British Muslim Women wear a Poppy Hijab for Remembrance Day

British Muslim women wearing the "Poppy Hijab" designed to commemorate Armed Forces Day and the WWI Centenary. (Photo: Georgie Gillard/ The Daily Mail
British Muslim women wearing the “Poppy Hijab” designed to commemorate Armed Forces Day and the WWI Centenary. (Photo: Georgie Gillard/ The Daily Mail

British Muslims are being urged to wear a new ‘poppy hijab’ as a challenge to extremist groups who ‘spout hatred’ towards the Armed Forces. The campaign is being backed by the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB), and profits from its sale will be donated to Poppy Appeal. Sughra Ahmed, President of ISB, said it’s a way for “ordinary Muslim citizens to take some attention away from extremists… This symbol of quiet remembrance is the face of everyday British Islam – not the angry minority who spout hatred and offend everyone.”

The headscarf is patterned with poppies, and has been created specifically for Remembrance Day this year. Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq, 24, a student at the London College of Fashion and a British Muslim, designed the hijab. She says, “the idea to do a headscarf came from knowing that many Muslims generally mark Remembrance Day. We felt it wasn’t that widely known. The number of Muslim soldiers who fought in World War One was even less known. We wanted to create something that illustrated this history.”

More than a million Indian soldiers and 400,000 Muslims fought alongside British troops in 1914, but it is a fact that is little known or talked about. It’s why the Islamic Society of Britain and integration think tank British Future, which is selling the hijab online, approached Tabinda to help them find a symbol of Remembrance that would appeal to. It’s also where the idea of the poppy hijab came from. “I thought it was a really simple and clean way of saying that I’m very proud of being British and Muslim without it being in anyone’s face,” she says.

However, some have attacked this initiative. The Huffington Post scathingly criticises the campaign. It argues that the poppy hijab is a counterproductive and patronising since it singles out Muslims as being a suspect community whose allegiance lies elsewhere. Many British Muslims, they claim, do put their religion before their nationality but that doesn’t make them any less integrated. What that means, is that there is a significant percentage of Muslims who practice Islam holistically as a comprehensive way of life, which includes speaking the truth, standing up for justice, speaking up for the oppressed and accounting their government.

France Pays Muslim Soldiers’ Debt

February 19, 2014

 

A century after their sacrifices to France, long forgotten French Muslim soldiers have been remembered by President Francois Hollande who said France “owed a debt” to Muslim soldiers who died in World War I, pledging to fight racism and discrimination targeting the religious minority.

“France will never forget the price of the blood shed” by Muslim soldiers, Hollande said at a ceremony in Paris’s Grand Mosque on Tuesday, February 18, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

Holland’s visit to the mosque, the first since being elected president in 2012, comes ahead of events planned later this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.

About 600,000 troops from France’s colonies took part in the 1914-18 war and about 70,000 Muslims lost their lives at the battle of Verdun in 1916, according to figures released by the Defence Ministry in 2010.

Hollande unveiled a plaque paying tribute to the 100,000 French Muslims who died fighting in the two world wars.

His presidential predecessors Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy also presented memorials and plaques remembering Muslims who fought for France.

Islam is “perfectly compatible with the values of France,” Hollande said.

“This homage is a call for respect,” Hollande said, urging a “fierce fight against discrimination, inequality and racism” as well as against “anti-Muslim words and acts.”

France is home to a Muslim minority of six million, Europe’s largest.

According to a poll published in April last year, three out of four French people have an negative image of Islam.

French Muslims have been complaining of growing restrictions on their religious freedoms.

In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places. Several European countries followed the French example.

France has also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public.

The Grand Mosque of Paris, the largest mosque in France, was built between 1922 -1926.

French Muslim leaders have welcomed Hollande’s move to remember Muslim fighters.

“Even if this is not new, it’s good that François Hollande again reminds those who reject Muslims that thousands of natives died for France,” said Abdallah Zekri of the CFCM coalition of Islamic groupings, RFI reported on Tuesday.

“He should seize the chance to discuss the present worrying atmosphere with us,” he added.

On the other hand, Louis Aliot, the vice-president of the far-right Front National, slammed the visit as a “crude attempt at manipulation”.

“These comments are totally irresponsible because France has never forgotten the soldiers who died for France,” he stormed, claiming that the ceremony is exploiting them for the sake of “sectarian lobbyists”.

“If increasingly radical political Islam poses a problem […] of republican compatibility in our country, it’s not up to France to adapt and to provide answers it’s up to that religion,” Aliot said.

French media has also interpreted the visit as being aimed at gaining the favor of Muslims, who currently constitute five percent of the country’s voters, ahead of the March local elections.

 

Source: http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/469391-france-pays-muslim-soldiers-debt.html

 

Slovenia: Vandals Spray Nationalist Symbols on Graves of Muslim Soldiers

The headstones of Muslim soldiers killed in the first World War have been vandalized in the North-western Slovenian Log pod Mangartom. The tombstones were sprayed with Serbian nationalistic symbols. Community Secretary Nizet Poric reacted angrily to the act of defacement, saying that the incidents are “first-class vandalism (and were) right out of order.” The local Islamic community has been notified, and the police are still investigating the incident. The cemetery is the final resting place of Bosnian soldiers who fought in the Austrian army during WWI and killed in the battles of 1916.

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