Remembrance Day Poppy Special
If you are in the UK context, will you be wearing a red poppy day to remember Armistice Day? Or will you be wearing a white poppy? What is the difference and why should Christians and Muslims think about it?
The red poppy is an artificial flower which has been worn in Britain and other Commonwealth countries around Armistice Day since the 1920s. The Royal British Legion, which sells the poppies to support their charitable work with ex-servicemen, explains that it “advocates a specific type of Remembrance connected to the British Armed Forces, those who were killed, those who fought with them and alongside them”. You can read more here and also an explanation of what the red poppy does and does not represent here.
The white poppy appeared a few years later than the red and has been worn particularly by pacifists wanting to encourage a wider remembrance than just the UK armed forces and to start a conversation about alternatives to war. The Peace Pledge Union says that “there are three elements to the meaning of white poppies: they represent remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war”. You can read more about white poppies here.
The two different coloured poppies raise a number of questions. Given the range of Christian and Muslim thinking regarding war and violence explored in this Hikmah Guide:
What is the purpose of remembrance? What should be remembered and what should be challenged?
What is the place of lament in remembrance?
Should Muslims and Christians wear poppies?
Should they be red or white?
Did you know the difference?
How do British Muslims react to red poppies?
Have British Christians thought seriously about what wearing a poppy – red or white – means?
How should remembrance take place in churches and mosques?
Have the red poppy and the commemorations around the hundredth anniversary of the First World War come to symbolise something new in the narrative and identity of our nations and communities?
Is the emphasis between the war and the armed forces on the one hand, and peace-seeking and peace-keeping on the other out of balance?
This Armistice Day is an opportunity to revisit our theology and practice concerning war, peace and national identity. Reading the CMCS Hikmah Guide to Christians, Muslims and War would be a good place to start.
Christians, Muslims and… Law
Coming Soon: This Hikmah Guide will map out the history of religion and law in both traditions and explore the important questions facing both Christians and Muslims in thinking about the law today.
In the meantime, check out what Christians and Muslims are saying about law in public life here.
Christians, Muslims and… God
Coming Soon: The question of whether Christians and Muslims are worshipping the same deity is central to the encounter between the two faith communities. This Hikmah Guide will explore this important question and help readers to think through the emotive issues.
In the meantime, check out our starter bibliography on God in Islam and Christianity.