One million Muslims will wear Remembrance poppies despite extremists’ opposition, say researchers

November 6, 2013

 

More than one million Muslims will be sporting poppies this weekend to mark Remembrance Sunday despite the bitter opposition of Islamist hardliners, research disclosed tonight. Some radical voices argue that poppy-wearing, ceremonies to commemorate the fallen dead and the one minute’s silence on Armistice Day are all forbidden to devout Muslims. But a new survey shows large numbers of people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, who comprise about two-thirds of the Muslim population, support the sale of poppies.

The think-tank British Future said the findings equated to some 800,000 poppy-wearers from these two groups alone and calculated the overall figure for the Muslim community to be well over one million. It released the research in an effort to counter charges that British Muslims are unpatriotic because of protests against UK troops returning from war zones.

Although they acknowledge many Muslims are uncomfortable about military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, several major mosques have set up poppy stalls this week. They argue that thousands of Muslims were killed in the First World War serving in the British Indian army. The radical Islamist Anjem Choudray retaliated this week by denouncing supporters of Remembrance Sunday as hypocrites, bootlickers and sycophants and said Muslims who sell poppies today will “burn in hellfire tomorrow”.

The survey found 62 per cent of ethnic minority Britons said they would wear a poppy on Sunday. That included 69 per cent of people of Indian heritage, 53 per cent from Pakistani backgrounds, 46 per cent of Bangladeshi heritage, 74 per cent of Black Caribbeans and 55 per cent from Black African background. There are no figures for white Britons although researchers believe they would not be significantly higher than for other groups.

Dilwar Hussein, Chair of the charity New Horizons in British Islam, said: “These figures show most ordinary British men and women of Muslim background are just like the rest of us when it comes to Remembrance Day. As they go about their daily business as British citizens we should acknowledge this quiet yet profound form of integration.

The figures emerged as the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) joined imams and the London Faith Forum this week to urge more British Muslims to wear poppies and support tributes to the war dead. The ISB says on its website: “Remembrance Day will be taking place throughout the country with many different approaches of appreciation. We urge and encourage you to become involved by participating in your local areas.”

It says: “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.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/one-million-muslims-will-wear-remembrance-poppies-despite-extremists-opposition-say-researchers-8924933.html

Possible Legal Changes: “Insulting Speech/ Behaviour” No Longer A Criminal Offence

14.10.2011

Ministers in the UK are currently considering legal changes, according to which insulting speech or actions would no longer be a criminal offence. The move to consider changes to the law on “threatening, abusive or insulting” words in public, under section five of the Public Order Act 1986, was brought forward by civil liberty groups that consider restrictions on “insulting” speech to be unfair. The Daily Mail reports that religious groups “have also criticized the law because the police have used it to arrest harmless Christian protesters. The law that criminalizes insulting speech and actions was used last year to prosecute Emdadur Choudhury, a Muslim extremist and member of Muslims Against Crusades who burned two poppies during the two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday last November, and five Muslims who shouted insults at a homecoming parade. Under the regulations of the proposal, these actions would not lead to criminal prosecutions.

Remembering the Brave: The Muslim Contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces

Ahead of Remembrance Sunday on November 8, commemorating the end of the First World War, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) published a special report highlighting the long-standing and continued support for the Armed Forces. “Remembering the Brave: The Muslim Contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces” outlines how Muslims have made a historic contribution to the defense of the nation. The document also covers the current contribution of British Muslims to the UK military.

Highlighting past polling data, the document suggests that British Muslims tend to take the sophisticated enough stand to support our troops while dissenting from the government’s decision to send those troops to controversial conflicts. An ICM-run survey in June of 500 British Muslims over the age of 16, found that 78 percent said they opposed Taliban attacks against UK and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan and three-quarters of those surveyed said it was wrong for the West to intervene militarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In this publication, the MCB acknowledges that the operations which the Armed Forces are engaged in today are deeply controversial. But that is not simply a concern amongst Muslims; it is shared by other British people also.