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July 23rd, 2017

Inaugural Commemoration Service at the Muslim Burial Ground, Horsell Common, Woking, 16 July 2017

I have compiled some information about the above inaugural service, with brief descriptions of the proceedings, photographs and video recordings of three of the speakers. The background is as follows.

During 1914-1915 several hundred thousand Muslim soldiers from areas now in Pakistan were among the more than one million Indian soldiers deployed by Britain in France and Belgium in the First World War against Germany (known also as the Great War). Indians who were wounded were in some cases brought to England for treatment in military hospitals. For Muslim soldiers who died here, their funeral and burial arrangements were discussed by the government with the Imam of the Mosque at Woking, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din. As a result, the site at Horsell Common, near the Mosque, was selected as the burial ground.

In 1969, due to vandalism, all the bodies were moved to Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, where some Muslim soldiers had been buried both before and after the Horsell site was established. The Horsell site, with its domed entrance, fell into disrepair for decades. Recently it has been restored by local municipal organzations and bodies as the “Muslim Burial Ground Peace Garden”, opened by Prince Edward in November 2015.

On 16 July 2017 the Inaugural Commemoration Service was held to mark the anniversary of the first burial, at Horsell Muslim burial ground, of a Muslim soldier of the British Indian army on 16 July 1915. It was organized by Woking Borough Council (the local government authority) and the British armed forces.

My report is at this link.

(Just one point. The Ahl-i Sunnah Imam, at the end of his prayers, as you can see in the recording, said a prayer for the prosperity of Britain and the British people. I and our group said Ameen. The anti-Ahmadiyya will presumably treat our saying Ameen to this prayer as confirmation of their allegation that we are "British agents and stooges". Of course, the allegation does not apply to the person who said this prayer or the other Muslims present who also said Ameen!)

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