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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Muslim Woman Is Included In UK Remarkable Lives Stamps

In line with commemorating centenary year for the start of World War 1, the UK's Royal Mail has announced the release of ten stamps, each of which recognises the accomplishments of seven men and three women born in 1914. The 'remarkable lives' stamps series includes Dylan Thomas, a famous Welsh poet, Roy Plomley, the BBC radio broadcaster who created Desert Island Discs, and Barbara Ward who urged governments to share their wealth with the poor. Also in the new set of stamps is a lesser-known personality; is Noor Inayat Khan. Noor is the only Muslim include in this list. She was born in Moscow to an American mother and an Indian father. A descendant of Indian Royalty, her family first moved to England and then Paris. They returned to London when the city was in 1940. here she joined Women Auxiliary Air Force and then was recruited in 1942 to the Special Operations Executive (SOE), an elite spy squad. Initially known as Nora Baker Khan, Noor was given the code name Madaleine, and in 1943 she was the first female radio operator to be flown secretly into Nazi-occupied Paris; this despite an SOE report stating she was "unsuited to work in her field." From Paris she transmitted numerous radio messages back to London saving many lives. For a period of time, she was only link between the UK and French Resistance. Aged just 30, Noor managed to evade to capture for three months but eventually was betrayed by French collaborators and was arrested. She tried twice to escape while in Paris, and considered being too difficult, was eventually moved to Germany. Despite being tortured, Noor revealed nothing about her mission or even her real name. She was eventually executed by German Gestapo in 1944, in Dachahu concentration camp. Before her execution by a shot in the back of her head, her last word was "Liberte". Britain awarded her George Cross and France awarded Noor the Croix de Guerre . Author Sharabani Basu wrote a book about Noor entitled "Spy Princess: The Life Of Noor Inayat Khan". Basu compaigned for a monument in honour of Khan's efforts, unveiled by Princess Anne in London's Gordon Square Gardens in November 2012.

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