These don’t look like children to me’: Concerns raised over ages of child refugees arriving in Britain

 Children from the migrant camp arrive in south London to register with the Home Office after travelling by coach from CalaisChildren from the migrant camp arrive in south London to register with the Home Office after travelling by coach from Calais CREDIT: NICK EDWARDS FOR THE TELEGRAPH


By: Peter Dominiczak (political editor) & Steven Swinford (deputy political editor) Uk Telegraph

The Home Office has no way of verifying the age of child refugees being brought to the UK, it has emerged amid concerns that adults are posing as minors to gain access to Britain.

Fourteen “teenagers” on Monday arrived in the UK from Calais as a fast-track system was launched to transfer youngsters from the “Jungle” camp before it is demolished.
The Home Office insisted it had “verified” the ages of all the refugees and that all of those who were brought to the UK were aged between 14 and 17.

Lunar House
The youngsters arrive by coach at Lunar House, the head office of UK Visas and Immigration, in Croydon, south London CREDIT: NICK EDWARDS FOR THE TELEGRAPH

However, Conservative MPs warned that photographs of the refugees suggested that many of the group were older than 17.

Home Office documents show that if a refugee does not have a birth certificate, a Home Office screening officer can certify them as a child based on their “physical appearance” or “demeanor”.

The document states that refugees “should be treated as an adult if their physical appearance/demeanor very strongly suggests that they are significantly over 18 years of age”.


However, it says that “all other applicants should be afforded the benefit of the doubt and treated as children”.

The guide for Home Office officials adds: “All available sources of relevant information and evidence should be considered, since no single assessment technique, or combination of techniques, is likely to determine the applicant’s age with precision.”

David Davies , the Conservative MP for Monmouth, said: “These don’t look like ‘children’ to me. I hope British hospitality is not being abused.”

Jungle camp
An aerial view of the Jungle camp in Calais in August, when it was home to more than 9,000 migrants CREDIT: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP

He added: “These young men don’t look like minors to me. They are hulking teenagers who look older than 18. I’m all for helping the genuine children but the well of goodwill is rapidly being exhausted here.

“I’m also curious that there are no young women – I would have thought they would be much more vulnerable. I worry that once again British hospitality is being abused.

“There is no way of knowing if someone is a child. We could end up causing even more misery if we are not careful. We should invite anyone who wants to come to the UK to take dental tests.” Many have the right to come to UK but are stuck due to bureaucracy

Documentation supplied by the Red Cross on the issue of bringing child refugees to the UK features pictures children who appear to be under the age of ten and toddlers.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We can confirm a group of children who left the Calais camp this morning have arrived in the UK.

“This is the start of the process to transfer as many eligible children as possible before the start of the clearance, as the Home Secretary set out in Parliament.

“These vulnerable children, aged between 14 and 17, were transferred to the UK under the care of Home Office staff, with the support of volunteers from specialist NGOs and charities. They will join their families in the UK as quickly as possible over the coming days.”


The Home Office said that “essential checks have been made on these young people for their safety and the safety of others” and added: “This means verifying their ages, confirming their identities and eligibility to come to the UK and running security checks.”

Dozens more children are expected to arrive this week after a team of British officials were sent to Calais to help French authorities speed up the transfer of minors ahead of the dismantling of the Jungle.


Welcome to Generation M: Muslim women are set to define our global future – get ready

 Meet Generation M

Meet Generation M

By: Shelina Janmohamed/UK Telegraph


If I were to pick on face to define our global future, she would be female, Muslim, urban and digitally connected.

That might sound surprising, especially given that most of what we know of Muslim women is limited to what they wear or how oppressed we assume they are.

But behind our rows about banning veils and outlawing burkinis on European beaches, lies a group of women who are set to define our economic, social, political and cultural future. And it could be very positive for us all.

Being granted permission to take part fully in our society is not something these women – who I call Generation M – are waiting for.

They are part of a global group of Muslim women who believe that faith and modernity go hand-in-hand. They believe that being Muslim can be a force for positive change. They use their values to improve the world around them, build bridges across communities and assert consumerism as their right and as a badge of their identity.

They walk the line between dispelling the stereotypes that surround them and pushing against the cultural barriers that, in many parts of the world, have suppressed their voices.

Far from being held back by their faith, they see it as a form of liberation and they are going back to its roots to determine a new kind of feminism. It may not always sync with western middle class feminism, but it is a catalyst for change. That makes it exciting, but also a force of global proportions.

There are 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, approximately one third are under 15 and two thirds under 30. So the impact of young women is not to be underestimated, with their increasing levels of education, employment, rising age of marriage, later childbirth and a growing need to assert their rights.

Their mantra is “forgot to be oppressed, too busy being awesome” – which you don’t have to delve too deep into social media sites to find. They are navigating the challenges within Muslim communities, alongside the growing gendered Islamophobia they are experiencing.

Hate crimes are on the rise and, still, the majority of victims are women – who are spat on, jeered and even covered in faeces.

But Muslim women are learning to navigate this world – one that lauds them with one hand, and hurls faeces at them with the other.

There’s now an achingly cool Muslim fashion scene, from Jakarta to Johannesburg; New York to Mumbai. High street shops and designer labels are listening to what Muslim women want. But to reduce these girls and women to what they wear is to do them a disservice. It’s also to entirely misunderstand the diverse global nature of sisterhood, and the contribution that these young Muslim women are making to it.

We see it all around us. In the UK we are familiar with Nadiya Hussain, the winner of the 2015 series of The Great British Bake Off. She has declared: “I am British, I’m Bangladeshi and I’m Muslim. And I’m proud of all three.”

But while we might hold her dear to our hearts as a national treasure, her pride in her Muslim identity, and how it propels her forward to make a positive contribution is not an unusual story. Young Muslim women around the world are just as vibrant and dynamic. We just need to listen to their voices.

Take Yuna, a Malaysian singer with a soft jazz voice, who wears her headscarf with panache, has millions of followers and is now signed to a record label in the USA. Or Fatin Shidqia from Indonesia, who won the country’s first X-Factor series, can belt out Rihanna while wearing a gold lame outfit, at the same time as releasing a track called ‘Proud of you Moslem’ and spending her winnings to send her parents to on a pilgrimage.

In the USA, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad returned with a bronze medal from Rio. In the UK, Shazia Saleem launched a range of ready meals to overturn bring global cuisine to Muslims and dispel the myth that we only eat curry.

Consumption by Muslim women is particularly important. They have gone on to the high streets and found that the products they want are missing. Instead of moaning about their absence, they’ve been busy setting up their own businesses.

Take Romanna bint AbuBaker who founded the million dollar fashion business Haute Elan. Or Salma Chaudhry who set up a halal cosmetics company after she survived cancer and wanted to create a beauty range using wholesome ingredients. Or Nasim Rizvi who founded  halal baby food to meet the needs of mums wanting to uphold their halal principles at the same time as working or running busy lives.

All of these are testament to women who are the superheroes of their own lives, and driving a huge social shift.

From astronauts to Nobel prize winners, these inspirational Muslim women are not one-offs but part of a bigger trend. They ardently reject the tag “oppressed” and are working hard to demonstrate their awesomeness. They are contributing to the sense of limitless liberation that many Muslim women increasingly feel. It is they who will forge the path for Generation M – and our global future.

These women are all around us. The question is: can we look beyond the burka to understand their stories, and how they are closely interwoven with our own?

Shelina Janmohamed’s book “Generation M: Young Muslims Changing the World” is published today by IB Tauris.


Background | History of the Burka

The Koran enjoins all Muslims – whether male or female – to dress modestly and refrain from revealing “any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary”.

Beyond this general instruction, the holy book offers no specific guidance on female clothing. Its pages contain no mention of the burka or, for that matter, of the other varieties of dress that are now associated with Islam, including the hijab, or veil.

The burka appears to have originated in Persia in the 10th century, before slowly spreading to the Arabian Peninsula and present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In Arabia, a variant known as the “niqab” was promoted by the ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Islam; in South Asia, the burka was adopted by the Deobandis, the local strand of fundamentalism.

When the Taliban captured Kabul and seized power over most of Afghanistan in 1996, they made it compulsory for all women to wear the burka.

Elsewhere in the Muslim world, the garment remained largely unknown until relatively recently. It was the rise of the Wahhabi and Deobandi traditions which spread the burka to areas where it was previously invisible, including West Africa.

Hardly any women wore the burka in West Africa until two or three decades ago. Today, it remains rare in most countries in the region, explaining why some governments have imposed a ban without a public backlash.

The burka is a reflection of culture rather than an accepted interpretation of Islam and it remains an alien imposition in large areas of the Muslim world. Since the rise of Boko Haram, it has also come to be seen as a security risk, hence the gradual spread of the ban through West Africa.

Be Like The Queen and wear Neon Green

the queen trooping of the colour green

The Queen arrives at the Trooping the Colour earlier in June CREDIT: JOHN STILLWELL/PA WIRE

Thanks to The Queen neon sales have risen 137% in Britain

By: Alice Newbold-Junior Style Editor/UK Telegraph

You might have thought that neon was a no-go area once your highlighter-hued festival crop top days were over. But it seems that The Queen has persuaded her loyal subjects otherwise. As The Telegraph reported yesterday, over the past week high street retailer JD Williams says it has sold 134% more bright green pieces, with sales of one green dress in a similar shade to the Queen’s birthday outfit, jumping seven fold. It is believed other  shops have also seen sales increases. It doesn’t stop at blindingly bright lime either; sales of bright pink garments have jumped 107% while bright orange is up by 69%.

If your interest has been piqued by Her Majesty’s recent dalliance with neon, there are a few things you need to know.  Let’s be clear, wearing neon does not mean anything day-glo, nor does it involve complementing your look with any kind of rave make-up.

Instead, think of neon as a cheerful extension of summer’s brightest color palettes, or an alternative to a punchy print. It might be unabashedly bold, but if HM The Queen can wear it, then so can you. Here’s how to stand out in all the right ways in neon this summer….

Keep the rest of your look pared down

British Fashion Council chief executive Caroline Rush trials bright green 

Chief executive of the British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush, could be spotted a mile off at London Collections: Men thanks to her high-vis green top (above). Look at the rest of her outfit though. The reason her fluro three-quarter length crew-neck works is that the rest of her outfit is black. There’s not an ounce of conflicting color, bar a flash of metallic on her watch strap and the fastening of her clutch bag.

Wear your own neon pieces with a blank canvas (navy or black  are both fail safe starting points), and keep accessories to a minimum. As much as you might enjoy a happy color mash-up in the rave tent at Glasto, your colleagues won’t take kindly to wearing sunglasses around you.

Play with contrast

Clever color contrasts will show you are fully au fait with the neon trend. At the Trooping of the Color, for example, Queen Elizabeth pinned a purple flower on the brim of her green hat. It was a bold styling flourish that was entirely unexpected of a 90-year-old. Playful unions, such as these, jolt the eye, but highlight your fashion nous – it takes a confident dresser to mess with fluoro.

Queen Elizabeth II at the Trooping of the Colour
Queen Elizabeth II at the Trooping of the Colour CREDIT: REX

Choose one key accessory

A neon cross-body bag instantly brings monotone looks to life, as demonstrated by Dutch blogger Linda Tol, who relies on a tiny Paula Cadematori bag to spruce up navy workwear. Keep bags compact though, the idea is that the accessory will act as a neat punctuation mark on outfits, not take center stage.

Linda Tol

Trainers are an easy, on-the-go option

White plimsolls might be de rigueur, but you have to admit a neon pair of kicks would be incredibly fun to wear. Look for a traditional running shoe – Nike’s popular Roche style comes in a myriad of hues and can be customized – and wear with loose, minimal suiting. Once you’ve grown tired of them, they will look equally fab in the gym.

Gilda Ambrosio
Gilda Ambrosio CREDIT: REX

Neon + pastels can actually work

Bright yellow and pastel pink don’t sound like likely bedfellows, but blogger Susie Bubble shows they can make for a wonderfully feminine duo. The key is not to experiment with such colors in blocks on heavy fabrics. Look for light, fluid garments, like Susie’s laser-cut dress, for a playful look which teases out the colors, rather than shouts about them.

Susie Lau




China’s Leftover Women: What its really like being Unmarried at 30

A 'leftover woman' in the SK-II ad

A ‘leftover woman’ in the SK-II ad

 By: Yuan Ren/Beijing

As I turn 30, I am left wondering what it means to be a Chinese woman – and a well educated one at that – entering her third decade. One thing is for sure: if like me, you’re unmarried at 30, your life “is over”.

Just last weekend, taking a cab in Beijing with two single female friends, our driver went off on one about how it’s “game over” – “wan le” – for single women and men at 30. For women though, it’s just really over, he said. Funnily enough I didn’t feel like giving him a tip.

No surprises there, given more than 90 per cent of women marry before 30 in China. Single at 27 and you’re a “leftover woman”; single at 30 – well, you’re as good as dead.

The first time I heard such a comment was in 2008, when I was 22 and fresh out of British university. At the time 25 had seemed far off, not to mention 30. But my auntie still warned me of its dangers: “If you are a 30-year-old unmarried woman in China, life’s over. You’ll forever be a spinster”.


So as I enter spinsterhood then, it’s comforting to know that questions like ‘hair up or down for a lunch date’ as well as pensive (or frivolous) thoughts like ‘will our children be short if I married this guy’ still naturally occupy my mind, (alongside reminders to exercise and never miss a work deadline).

But while I’m stressing about these things, Facebook and WeChat (a popular social media app in China) tell me my friends are busy organizing play dates, mortgages, and of course, weddings.

A woman’s early twenties in China are considered her most attractive. It’s also when a woman is most “tender” (implying that dating is basically a man eating steak) according to my 24-year-old female friend Zhao, fresh back in town from a Master’s degree in Vancouver.

Zhao tells me that even girls her age are experiencing marriage anxiety; their parents worry they’ll miss the chance of finding a suitable boy before they’re past their prime.

I remember my own mother suggesting that I learn a new musical instrument when I was 25, because “boys like girls with musical talent”. Wow, I thought. And what about all the maths I know, mum? No response there.

I’m regularly asked today if I’m stressed that I’m still unmarried, or if I just don’t plan to ever get married. The idea that I would wait is hard to understand for many Chinese people.

But apocalyptic references to single life at 30 don’t really hit a nerve with me: I’ve heard the same remarks so many times I know I what to expect, and I’ve learned not to take it personally. Among well-educated circles, so-called “leftover women” are very common now; the bad news is that 30 is just the new 27.

For me, it’s the vicious attack on single Chinese women that really smarts. If you look at the latest SK-II ad on Leftover Women, which aims to break the stigma around single women, close family is usually where the most hurtful jabs fire.

Just last weekend, taking a cab in Beijing with two single female friends, our driver went off on one about how it’s “game over” – “wan le” – for single women and men at 30. For women though, it’s just really over, he said. Funnily enough I didn’t feel like giving him a tip.

No surprises there, given more than 90 per cent of women marry before 30 in China. Single at 27 and you’re a “leftover woman”; single at 30 – well, you’re as good as dead.

The first time I heard such a comment was in 2008, when I was 22 and fresh out of British university. At the time 25 had seemed far off, not to mention 30. But my auntie still warned me of its dangers: “If you are a 30-year-old unmarried woman in China, life’s over. You’ll forever be a spinster”.A still from the ad

A still from the ad

Just last month, after a minor disagreement with my father, he tossed out this charming line: “Looks like women who are over a certain age and unmarried develop temper issues.”

But however shocking this might seem, it’s just the tip of the iceberg compared to what other women go through. My family is pretty easy going – relatively speaking. For so many women, familial harassment can be relentless and abusive. Not to mention boring and repetitive (the whole ‘leftover’ argument has been going on for too long). The fact that “leftover” women actually signal social and economic progress is rarely mentioned. Anxiety is all the hype.

But how much easier do unmarried women in their thirties have it in the UK? While the judgements are lot more subtle and silent compared to Asia, I would argue that plenty of stereotyping and prejudice still exists. If you Google “percentage of unmarried women in the UK at 30”, and the first phrase that autocompletes in the search box is “thirty, single and depressed”. Nice.


I remember a British male colleague once describing his Saturday night as spent: “in a room full of single women in their thirties”. His disdain was clear for these desperate, sad, Bridget Joneses. In China, unmarried women at 27 are depicted as “picky” due to being over-educated and they’re told flat-out it’s not acceptable; while single British women in their thirties get bitched about behind their backs.

Take American writer Meg Jay’s 2014 popular book Why 30 is not the new 20. It argued that finding the right partner in your twenties is crucial, since the pool rapidly shrinks in your late 20s. Statistically, women ( especially in China) are far more limited for choice than at 25, which is no good if you don’t believe in polygamy.

“Catching” the right man while you’re still young – a popular Chinese mentality – doesn’t seem so ridiculous in this context.

My younger self was averse to being helped to navigate this pool of “choice”. Traditional ‘match-making’, the way young people in China still meet their spouses today, seemed against my principles. Now, I welcome family and friends’ “introductions” because it’s access to a more diverse network and operates in a modern way. It’s not dissimilar to online dating, but with a human intermediate who knows you.

Women celebrating Chinese New Year
Women celebrating Chinese New Year CREDIT: FIONA HANSON/PA WIRE

Today’s me is more open to tradition, to new ideas, and even suggestions from relatives whose opinions I still – largely – ignore. I will at least listen when my aunt tells me I’ll need someone to take care of me, and agree she has point – if a highly pragmatic one.

My twenties taught me why certain considerations are particularly pronounced in China: society strictly relies on offspring to be all hands-on-deck. I have emptied urine bottles of my grandparents countless times in hospital without a second thought. Family is family.

But filial duties aside, today’s me want to lie that I’m 27 not 30 because comments such as: “Even boys who are older than you want wives younger than you” are hard to swallow – no matter how much I tell myself it isn’t personal or meant maliciously.

What bothers me more is that Western-educated women like my friend Zhao so readily accepts the erosion of their youth and liberty without batting an eyelid. When I prompt her, she responds wide-eyed and wondering: “But that’s just the way it is.”

It’s even harder when such discrimination thrives in the workplace. A friend in HR at a China government-owned company says there are certainly “reservations” when hiring unmarried women of my age, due to the “lack of stability” that comes with family.

My twenties turned out very differently to what I imagined – not to say that it’s better or worse. Did I want to be married by 30? I genuinely can’t remember, but I do remember wanting to chair meetings in power suits.

What I should enjoy at nearly 30 is the ability to say what I want – without being called too ambitious, too manly or too idealistic. I want to enjoy going to a wedding without hearing “and when will you be getting married?”.

Maybe I will marry soon; maybe I won’t. But one thing’s for certain – we Chinese women have a long way to go before we arrive at where we wish we could be.

20 things no man over the age of 40 should ever wear

Britian: Fat People who refuse treatment may be denied benefits

Too fat to work: Almost 12,000 people receive disability benefits because of metabolic disease -  a combination of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure

Picture/Daily Mail UK

Too fat to work?

Almost 12,000 people received Disability Living Allowance in Britain last year because they have metabolic disease – the medical term for a combination of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.   Obesity currently cost British taxpayers 9 million pounds a year ($14US)

Nearly one in five British secondary school pupils and a quarter of adults are obese, according to officials figures.

Health experts predict that by 2050 the annual bill for obesity-related illnesses will have risen to £50 billion ($79US), with almost two-thirds of the population obese.

British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a review , which was announced earlier this year, to investigate how to treat the severely overweight and those suffering from addiction who refused to accept treatment “but expect taxpayers to carry on funding

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘Successive governments have made life too easy for too many obese people. If the obese have a legitimate cause for their fatness – and there may be medical or genetic reasons – benefits should not be denied to them. But getting long-term benefits simply for over-eating is an insult to society.

Resistance from charities and some doctors is expected.  The Tories have routinely been criticized for failing to deal with tax deductions for the richest while cutting benefits for the poorest Brits.

There are voices in Britain who believe Fat People are scape goats. Its agreed there IS an obesity crises in Britain ,but the supposed drain on the economy is overblown .

Bryony Bordon of the Uk Telegraph writes :

The fat are to be blamed for all our ills – from putting a strain on the NHS, to taking up too much space on public transport. The collective hatred for obese people is almost visceral, bordering on sadistic. People actually seem to enjoy taunting fatties; it’s as if without the overweight, a certain section of the population might explode in an orgy of mayhem and murder.

While rich people who are fat are seen as bon viveurs and jolly, everyone else is grotesque and should be ashamed, particularly those living below the breadline, whose bodies are somehow not befitting of their circumstances.

This is not to say we should tiptoe around the fat and avoid the subject; it’s that instead of threatening to take benefits away from people who are ill and therefore vulnerable, we should perhaps seek to find out the underlying causes that have made them that ill in the first place. It is time for a careful, considered approach to obesity, because otherwise there is a real danger of cruelty swallowing us all.















Why British Muslims need a ‘poppy hijab’ to remember World War One

British Muslim student Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq (24) has created a new headscarf decorated with poppies for Remembrance Day. She tells Radhika Sanghani why and about the 400,000 Muslim soldiers who fought alongside UK troops

Three Muslim models wear the poppy hijab

Three Muslim models wear the poppy hijab Photo: ROOFUL ALI/ALIWAY.CO.UK  

  By:/UK Telegraph

Poppies have become the symbol of Remembrance Day. Anyone who wants to commemorate the lives of those who died for Britain in the war simply has to buy a poppy and proudly wear it on their lapel.

But Muslim women will now be able to go one step further, by wearing a ‘poppy hijab.’

The headscarf is patterned with poppies, and has been created specifically for Remembrance Day this year. , 24, a student at the London College of Fashion and a British Muslim, designed the hijab.

“The idea to do a headscarf came from knowing that many Muslims generally mark Remembrance Day,” she explains. “We felt it wasn’t that widely known. The number of Muslim soldiers who fought in World War One was even less known. We wanted to create something that illustrated this history.”

More than a million Indian soldiers and 400,000 Muslims fought alongside British troops in 1914, but it is a fact that is little known or talked about. It’s why the and integration think tank British Future, which is selling the hijab online, approached Tabinda to help them find a symbol of Remembrance that would appeal to British Muslims.

It’s also where the idea of the poppy hijab came from.

“I thought it was a really simple and clean way of saying that I’m very proud of being British and Muslim without it being in anyone’s face,” she says. “The poppy is what we associate with Remembrance Day so people would have to relate to it quite instinctively.

“We did it with the hijab because it’s become what we automatically associate with Muslims. We thought it really played into the message we were trying to get out there.”

Each headscarf will cost £22 with all proceeds going straight to the Poppy Appeal. The idea behind it is to allow Muslims to have a unique way to commemorate all the soldiers lost in the war, but why is it needed in the first place? Surely all faith groups can simply wear a poppy badge?

Why do Muslims need the poppy hijab?

“We’re very open for Muslim people to carry on wearing the poppy,” says Tabinda. “It’s just another way to commemorate the soldiers. It’s not to replace the way that’s already being conducted. I feel very proud of wearing it.”

But it isn’t just to give Muslims a new way to celebrate Remembrance Day – the goal is for it to help educate the wider public about the role of Muslims during WW1, and to quash anti-Muslim prejudice.

Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq

Only three years ago, a group calling itself ‘Muslims Against Crusades’ burned a poppy on Remembrance Sunday and shouted ‘British soldiers burn in hell.’ It caused national outrage, and it’s acts like these that Tabinda wants the public to be able to distinguish as extremist, and not the views of most British Muslims.

“A lot of Muslims are very positive and it’s a very small number of people who have such extreme views,” stresses Tabinda. “It’s a real shame that someone steps out of line and does something extreme. Any negative or bad act generally creates negative perception of people. I think it’s really about going out there and trying to find out what the masses believe.

“I think many Muslims celebrate Remembrance Day, I think yes there’s a handful that don’t, but that’s across the spectrum. There are many non-Muslims who don’t mark Remembrance Day with a poppy. There are many that really commemorate all the soldiers we lost, regardless of their faith.”

It’s to take attention away from extremists

Sughra Ahmed, President of the Islamic Society of Britain, agrees: “Thousands of British Muslims already wear a poppy in November. This is just another way for them to show they remember those who gave their lives for their country. It’s also a way for ordinary Muslim citizens to take some attention away from extremists who seem to grab the headlines.

“This symbol of quiet remembrance is the face of everyday British Islam – not the angry minority who spout hatred and offend everyone.”

The poppy hijab is being launched today, exactly 100 years since the first Muslim soldier was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery – Khudadad Khan from Pakistan, who was fighting for Britain on the Western Front in the First World War.

It was Tabinda’s desire to spread this message to as many people as possible that led her to focus on the hijab – a headscarf worn solely by women- and not a male item of clothing, or even a gender-neutral one: “The male equivalent would be the hat. Not many people wear the hat regularly unless they’re going to the mosque. It wouldn’t generate the same exposure as a hijab. We had to be strategic.

A model wearing the poppy hijab

It’s all a matter of opinion

“It’s a strong message we’re trying to put out there so people really need to see it and build curiosity and ask questions.”

She hopes that the poppy hijab will create an open dialogue, where non-Muslims will approach women wearing the scarf, and ask them questions about it, and build relationships. But is she worried that it will backfire, and perhaps lead to more prejudice, or be rejected by other Muslims?

“We’re hoping not, but it’s only natural,” she says. “It all comes down to matter of opinion. Over time people have become very experimental with the hijab. As far as I can remember, people have been wearing patterned ones. We feel more comfortable in trying different things. As a nation we’re very fashionable now. We like to keep on trend.

“[During a photo shoot] passers-by stopped to say we really like [it]… All the models that we used were Muslims and they absolutely loved it and said they’re looking forward to purchasing it. My friends and family, they’re all really eager to buy one and wear it.”

Tabinda, too, is personally glad to wear the scarf. “I have been wearing [a hijab] since I was very young. So it holds a very special place in my life. It helps me keep connected. Apart from my headscarf I’m very modern. It keeps me rooted and grounded.

“I felt very proud wearing [the poppy hijab]. It’s a way to say I’m proudly British and Muslim.”

It’s educational all round

Although the hijab is marketed directly at Muslim women, she also hopes that non-Muslims will feel comfortable buying the scarves and wearing them in different ways: “It doesn’t have to be worn on the heard. We expect people to be creative with it.”

As a budding fashion designer, she hopes that the poppy hijab will now give her a head start on the rest of her career, and help her achieve her dream of working in sustainable fashion. Designing more Muslim clothing isn’t a path she feels strongly about.

“I know I’m Muslim but it’s something that’s never appealed to me, my designs are mainly mainstream fashion. This is the first project I have designed that’s specifically for Muslims. It’s not something I really hope to delve into.

“I really want to revolutionise the fashion industry, to make sure we always conduct ethically.”

But in the meantime, her goal is for British Muslims to embrace the poppy hijab, and use it as a way to commemorate the 1.6 million Indian and Muslim soldiers who fought in the war: “I hope the headscarf gives British Muslims a new way to mark Remembrance Day, and also raise money for the Poppy Appeal. It’s quite educational all around really.”