Prime Minister Theresa May has paid a special tribute to the British Armed Forces based in Iraq and elsewhere during her Christmas message.
The Armed Forces have been involved in several conflicts in the Muslim world in recent years which have led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, most notably in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
The army is also attempting to enlist the support of British mosques, perhaps in an attempt to counter its unpopularity among British Muslim communities.
Elsewhere in her Christmas message, Theresa May said Britons should “take pride” in their country’s Christian heritage at Christmas.
The prime minister said there is a “confidence… that in Britain you can practise your faith free from question or fear”.
The prime minister, who grew up in a vicarage, added: “As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us celebrate all those selfless acts – and countless others – that epitomise the values we share: Christian values of love, service and compassion that are lived out every day in our country by people all faiths and none.”
Mrs May referred to Christians in some parts of the Middle East being denied religious freedoms and the “sickening persecution of the Rohingya Muslims”.
She concluded: “This Christmas, whatever our faith, let us come together confident and united in the values we share.”