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The following is a collection of News Articles, going
back to 2004, concerning Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan, GC,CdG,MBE

Viewing Page 1 of 9 (Total Entries: 81)

April 19th 2016
01:01:55 PM
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How an Indian Sufi teacher left an imprint on Claude Debussy (and western classical music)
The famous French composer\'s fascination with the Orient deepened after he met the pioneering Hazrat Inayat Khan.

No matter how many times the story of Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927) is told, it’s always fascinating. He was the great-great-grandson of Tipu Sultan, the “Tiger of Mysore”. He was the father of Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, a British espionage agent and the first female radio operator to be sent into German-occupied France to aid the Resistance. He founded the mystical Sufi Order of the West. He was a trained Northern Indian classical musician. And, unknown to many, he was an influence on western classical music, in particular the music of French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918).

Scottish pianist and musicologist Roy Howat has looked closely at the influence of the Orient on the music of Debussy. In his book Debussy in Proportion: A Musical Analysis, and in his essay Debussy and the Orient in the book Recovering the Orient, Howat describes a meeting between Debussy and Inayat Khan in May 1913. The introduction had been made by a mutual friend, the pianist Walter Rummel, while Inayat Khan and his family of musicians were on a performance tour of Europe and America.

In a letter to Rummel, Debussy recounted that the musicians chose a day to play for him at their convenience but the performance’s time was almost predetermined – “around 5 o’clock, which I understand is their usual time”.

Inayat Khan’s youngest brother Musharaff Khan, who was also present there, described the encounter. He remembered Debussy calling it “the evening of emotions”. After hearing their performance, Debussy “sat down at the piano and played, calling out titles that resembled the descriptive names of the ragas” that had been played by Inayat Khan and his musicians. The titles apparently included “rainy season”, “spring” and autumn”.

Could it be that these were Debussy’s “Jardins sous la pluie” (his third Estampe), a piano reduction of “Printemps” (an orchestral work that premiered just a month before), and “Feuilles mortes”, his newly-published prelude?

Use of the Indian palette

Debussy’s fascination with the Orient predated his meeting with Inayat Khan. Among his close friends were ethnomusicologists and Oriental scholars Edmond Bailly and Louis Laloy. Besides, during the Expositions Universelles in 1889 and 1900, which exposed the Parisian public to the cultural treasures of the exotic East, Debussy had famously fallen under the spell of Javanese gamelan music. Perhaps during this time he was also exposed to Indian music.

His love of the visual arts would, surely, have left him impressed by the Indian raga, which in addition to “melody” also means “colour”, “hue”. In a raga, the musician progressively paints an aural canvas using not just a prescribed mode or scale, but a set order in which the notes are introduced for the first time.

In the first movement of Debussy’s 1905 orchestral work La Mer (“De l’aube à midi sur la mer”), there are many references to this: the repeated falling fifth of the bass ostinato line reminds of the Indian tanpura; the fragments of a pentatonic melody played by the woodwinds, with parallel fifths and avoidance of major third intervals, give the work a decidedly Asian mood; and the gradual addition of the “blue” notes is in the manner that an Indian musician would develop a raga.

Perhaps Debussy intentionally chose an Indian palette to colour this movement which charts the progress of the sun from east to west. The title, which translates to “From dawn to noon on the sea”, is unusual for conventional western music in that it specifies a time of day. But for ragas, which are defined by a time of day or night, or mood or mode, the title is commonplace.

It is believed that Inayat and Musharaff Khan helped Debussy through his creative crisis in the years 1913-1915. According to Dutch pianist Hakeem van Lohuizen, who accompanied Musharaff Khan on recordings of Sufi Songs, musical echoes of Inayat Khan’s music can be heard in Debussy’s 1913 ballet for children “La boîte à joujoux” (The Toy Box) and his anti-war offering, Berceuse heroïque (1915).

Excerpted From:


March 18th 2016
09:50:11 PM
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Indian-origin student wins first Noor Inayat Khan Prize in London

Geetakshi Arora of SOAS South Asia Institute has won the first \'Noor Inayat Khan Prize\' for her MA dissertation. (Photo: Facebook)

London: An Indian-origin student was awarded the inaugural Noor Inayat Khan Prize consisting of 1,000 pounds for a dissertation which was in “keeping with the spirit” of the famous World War II heroine.

Geetakshi Arora of SOAS South Asia Institute has won the first Noor Inayat Khan Prize, the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust announced in London on Thursday.

The Trust is awarding the annual prize to the post-graduate student from SOAS, University of London, working in the area of gender studies and South Asian history.

The prize which consists of 1,000 pounds and a certificate -- is for a dissertation which is in keeping with the spirit of Noor Inayat Khan, a descendant of Tipu Sultan.

“We are delighted to award the prize to Geetakshi for her excellent dissertation. We hope the annual award keeps the memory of Noor Inayat Khan alive in the student community,” said Shrabani Basu, founder and chair of the trust.

Noor was born in Moscow in 1914 to Indian father Hazrat Inayat Khan and American mother Ora Ray Baker. She was a secret agent in World War II and was sent behind enemy lines. She operated from Paris, doing crucial work for the allies.

Noor was betrayed, arrested and killed in Dachau Concentration Camp at the age of 30.

Her last word was ‘Liberte’.

Noor was a Sufi and believed in non-violence and religious harmony. Hazrat Inayat Khan was a descendant of Tipu Sultan, the famous 18th-century ruler of the kingdom of Mysore.

In November 2012, after a high-profile campaign by the Trust, Princess Anne unveiled a memorial to Noor in Gordon Square in London, near the house where she lived.

The Square, which is part of the University of London, is often visited by students.

Geetakshi was presented the award in Delhi by Michael Hu, head of SOAS South Asia Institute.



January 27th 2016
01:15:54 PM
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‘I am your protector:’ Muslims who defended Jews during Holocaust honored

By Nabila Pathan Special to Al Arabiya English Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Today is International Holocaust Day and cities across the U.S and Europe will be hosting special events to honor the Muslim heroes who risked their own lives to save Jews during one of the worst genocides in history.

Unveiling the often unknown and rarely talked about Muslim protectors during World War II, New York, Washington, Geneva and Tirana in Albania will be holding interfaith ceremonies, sharing testimonies of the protectors during the Holocaust along with candle lighting ceremonies.

Prominent faith leaders such as Imam Khalid Latif, Rabbi Jehuda Sarna as well as a Holocaust survivor, Johanna Neumann, who was rescued by Muslims during World War II, will be taking part.

In addition, New York will showcase the testimonies through a theatre performance by the Living Theatre, whilst in Tirana, Prince Leka Zog II, will recount the story of his grandfather, King Ahmed Zog I of Albania who saved thousands of Jews during World War II. Albania was the only European country to have a higher number of Jews after the war ended than before it began.

A message of unity

International campaign group, I Am Your Protector (IAYP), which launched in October last year to celebrate those who stand up for each other across religious, racial and gender lines, promoting a message of unity, have been responsible for organizing today\'s events.

The campaign group have already garnered more than 14,000 Facebook members since launching and are collecting testimonies of protectors worldwide to be part of a Protectors’ Database, while campaign material for exhibitions are provided to universities, schools, museums and religious communities, among others.

\"Even more so in times of rising hate and discrimination we wanted to share stories that showed that we always have a choice including in the darkest moments to not be bystanders nor stay silent\" Dani Laurence, team leader of IAYP told Al Arabiya English.

\"The way Muslims are often portrayed in the media, public discourses can lead to fear and hatred. I Am Your Protector highlights Muslim Protectors and gives a platform for people to create posters of Protectors on our website.\"

\"In parallel we want to highlight non-Muslims who protect Muslims for example Churches and Synagogues who take a stand and take action to counter hatred and Islamophobia.\"

Some of these protectors, who either risked their lives to shelter displaced Jewish families or helped transport them to safety during World War II have been highlighted by I Am Your Protector for their bravery and humanitarian instincts.

Some of these include Khaled Abdul Wahab from Tunisia who ferried two dozen Jews in his van to safety, Noor Inayat Khan, who was executed for helping Jews during World War II; and Ismail Necdet Kent who provided Turkish citizenship documents to Turkish Jews in order to save them from the gas chambers.

To discover more stories of protectors you can visit



October 14th 2015
10:41:28 AM
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Agent’s radio work vital for Britain’s war effort

SHE was about to be executed at the infamous Dachau concentration camp in Germany when she managed one last act of resistance.

Ordered to kneel down beside fellow members of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Noor Inayat Khan shouted “Liberte” as the Nazi firing squad raised their weapons.

Noor was one of many agents who received some of their training at SOE’s “finishing school” on the Beaulieu Estate.

She was the first female wireless operator to be parachuted into Nazi-occupied France and sent her first message within 72 hours, a feat never before achieved by an agent in the field.

Now the estate, home of the National Motor Museum, is honouring Noor by hosting an exhibition called Liberte, the last word she ever spoke.

The famous wartime agent had an Indian father and was descended from the legendary ruler of Mysore, a kingdom in southern India.

She was born in Russia on January 1 1914 but spent much of her early life in Paris. Her fluent French made her an ideal recruit for SOE, established by Winston Churchill in 1940 to carry out sabotage and subversion behind enemy lines.

On May 9 1943 Noor arrived at Beaulieu, where she was forced to endure mock interrogations as part of her training.

She was flown to France the following month but many of the people she was due to work with were arrested by the Germans, leaving her as SOE’s sole radio operator in Paris.

She told her bosses in London and was urged to return but decided instead to remain in France and help re-establish the network.

Noor did the work of six radio operators, becoming one of London’s key agents in France, and had been transmitting for almost four months when a replacement was finally found.

Arrangements were made for her to fly back on October 14 – but she never saw England again.

Returning to her flat she was confronted by a German officer and a violent struggle ensued. Noor was overpowered and could only stand and watch as the Nazis seized her transmitter and a notebook full of codes.

She was interrogated using various tactics ranging from gentle persuasion to violent threats – but gave nothing away.

On November 25 she was sent to Pforzheim prison in Germany, where she was shackled and kept in solitary confinement.

Ten months later she was transferred to Dachau and brutally tortured. The next day she and three fellow SOE agents were told to kneel down before being shot in the head. She died on September 13 1944, aged 30.

Noor had been given a life expectancy of just six weeks when she arrived in France.

A Beaulieu spokesman said: “She was successful for a while, outwitting the Gestapo by changing her appearance and transmitting from varied locations, but was eventually captured.

“She was kept in isolation, interrogated and tortured. She revealed nothing and ten months later was taken to Dachau and executed.”

Noor was posthumously awarded the two highest civilian honours that can be bestowed by Britain and France – the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre.

The exhibition is on until October 23.


Click HERE for the National Motor Museum


June 20th 2015
09:54:02 PM
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Click HERE for web page exploring the \"Oneness of the Human Family\"


January 7th 2015
12:55:21 AM
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The Documentary - Codename: Madeleine

NOTE: Click on the above photo to listen to this BBC World Service Documentary

Noor Inayat Khan was one of the most courageous, unusual secret agents of World War Two.

Growing up in Paris under the influence of her Indian father, a famous Sufi teacher and musician, she had an idyllic upbringing, playing the harp, writing stories for children. In the June of 1940 though, as the Germans approached Paris, Noor fled to Britain – and this is where her adventure begins.

She was determined that even as a Muslim of mixed origin and as someone with Sufi pacifist beliefs, she would commit to the British war effort. Signing up with the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce as a trainee radio operator she soon caught the attention of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), Churchill’s secret organisation, designed ‘to set Europe ablaze’, and she was recruited as an agent. With her fluent French and her radio skills, Noor was in some ways a prime candidate, but she was also gentle and naive, incapable of lying and unsuited to this ‘ministry of ungentlemanly warfare’. Despite mixed training reports, Noor was the first British female radio operator flown into occupied Paris.

But within days of her arrival, her SOE network was blown. Noor was on her own. She managed to elude the Gestapo for nearly three months, carrying out vital SOE work, but was eventually captured. She revealed nothing under interrogation but her meticulously filed codebook was also seized – a fatal mistake that cost lives. Noor was finally executed in Dachau, 1944. She was just 30.

Shahidha Bari uncovers Khan’s story. As a British Muslim herself, Shahidha looks at Khan’s unusual background and asks how Khan’s race and religion impacted her work and how relevant she is to modern multicultural Britain.

(Photo: Memorial of Noor Inayat Khan in central London)


September 30th 2014
02:01:32 PM
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Heroism of Indian Muslim woman in World War II inspires today
By Teresa Stepzinski

The quiet, unwavering heroism of a young Indian Muslim woman who sacrificed her life to fight against Nazi domination during World War II offers lessons of faith, courage and inspiration as relevant now as it was back then, say those who heard her story Sunday.

“It really makes you think. What would I do in a situation like that? … I hope I would have had her courage,” said K.C. Emerson of Jacksonville, who decided at the last minute Sunday afternoon to attend the screening of “Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story” followed by a panel discussion at the University of North Florida’s Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Theater.

The film is the true story of Khan, who sacrificed her life to fight against Nazi domination during World War II. The daughter of an American mother and Indian Muslim father, Khan grew up in a home that nurtured interfaith dialogue and cooperation at a Sufi center of learning in Paris.

In early 1943, she was recruited as a covert operative into Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive. By then Khan had trained as a wireless operator in Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. As a covert agent, Khan was instrumental to the French Underground’s direct attack on Nazi units in preparation for the Allies’ D-Day invasions.

In August 1943, Khan was the last surviving clandestine radio operator in Paris and signaled London for additional weapons and explosives for the French underground. Khan ultimately was captured and executed at Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp in Germany.

On Sunday, Emerson was among Northeast Florida residents as well as UNF students nearly filling the theater for the screening and panel discussion, part of the 2014 Distinguished Voices Lecture Series. The program co-hosted by UNF and Better Together at UNF, a student organization composed of religiously diverse students with a mission of mobilizing their peers to voice their values, engage with others, and act together to make the world a better place.

“It’s an exploration into meaning and purpose of life, and what values might be worth risking it,” Tarah Trueblood, director of UNF Interfaith Center, said of the program.

Such dialogue, she said, is especially crucial now, given the conflict in the Middle East and fear generated by ISIS and other terrorist groups.

“Peace happens one relationship at a time. And getting to know your neighbor can be that one big step you take today,” said Trueblood, adding sometimes that can take a lot of courage to reach out to our neighbors if they are different from us.

“We want our politicians to make peace or somebody else to make peace. But making peace takes us going over to our neighbors and getting to know them,” Trueblood said.

Refusing an order to return to England, Khan stayed in Paris and continued radioing information to the Allies after all her comrades were captured by the Nazis.

“In her case, she just had the determination. She had come with these people, bonded with these people and they had all been captured, but she didn’t want their sacrifice to be meaningless. In retrospect, it was a giant decision to make because it led to her ultimately being killed. But at the time, it was a small decision of heroism,” Kronemer said. “That’s really where I think heroes are made. … Today, what are the small decisions of heroism that we’re making?”

Parvez Ahmed, a faculty mentor and UNF professor, encouraged the audience to continue the conversation sparked Sunday through the program.

“I want us to draw upon the inspiration that Noor gave us through our life and our sacrifices. It would be nice if we could all go beyond the lip service that we often give such inspiration and do something that is actually long-lasting and sustainable,” Ahmed said.

To that end, Ahmed said the UNF Interfaith Center is instituting a service award to be presented annually to one or more deserving students. In the form of a scholarship, it will be the Noor Inayat Khan Interfaith Service Award, he said.

Excerpted From:


September 28th 2014
12:41:25 AM
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Not your average princess
Sharmila Ganesan Ram

It takes a secure man to admit he cried through the story of a princess. But then, Noor Inayat Khan wasn\'t a regular princess with cute problems. A descendant of Tipu Sultan, she a was British spy who was shot dead at a concentration camp at age 30 during World War II. In her interview with the British military, the excruciatingly honest Khan had openly said that she wanted to fight for India\'s Independence after the war.

\"That\'s almost like applying to work at a construction site and saying you plan on tearing the building down afterwards,\" says Jason Porath, an American animator who wept as he recently visualized the secret agent\'s gritty last few months.

Shackled in chains by the Gestapo, Khan, who worked as a radio operator in France, would endure beatings daily, scratch out messages at the back of food bowls to identify herself to new inmates and feed lies to the Germans. Just before she was executed, Khan was said to have uttered the word, \"Liberte\".

That is the kind of princess that 32-year-old Porath likes to draw, honour and resurrect online every Wednesday. On his blog \'The Rejected Princesses\', the self-taught illustrator gives a Disney makeover to women from history and mythology who are \"too dark, awful or awesome for kids\' movies\". The list includes transgender Native-American Osh-Tisch, serial-killer princess Fredegund and even Sita.

As someone who animates effects for Dream-Works, Porath has sympathy for big animation studios because they have to appeal to a huge audience. But as a feminist and mythology nerd who grew up admiring layered Japanese heroines like Princess Mononoke, their approach irked him. \"There should be room for edgier characterizations in these heroines,\" he says, \"even if they don\'t make a billion dollars.\"

This restlessness was fanned by a lunch conversation over an article which argued that the Frozen princesses weren\'t good role models. \"Who is the least likely candidate for an animated princess you can think of ?\" he asked his Facebook pals. The flood of suggestions, from the sexually-precocious Lolita to Iceni warrior queen Boudicca, gave shape to the idea of the blog.

Here, not only do his illustrations come with deliciously, reckless American prose (\"for 90% of the book, it\'s basically Mario/Princess/Browser via Tarantino,\" he writes about the Ramayana) but also snappy art notes. \"The project is my art school,\" says the film criticism graduate who has no background in illustration and yet manages to cram background, perspective and even subtext in to each artwork. Irish mythology figure Etain, for instance, is rolling her eyes because Porath figured she\'d be annoyed at being traded around.

\"I gather as much visual reference as possible,\" says Porath, who refers to scholarly works and criticism for a rounded view of the character\'s life. That\'s perhaps why Porath\'s Sita is leaping into a pit of lava in a Bollywood-esque pose, while giving Rama the finger. \"I wanted the image to be a moment of strength for her,\" says the Los-Angeles-based animator, who read the Ramayana during a visit to Goa and was transfixed by it. \"In my mind, her return to the earth was a repudiation of how Rama had treated her.\"

Given the varied cultural nuances these women embody, he is cautious. \"It\'s very easy to come off as tone deaf with this sort of thing,\" admits Porath, who found Osh-Tisch, the Native-American transgender warrior tricky to draw because of the issues surrounding gender, sex, and representation in that story. In such cases, he invites help. While a lot of historians send him helpful corrections, Porath\'s blog has also received flattery. \"One person even asked for permission to use one of my designs as a tattoo,\" says the animator, whose entry on Sikh warrior saint Mai Bhago was shared by many members of the community.

What doesn\'t cease to astound Porath, who has 600 more princesses on his list, is the sheer number of women who took up the sword \"and kicked butt\". \"India is home to a huge number,\" he says, citing Abbakka Devi, the Jain Queen of Ullal who fought the Portuguese and Onake Obavva, who single-handedly took on the forces of Hyder Ali with a pestle.

Excerpted From:

Click HERE to read a Jason Porath\'s article entitled: \"Noor Inayat Khan - The Spy Princess\"


September 25th 2014
09:39:37 AM
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Noor Inayat Khan: The Muslim WWII heroine who helped Jews
By Tanveer Khadim Published: September 24, 2014

Noor Inayat Khan will remain a source of inspiration for females as her astonishing life tells us that a woman can be a war heroine; she can sacrifice her life in the line of duty.

Noorunnisa Inayat Khan, also known as Madeleine or Nora Baker, a Muslim woman who is known for her valour and fearlessness during the World War II, was introduced to the world in the recent docudrama, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story, played by an Indian-American actress, Grace Srinivasan.

It is based on the chronicles of Khan as a British secret spy in Nazi occupied Paris, France. The year 2014 has been chosen for the release because it marks Khan’s 100th birthday and 70th anniversary of the D-Day.

Filmed in Baltimore, the 60-minutes-long biographical docudrama is produced by Alex Kronemer with Michael Wolfe and directed by three times Emmy award winner and an Academy Award Nominee, Robert H Gardner, whose prominent works include The Courage to Care, Egypt: Quest for Immortality and Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land. It is narrated by an Academy award winning actress, Helen Mirren. The dramatised story gives detailed information about Khan’s short but noteworthy life.

Khan was born on January 2, 1914, in Russia, to an Indian Sufi master and musician, Hazrat Inayat Khan and an American mother, Ora Ray Baker. Khan’s father was a descendent of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore. Her family fled to England after the Nazis invaded France in 1940. There, she joined Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as a wireless operator. In 1943, she was posted to Directorate of Air Intelligence, as a covert agent for Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) and was flown to France under the hidden identity of Jeanne-Marie Regnier, Assistant Section Officer and Ensign.

The work of the SOE was to help the French forces for preparations of D-Day invasion and Khan clandestinely transmitted vital information back to Britain. After the arrest of her entire network by Gestapo, she became the only connection between Britain and France – synchronising sensitive work and was labelled as the most wanted British agent. She was eventually arrested and interrogated by the Nazis but she never revealed her identity. She tried to escape from her captors but failed, and so she was sent to the notorious Dachau concentration camp in Germany as a result. On September 13, 1944, she was executed by a gunshot in her head. Her last word was ‘liberte’ (freedom).

Noor Inayat Khan was posthumously awarded by Britain and France; including a George Cross award and Croix de Guerre with a gold star. A plaque in her memory hangs at Dachau and a memorial statue was placed in her honour in London’s Gordon Square in 2012.

WWII is considered to be the deadliest war in human history that left a profound impact on the international arena. It reshaped the map of the world, particularly the Arab world, resulting in the emergence of a Jew state – Israel. Millions of civilians lost their lives; power poles shifted and paved the way for the Cold War. The United Nations came into effect in 1945 to resolve disputes. And the US and western countries created the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). During such turbulent times; there was an understanding between the Jews and the Muslims, an understanding we don’t see today.

Very few people are aware of the role of Muslims in WWII; how they played a significant role by providing safety to Jews against Nazi oppression. The Grand Mosque in Paris gave protection to Jewish cabaret singer, Simon Halali and the Franco-Muslim Hospital provided shelter to people, irrespective of their faith. Likewise, Algerian Muslim immigrants fought along with French troops.

This docudrama, therefore, defies the allegations that Muslims are anti-Semitic. It demonstrates that Muslims and Jews can work together for a better cause. Khan’s laudable anecdote gives a vital message to both Muslims and other communities to have a good understanding of what Islam really stands for. Amidst the on-going Israel-Palestine conflict, this movie makes one wonder whether this animosity is inherent. History shows us that Muslims helped the Jews in times of need and never really protested till their land was being taken over.

Excerpted from: From:

Click HERE to read a NEW article entitled: \"Noor Inayat Khan - The Spy Princess\"


September 14th 2014
06:54:26 AM
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One Woman, Many Surprises: Pacifist Muslim, British Spy, WWII Hero
by NPR Staff

Noor Inayat Khan, one of the heroines of World War II, had a short, astonishing life, one that took her from a pacifist childhood to a daring career in covert operations. She was a Muslim woman who worked as a British spy — a radio operator — in Nazi-occupied Paris.

A new docudrama about her, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story,appeared on PBS.

Alex Kronemer, executive producer of the film, calls Inayat Khan \"a very unlikely British agent\" — in part because of her spiritual background. Born in Moscow in 1914, Inayat Khan was the daughter of an American mother and an Indian father. Her father, a Sufi Muslim who preached tolerance and believed all religions were one, raised his daughter as a pacifist.

\"A woman who grew up raised not to lie, raised to be a pacifist — and yet here she was doing one of the most dangerous missions available in the war and doing it when many other people backed away,\" Kronemer tells NPR\'s Arun Rath.




Viewing Page 1 of 9 (Total Entries: 81)

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