the effort and therefore should be remembered. This act of remembrance is an example of a country appreciating other faiths and the way they can contribute (and did contribute) to society.

My hope is that we will see more and more memorials like this one across the globe, paying tribute to the many religions of the world and their efforts to make it a better place.

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Exhibit Showcases Muslims Who Saved Jews in Holocaust

When learning about the Holocaust in school we always talked about all of the kind Christians who hid Jewish families in their homes to prevent them from being sent to concentration camps. However, less discussed in history classes are the Muslim families who did the same thing! In London a exhibit, photos and stories will be displayed educating the public and preserving the history of these families.

Read all about it on BBC!

Hardaga family

Photo Credit: BBC

While history is always important to preserve, it is especially important to remember this special relationship between Muslims and Jews, mainly in Bosnia. Currently there is tension between Muslims and Jews, causing there to be varying opinions on how Muslims should view the Holocaust. Fiyaz Mughal, co-author of the Role of Righteous Muslims describes the religious tension:

“One of the main drivers of the project is that there are some small sections in Jewish communities who are trying to rewrite history and say that Muslims overwhelmingly helped the Nazis. And on the other side, there is a small section of the Muslim community who do not want to talk about the Holocaust for the sake of not wanting to build up an empathy with Jewish communities. That is unacceptable, because factually it’s untrue.”

That’s why the exhibit is there: to build bridges. If history is displayed for all to see, accurately showing their inspiring stories, then it sets an example for current religious leaders to follow so that they can work together. If the people during the Holocaust could set aside their differences and work out of love rather than hate, then today’s religious people can form similar friendships. This really is a great example for all of us regarding interfaith dialogue, not just Muslims and Jews. I just wish I was in London to be able to see the exhibit!