IN mid 19th century, Ireland was engulfed in a terrible famine. One million people lost their lives. The plight is now commonly referred to as ‘The Great Hunger’. Foreign aid played a vital role in providing assistance to the afflicted. One of the most noteworthy donors was the Muslim Ottoman Caliph, Abdul Mejid, who is reported to have pledged £10,000 in aid. However, after being warned about the danger of sending more money than the £2000 Queen Victoria of Britain donated to her own Kingdom, the Muslim Caliph reduced the aid to £1000.
The Caliph understood that the limited aid he had sent would not be effective enough. Thus, he also sent 3 ships full of food and additional monetary funds in secret, which the British officials blocked. After being refused entry into the ports of Dublin and Belfast, Ottoman sailors secretly unloaded the food in Drogheda, a small town North of Dublin. To commemorate this act of kindness, the Mayor of Drogheda, Alderman Frank Goddfrey, paid tribute to Caliph Abdel Mejid in May 1995 and erected a plaque in his honour. The appreciation is further exemplified in the crest of the Drogheda United football club, which features a star and crescent moon. [Source: Islam21c]