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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 13:09 GMT
War memorial stone laid by family
L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi
The family of L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi will help lay the stone
The family of the first British Muslim soldier killed in Afghanistan have laid a foundation stone at a new national war memorial in Staffordshire.

Relatives of L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi, from Birmingham, laid the stone at the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield marking war dead since 1945.

In a speech L/Cpl Hashmi's sister called for greater cultural harmony.

Staff from RAF Cosford in Shropshire are also starting a recreation of the Long March through Poland.

L/Cpl Hashmi, 24, from Bordesley Green, was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Sangin, southern Afghanistan, in July last year.

Let us hope that coming generations do not have to face the same level of difficulties
L/Cpl Hashmi's sister Zoubia

He was the first British Muslim soldier to be killed on active service since the start of the "war on terror".

The attack also claimed the life of Cpl Peter Thorpe.

Members of L/Cpl Hashmi's family laid the stone along with James Hawley, the Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire.

The memorial will list the names of all 16,000 UK servicemen and women killed serving their country since World War II.

Addressing the ceremony, L/Cpl Hashmi's sister Zoubia said: "Let us hope that lives sacrificed in recent conflicts will help achieve a greater degree of peace worldwide and promote a better understanding between different religious ideologies and cultural identities.

March reconstruction

"Let us hope that coming generations do not have to face the same level of difficulties generated from misunderstandings and bigotries that we are facing today.

"Let us honour the memories of those, whose names are soon to be inscribed on this memorial, by pledging that we shall dismantle the barriers that seem to exist in all aspects of society."

A total of 60 people from RAF Cosford near Telford are also beginning a recreation of the Long March through Poland made by Allied prisoners of war in 1945.

The staff and trainees from the base begin walking the same route of the march from Germany to Poland on Tuesday.

The reconstruction, which lasts until 27 January, will raise money for the arboretum.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi died in Afghanistan



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