“Tasting the King’s Salt”: Muslims, Contested Loyalties and the First World War

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In the context of Western military interventions in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and the Yemen, the question of loyalties has become increasingly salient in contemporary popular and official political discourse, particularly in relation to Muslims. By exploring how Muslims juggled divergent loyalties in the context of the First World War, I address the parallel ebbs and flows of what being ‘loyal’ meant in practice and its relevance in contemporary Britain. Then as now, issues of identity and loyalty were very important concerns for Muslims. Throughout the War and in its aftermath, Muslims were forced to reconcile their ethnic, religious, and other affiliations at community and individual levels, buffeted (at least to some degree) by rapid change, compelling them to adapt and negotiate, consciously as well as unconsciously. It is argued that loyalties of Muslims, whether combatants or civilians, during and after the War were multiple and largely instrumentalist, contextual and contractual, and that these competed and intersected with each other.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMinorities and the First World War
Subtitle of host publicationFrom War to Peace
EditorsHannah Ewence, Tim Grady
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-53975-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-53974-8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017

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