Birmingham Central Mosque, the largest mosque in Western Europe, today (THURS 5 OCT) became the first mosque in the West Midlands to show its support for the military by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.Senior representatives from the Army, Navy, Royal Air Force and the region’s Muslim community gathered at the mosque in Highgate to witness the signing which heralds the growing relationship between the two communities.Mr Muhammad Afzal, chairman of the mosque, made the pledge in a show of support from the Muslim community for the service the military provides, alongside Colonel Richard Maybery, Deputy Commander of Donnington, Telford, based 11 th Signal and West Midlands Brigade.Speaking at the event, Mr Afzal said: “It gives me great pleasure to have signed the Covenant with the British Armed Forces on behalf of Birmingham Central Mosque.“I hope this agreement will further strengthen our relationship with the Armed Forces to bring more respect and mutual understanding between the Muslim community and other communities living in the UK.” army.mod.uk/pressoffice | twitter.com/armypressoffice Colonel Maybery said he was delighted to co-sign the Armed Forces Covenant with the Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, and very much appreciated the support from the Mosque for the Armed Forces.He added: “One of the reasons for the signing is to publicly demonstrate the mutual respect between the Armed Forces and the Museum Community in the West Midlands and nationally.“It underlines our desire to develop our mutual understanding and to better integrate the Armed Forces with the Muslim community. I very much look forward to working with the Mosque in the future.’ Mr Asim Hafiz, Islamic Religious Advisor to the Ministry of Defence, said The Armed Forces Covenant was a demonstration of the partnership and friendship between the Armed Forces and the community.“The Birmingham Central Mosque has taken an important practical step to promote this kind of positive interaction and co-operation by signing the Covenant,” he added.“It has never been more crucial for communities and institutions to come together and show how we can get along with and respect each other. I therefore whole-heartedly commend this signing." Major Naveed Muhammad, MBE, Chairman of the Armed Forces Muslim Association and serving British Army Officer said: “It is fantastic to see the Birmingham Central Mosque honour the selfless sacrifice of the British Armed Forces by signing the Armed Forces Covenant; I would encourage all institutions to follow suit.“The British Muslim community has a long history of contributing towards the security of our nation and there is not a single major conflict in which Muslim soldiers have not fought and died for our country.“Britain has always embraced multiculturalism and the Armed Forces have and will always continue efforts to reflect this diversity.” army.mod.uk/pressoffice | twitter.com/armypressoffice The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.Leicester’s Central Mosque became the first in the UK to sign the covenant in September last year, and in December 2016, Nottingham’s Karima Mosque followed suit, formally recognising the important role which the Armed Forces play in the UK and abroad and supporting their work.The covenant is a voluntary pledge from businesses, charities and other organisations to show their support for the armed forces community. It commits businesses to employing service leavers and families, giving them appropriate training and support, as well as ensuring Reserves also receive support in their commitment.Ms Siamha Butt, Head of Engagement for the West Midland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (RFCA), who also attended the event, said it symbolised the deeper links between the region’s Muslim community and the military.“Birmingham Central Mosque have been a fantastic example of social cohesion and integration in the West Midlands and have been engaging strongly with the region’s Army, Navy and Air Force units, which is why I am delighted that they have taken this step to demonstrate their support and commitment and cemented their relationship further by means of the Armed Forces Covenant,” she added.The covenant signing was also attended by other West Midlands representatives from the military including Lieutenant Commander Jason Humphries from Birmingham based HMS Forward and Sergeant Nicola Tait, of 605 Royal Auxillary Airforce Squadron (County of Warwickshire) based at RAF Cosford. Report By S M Irfan Tahir Photojournalist National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Great Britain.