In 1940, the Nazis invaded France and twenty-five year old Noor fled with her family to England. There she joined Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and trained as a wireless operator. In early 1943, she began her assignment as a covert agent, joining Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE). The SOE worked with the French resistance fighters to sabotage industry and railroads in preparation for the D-Day invasions, after which they would co-ordinate attacks on the German army behind enemy lines, tying down troops and diverting the Germans from the invading Allied troops. From Paris, Noor Inayat Khan secretly transmitted critical information back to Britain.
In the next four months she was often the only link between the U.K. and the French Resistance. She was pursued by the Gestapo and finally betrayed by French collaborators. The Nazis arrested her and imprisoned her in Paris, where she fought back against her captors and escaped twice. Finally, she was sent to the infamous Dachau concentration camp in Germany where she was executed shortly before the end of WWII.
The British and French subsequently awarded her their highest civilian honors.
Alex Kronemer and Michael Wolfe
Producer and Director
Helen Mirren, Narrator
Why This Film?
There are thousands of films about WW II but the Muslim story is largely missing. Our aim is to share a story about a hero who was unique in her own right: growing up in a household with American and Indian roots. Noor’s childhood was rich with inclusion and openness to all people, even as nationalism and ethnic genocide was on the rise across Europe. Noor’s story is something that everyone can relate to and everyone can identify with. The power of her story will enable people to see Muslims, and particularly Muslim women, in a new light.
Noor’s identity as a Muslim woman did not stop her from signing up to join the fight against the Nazis. Motivated by her faith, Noor’s worldview was based on a respect for all faiths against Hitler’s ideology of ethnic and religious extermination.
During a time in which debate and conversation about who Muslim women are and what they stand for, we, as a community, struggle to bring to the forefront examples and stories of strong Muslim women in unconventional situations. We rarely get the opportunity to share a story about strong Muslim women as widely in the public sphere as we’d like, and it’s up to us to tell these stories. Noor’s story has the potential to reach millions.
Noor’s heroic story will be timely in its message, offering both Muslim communities and mainstream communities the chance to gain a better understanding of who Muslims are. The film brings dramatic reenactments, directed by the three time Emmy winner and Academy Award Nominee, Director Rob Gardner to entertain audiences. The docudrama approach supplements this footage with interviews from leading scholars on Noor’s biography and World War II.