A group of young Muslims have taken their campaign to sell poppies nationwide to spread their message of “peace and unity between all nations, peoples and religions.”
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) are hoping raise over £40,000 for the Poppy Appeal after their success selling poppies at London’s Underground and train stations over the past two years.
Although there have been reports of poppy sellers in Bradford being sent out with chaperones after being targeted last year, AMYA spokesperson Farooq Aftab told the Huffington Post UK any difficulties experienced have been “minor.”
“Irrespective of whether you are Muslim or Christian there’s always going to be a few who don’t understand and try to undermine what you are doing. Thankfully most people do understand and are supportive,” he said.
Countering claims that the poppy glorifies conflict, Mr Aftab said the symbol promoted community feeling.
“The poppy is not about war; it’s about solidarity and showing loyalty to one’s country and standing together for a worthy cause. It’s about communities standing together as one.
“Lots of Muslims actually served in World War I and World War II and lots have ancestors who served in the army. We therefore hope that our participation is a clear indication of our desire for peace and unity between all nations, peoples and religions.”
The Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said in a statement:
“Muslims are obliged to be loyal to the country in which they live. Honouring those who fought to defend and safeguard one’s country is an important principle of Islam and in fact is an important principle of peace – especially when it is carried out with a sincere heart and for the sake of winning God’s pleasure.”
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson also backed their intitiative, saying “We should never forget the sacrifice of those who put their lives on the line to protect us and this time of the year gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude in a more tangible way.
“I urge everyone to give generously to these young volunteers as they join thousands across the country in raising money for The Royal British Legion”
Full articles and slides on the Huffington Post site.