21 February 2011
With more than 600 Muslims in the British Armed Forces, do those that are deployed on the front line in Afghanistan have to reconcile their beliefs in order to fight hardline Islamic Taliban militants?
“My home is the UK. As a Muslim, that’s the place I’d happily die for and kill for. That’s the same way it’s going to remain until my dying day. My entire soul belongs to the UK and I’m more than proud to fight for this country.” Pte Shehab El-Din Ahmed El-Miniawi, is serving with 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold and scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the nation.
The only practising Muslim in his battalion, Pte El-Miniawi is on his first tour of Afghanistan. “I came with no perception of what this place was going to be like, be it hot, be it cold, be it dangerous, be it IED (improvised explosive device)-ridden, whatever,” he said. “If you narrow it down, we’re not just fighting Muslims we’re fighting extremists. Every culture, every faith… has an extremist background in it.”