Islamic poppies, which would be green, with a white star and crescent, are being discussed by the Royal British Legion.
This has predictably stirred up a great deal of debate. The Herald listened to a sample of comments from across the spectrum.
“It’s nothing less than a disgrace!” cried poppy-seller Waring McUllers. “First white poppies, now this. What’s the world coming to?”
“White poppies, now they are a political statement,” considers Dr Mustapha Ballance, of Rochdale University’s Department of Politics And Stuff. “Unfortunately some of the fringe nationalist groups have politicised the red poppy, so that certain sectors of society now feel uncomfortable wearing one.”
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, it seems, if you agree with Dr Ballance. Small wonder some groups are seeking alternative symbolism.
“Obviously, Muslims wish to remember the war victims,” states Muslim Federation spokesman Suleman Grundhi. “Some of our younger members felt offended by the racist overtones of nationalism, and sought an alternative in conjunction with the Legion. The idea of an Islamic poppy is to commemorate those killed in wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and so forth.”
Mr Grundhi explained that the idea, although appealing, had been rejected on the grounds of creating further divisions in society. “Islamic poppies will not be issued,” he declared. “Any Muslim wishing to honour the fallen, of any conflict, should do so without stirring up trouble.”
This argument did not appease McUllers though. “This is why the poppy is so important!” he thundered. “We remember how Britain stood alone against the world, and won. It is the duty of every true Brit to display an artificial red flower every November. If I had my way, it would be compulsory all year round.”
A compelling, if inaccurate statement. However the final word goes to Dr Ballance.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole story was simply a crude hoax designed to stir up controversy,” he said.