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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Funeral held for 'hero of Islam'
L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi
L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi was killed in southern Afghanistan
Dozens of comrades of the first British Muslim soldier to be killed in Afghanistan joined family and friends to say farewell to a "hero of Islam".

At least 400 people attended Saturday's funeral for Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi, 24, at the Central Jamia Mosque in Small Heath, Birmingham.

The soldier's coffin was draped in a gold and green cloth bearing a quotation from the Koran.

The non-military funeral was followed by a private burial service.

Among those present was his commanding officer in the Intelligence Corps, Lt Col Steve Vickery and the Muslim Chaplain for the Armed Forces, Imam Asim Hafiz.

L/Cpl Hashmi, from Bordesley Green, Birmingham, was killed last Saturday in Sangin, Helmand Province, in an attack which also claimed the life of Corporal Peter Thorpe.

Both men's bodies were flown back to Britain on Friday and relatives of L/Cpl Hashmi and Cpl Thorpe, 27, were at RAF Brize Norton for the repatriation ceremony.

He felt privileged to represent the Army as a Muslim British Pakistani
Family statement

His uncle, Mohammed Javed, said earlier this week: "My nephew is a hero of Islam, Pakistan, Britain and the international community who sacrificed his life for a noble cause."

A total of six British soldiers have died in the turbulent Helmand province in recent weeks.

The latest was 19-year-old paratrooper Private Damien Jackson, from South Shields, whose unit was ambushed during a foot patrol in Sangin on Wednesday.

A service was held for L/Cpl Hashmi in his birthplace in Peshawar, near the Afghan border in Pakistan, on Thursday.

Cpl Peter Thorpe
Cpl Peter Thorpe also died in the grenade attack

He had joined up in 2004 and was posted to the Royal Signals in January.

His commanding officer Lt Col Vickery described him as "enthusiastic, confident and immensely popular".

He praised his enthusiasm and the skills he brought to his role "providing protection for his comrades in the highly demanding working conditions of southern Afghanistan".

A family statement spoke of his pride at joining the army.

"Jabron wanted to join the British army as a young boy growing up in Pakistan," it said.

"He was proud of his role as a serving soldier and looked forward to his deployment in Afghanistan.

"He felt privileged to represent the Army as a Muslim British Pakistani who wanted to use his background and position to contribute at a time where there exists a lack of understanding of cultures, ideologies and religious identities."

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