Poppy can unite all Britons, says Muslim leader

THE poppy is a symbol to unite all Britons, regardless of religion, a senior Muslim leader said.

Imam Asim Hafiz, Imam for the Armed Forces Association (AFMA), speaking ahead of Remembrance Sunday, a time when people pause to reflect the country’s war dead, said: “The Poppy Appeal celebrates the selfless sacrifice of all our ancestors, who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our nation. It does not belong to any group, it belongs to all of us, and should be celebrated by everyone.

“It is important that Muslims and non-Muslims know that the success of Britain and what Britain has become, is as a result of our diverse society. Therefore in many ways the poppy represents the solidarity between our diverse communities.”

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This year’s Remembrance comes after another period of hostility around the globe, particularly with the increased presence of Islamic State fundamentalists, linked to the Tunisian and Charlie Hebdo massacres.

Mr Hafiz, Islamic adviser to the British Armed Forces, said: “We live in a volatile and uncertain world where the threats we face don’t care about the colour of your skin or the God you pray to.

“The poppy is a symbol we all can unite behind as it brings us as a community together and it unites us against ideologies that want to divide us.

“The First and Second World War were exactly that, a fight for survival against ideologies that wanted to divide us. With the continued presence of IS now more than ever we need to stand together and celebrate our bonds.”