A new documentary has uncovered the untold story of Australia’s Muslim soldiers during World War II, revealing the contributions and sacrifices made by these servicemen long decades ago.
Releasing his new film, Crescent Under The Southern Cross: Saluting Our Muslim Anzacs, researcher Dr James Barry revealed the old roots of Muslim population as part of the Anzac legend.
“It breaks that stereotype of Muslims as a recent group arriving in Australia in the past 30 or 40 years, and the stereotype of Muslims being not really interested in contributing to Australia,” Dr. Barry from Deakin University told Australian Associated Press.
Theose soldiers came from all over the world including Albania, Indonesia, and Malaysia and joined service during WWII.
“These men were adventurous, they came from small villages all the way to Australia, a country which wasn’t very welcoming to them at the time and also was isolating for them,” Dr Barry said.
Paid the same as others in the Special Forces, those Muslim soldiers, however, lived in separate areas of the army camp as they did not drink alcohol and followed a halal diet.
One of them was Laver Xhemali, a Muslim soldier featured in the film who came from a poor village in southern Albania at the age of 15.
Xhemali became the first Australian Muslim soldier to have the crescent and star emblem on his military grave when he died in 1991 at the age of 70.