England

Muslims pay tribute to UK's armed forces.

A group of Muslim women have laid a wreath at the National Memorial Arboretum in honour of those who died fighting for the UK.

L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi, 24, from Birmingham, was the first British Muslim soldier to die in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan, in July 2006.

On the anniversary weekend of his death the women paid their respects at the Staffordshire centre.

The ceremony was organised by the Muslim Armed Forces Association.

Image caption L/Cpl Hashmi died in a Taliban attack on his base in Helmand

It said 500 Muslims were currently serving in the British armed forces.

Kalsoom Bashir, who attended the ceremony said: "We are here for two reasons, to say that as mothers we share the grief of those that have lost their loved ones and we salute the loyalty of those men and women that have laid down their lives for our country.

"Secondly we are here to say loud and clear to those extremists that would exploit that grief, you're not one of us, you don't represent us."

A group of Muslims protested against the presence of British troops in Afghanistan when the Second Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment took part in a homecoming parade through Luton in March 2009.

Mrs Bashir said the behaviour of that sector of the Muslim community had "shocked" and "outraged" her.

She said: "They were exploiting a very sensitive time. It was a time to show compassion. They were in contradiction of the principles of the faith that they claim to represent, it is not the religion I know and recognise."

Mr Hashmi's brother Zeehan, 31, said his mother had also joined the memorial ceremony.

Zeehan said he thought it was positive for Muslims to show their support for the British armed forces.

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