The UK’s Armed Forces’ imam, Hafiz Ahmed, told the British Islam Conference in London on Saturday that the armed forces share Islamic values such as courage, discipline and selfless commitment.
Urging British Muslims to join the army he is reported by the Daily Star as saying: “The armed forces have a role in promoting peace and security. For example, the Royal Navy deploying to the Mediterranean and saving immigrants from drowning, and most of them are Muslims.”
Imam Hafiz Ahmed admits that he took the job in the army against the wishes of many members of the community who were appalled by Britain’s deadly and devastating invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2015 it was reported that 480 Muslims are serving in the British army which consists of around 236,000 personnel, which is a percentage of around 0.2%. The percentage of British Muslims in the country stands at around 4.5%.
However, in 2014, at the launch of the Armed Forces Muslim Forum, Imam Asim Hafiz said: “Loving your country and serving your community is an important part of the Muslim faith. Muslims have fought for this country since the First World War.
“Some people have questioned whether you can be a good Muslim and serve in our armed forces because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the young men I’ve served alongside in Afghanistan know that they’re trying to make the country safer for the people who live there.
“Some of these soldiers are very devout but they don’t feel a contradiction between being a Muslim and serving their country. We need to get out there and make that argument much more clearly.”