NEWS

Muslims Urged To 'Wear Poppies, Not Burn Them' As Stalls Set Up Across Country

03/11/2013 15:55 | Updated 23 January 2014
PA

Muslim-led poppy stalls are to be set up across London and a number of other English cities this week as religious leaders call for Muslims to "wear poppies, not burn them" on Remembrance Sunday.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles is due to visit a Muslim-led poppy stall outside Westminster cathedral on Monday, the Sunday Times reported.

The paper quoted Julie Siddiqi, executive director of the Islamic Society of Britain, as saying the centenary of World War I provided an opportunity to tell young Muslims "that we are all in this together".

British Muslims should be wearing poppies, not burning them,” she told the paper.

“How can you question a whole community’s loyalty to a country when thousands [of their forefathers] died serving this country?” Siddiqi said.

A separate statement on the Islamic Society of Britain website said it urged Muslims to become involved by participating in Remembrance Day activities around the country.

"Our main messaging is around highlighting the contributions that Muslims made and sacrifices especially during World War 1 and WW2. 

"It is easy to forget that millions of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and people of other minority faiths have served in the British Armed Forces across two World Wars, facing down the hatred of Nazism and helping keep Britain safe in its direst hours of need."

According to the Sunday Times, mosques in Leeds, Leicester and Southampton will also be running poppy stalls.

Similar stalls, set up by Faiths Forum for London will operate across the week at different locations in London.

Wearing a poppy has proved to be a contentious issue in recent years.

Muslim journalist Assed Baig wrote last year of his opposition to wearing a poppy, because he believed it "glorifies and promotes war".

Writing for the Huffington Post UK, journalist Madeleine Fry said as a Christian and a pacifist, she did not want to wear a poppy.

"I do not believe being a soldier is a heroic action in itself, and I can't help but see a danger in allowing unconditional love for the military to so fervently be the modern message of Remembrance.

A number of 'poppy burning' incidents in recent years have also stoked tensions over the anniversary.

In November 2010 a group called Muslims Against Crusades set fire to a giant paper poppy outside the Albert Hall, while last year a man was arrested for posting a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook.

Baroness Warsi, minister for faith and communities, said: “Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus courageously battled and lost their lives for a country they had never seen and for a king who was not from their land.

"It is fantastic that these poppy stalls are raising awareness of this outstanding contribution.”

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