Today is Armistice Day.
In the office we have just had the two-minute silence.
Writing on 7th November Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future (sic), drew attention to poppy wearing among BME communities in the United Kingdom: http://www.britishfuture.org/articles/news/million-british-muslims-reject-extremists-on-poppy-wearing/
"Remembrance has become increasingly inclusive" said Mr Katwala, drawing attention to BME "shared participation in its rituals".
"62 per cent of ethnic minorities wear the poppy" research by the latest Ethnic Minority British Election Survey (EMBES) is quoted as saying.
Taken at face value this is very heartening to assimilationists. What more convincing proof of assimilation of the immigrant communities could be desired than the fact that BME people are commemorating the British participation in the Great War (with all that that implies). "Mission accomplished" as George W Bush might say.
Except that it doesn't quite ring true.
Is British Future saying that if I went today (Armistice Day) to Leicester or Brixton or Bury Park in Luton I would see sixty per cent of the BME people there wearing poppies?
Not very likely is it. I might be wrong and doing them an injustice. But it's not very likely that 60% of the BME population in Southall and similar areas are wearing poppies today and stood respectfully silent at 11 o'clock (did any mosques have displays of poppies in the way that Anglican churches had displays - if so perhaps we could see some photographs?).
Extrapolating from the EMBES research, Mr Katwala tells us that the BME displays of poppy wearing matches "the ethnic composition of the armies which fought the First World War". This is a disingenuous argument. British Future have produced no evidence that the BME people who fought on the Western Front were the great grandparents of the BME people in the United Kingdom today, and common sense tells us that they probably are not (the recruitment of the Indian Army pre-1947 tended to be specific).
Just as "Muslim terrorism" cannot be blamed on the Muslim community now resident in the United Kingdom, so Muslim heroism on the Western Front in the Great War cannot be claimed by the Muslim community now resident in the United Kingdom. The terrorists were responsible for the terrorism and the heroes were responsible for the heroism. To push either blame or virtue onto the wider Muslim community is bogus.