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Muslim soldiers praise armed forces for inclusive policies


Corporal Sohail Ifraz, Private Abubakarr Mahmoud, imam Ali
Omar, Sergeant Dorian Mark John, and Major Naveed Muhammed
Corporal Sohail Ifraz, Private Abubakarr Mahmoud, imam Ali Omar, Sergeant Dorian Mark John, and Major Naveed Muhammed

by SARWAR ALAM THREE Muslim soldiers who have recently returned from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, have spoken of their appreciation for the British Armed Forces who organised the trip. The trio were a part of a group of 10 military personnel from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force who visited Makkah and Madinah to complete Umrah (a 10-day pilgrimage) during Ramadan. “It will be a journey of a lifetime,” said reservist Private Abubakarr Mahmoud, who spoke to Eastern Eye before flying out on May 2. Mahmoud, who has been with the Army for a decade, is a full-time civilian health care assistant at the University Hospital Leicester. He admitted that the support he has received as a Muslim in the Army is one of the reasons why he hopes to go full time as either a nurse or doctor with the Army in the future. “It is an important spiritual journey that I have always wanted to do, but never had the chance. I am so thankful for this opportunity,” Mahmoud said. “The Army has supported me so much when it comes to my faith. I have time to do my prayers, have halal food and also an imam to support me.” The delegation was hosted by the Saudi Armed Forces who first invited their British counterparts in 2016 as a way to strengthen bilateral ties. With two trips each year, another group of military personnel will perform Hajj later in the year. Hajj would cost a civilian between £5,000-£7,000. “It’s incredible opportunity for our Muslim soldiers. Everyone dreams of completing Hajj, but not everyone gets the ‘calling’,” said imam Ali Omar, who is the civilian Muslim chaplain to the military and was part of the delegation to Saudi Arabia. “And the fact that we get invited every…

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