At a time when stories of Muslim-Jewish unity are far and few between comes the story of a Muslim woman who went undercover to fight the Nazis in occupied France.
Noorunissa Inayat Khan was born in Moscow in 1914 to an Indian Sufi father and an American mother, whose brother Pierre Bernard (née Perry Baker) introduced yoga to the U.S., and whose cousin Mary Baker Eddy founded Christian Science. Khan’s family escaped the Russian revolution and settled first in London and later in France, where she was raised in a devoutly Muslim home where her mother wrote poetry and her father received Sufi students and followers.
A 2014 film, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story, tells the story of what came next for Khan.
When the Germans occupied Paris in 1940, Khan fled to England where she volunteered to fight for the British war effort. She trained as a wireless telegraph operator for the Resistance—one of the most dangerous jobs in the special ops, because signals were easily traced. Khan worked successfully undercover for several years, until she was arrested and eventually killed in Dachau in September 1944.
May her memory be for a blessing.