AN Islamic school in Blackburn will become the first in the country to have its own army cadet force.

Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School has been granted approval from the British Army to start the cadet force for teenage boys.

The move is part of the Army’s efforts to improve relations with Muslim communities.

It comes as the crucial role of Muslim soldiers in the First World War has been highlighted as part of the Armistice centenary commemorations.

The Army has also struggled to recruit from the Muslim community.

The school’s plans were announced this week in The Times.

Mufti Hamid Patel, chief executive of Star Academies, which runs Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS), told the newspaper: “They have recently been reflecting on the 400,000 Muslims who fought alongside the British Army for freedom during World War I, many of them buried in cemeteries across France. So the launch of the cadet unit at TIBHS will be particularly poignant.

“We are excited that this will be the first cadet unit in the country established by a Muslim faith school.”

The paper reported that improving diversity and inclusivity in the armed forces was a priority for General Sir Nick Carter, who became chief of the defence staff this summer.

It is believed local mosque leaders have given their blessing to the initiative and have approved the cadet force convening on Fridays. It has also been supported by parents and governors, The Times said.

Fifty boys from the school were invited to a cricket match at Lord’s earlier this year as part of the army’s efforts to make links with the school.

Cadets typically practise drills, fieldcraft, map reading and experience being on a firing range.

The government unveiled its army cadet expansion programme in 2012.

The £500million scheme is aiming to launch 500 new cadet units in schools by 2020.