The New York Times recently declared that they are righting their public record since “obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. With ‘Overlooked,’ we’re adding the stories of remarkable people whose deaths went unreported.” And featured last week was Noor Inayat Khan, who was not only a female British spy during World War II, but she was also Muslim.
Ms. Khan was a Sufi pacifist and therefore an unlikely candidate to spy for Britain against the Nazis. She trained for the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce and was later recruited as a secret agent for the Special Operations Executive (SOE). In 1943, she became the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France. Tragically, she was betrayed by a French woman, and was shot and killed by the SS at Dachau concentration camp.
According to the Times, “Her work had become crucial to the war effort, helping airmen escape and allowing important deliveries to come in.” Biographer Shrabani Basu wrote in her biography Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan, “Her transmissions became the only link between the agents around the Paris area and London.”
The obit mentions the recent news about the push from British politicians and historians for Ms. Khan to be the face of the £50 note , and also cited UPF’s PBS’s docu-drama “Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story.”