Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Noor Inayat Khan - Remembrance Day Talk @ Trinity College

John Marais (our Acting Chair) is helping arrange a talk at Trinity College timed for Remembrance Day.

The subject is Noor Inayat Khan, a woman of Indian descent, coming from a prominent Sufi Muslim family, who was brought up mostly in Paris. At the outbreak of war her family fled to England, where she joined the WAAF as a radio operator and was eventually asked by the Special Operations Executive if she would be an undercover agent with the resistance in Paris. She agreed, went and did valuable work (like arranging the escape of about 30 allied airmen who'd been shot down), but got caught by the Gestapo and executed in Dachau. She was awarded the George Cross posthumously (like Violette Szabo) but there is no proper memorial to her yet. Her biographer, Shrabani Basu, has been campaigning for that, and after a bit of parliamentary pressure led by Valerie Vaz MP, permission was granted, and a bust is to be made by the same sculptress who did one for Szabo, to be situated in Gordon Square where Noor lived for a while. About £60,000 is needed to pay for it all though, so the talk is in part for fund-raising for that - free admission but 'donations welcome'.

With a pig's head being dumped outside a Cambridge mosque recently, the story of a devout muslim who volunteered for almost certain death (life expectancy of underground radio operators - average 6 weeks) to defend democracy against the Nazis is well worth highlighting.

It'll be at 6.30pm, at the Winstanley Lecture Theatre (access via Whewell's Court, opposite Trinity Great Gate), November 11th. Please pass this on to anyone you think may be interested.

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