Messages are spreading across Facebook questioning why English cricketer Moeen Ali was not wearing a poppy in the England team photo taken shortly before the team flew out to begin The Ashes 2017-2018 tour.
A photo of the England cricket team posted by the PCA (Professional Cricket Association) – below – which was later posted on The Daily Mail soon accrued many comments from viewers questioning why Moeen Ali – a player who also happens to be a Muslim – was not wearing a poppy when other players were.
— The PCA (@PCA) October 28, 2017
Inevitably it wasn’t long before various right wing trolls and organisations were exploiting the photo, asserting it to be a demonstration or proof that Ali (along with the entire Muslim faith) was either disrespecting, hating or didn’t care about England or the soldiers who lost their lives in defence of their country.
The photo hit a much bigger audience when notorious far-right organisation Britain First (who only the day before posted a fake story about a TfL officer who apparently prevented the RBL from selling poppies at a train station) shared it onto their own timeline. As expected, the comments there were a particularly nasty brand of vile.
It would appear that one member of our cricket squad doesn’t care to wear a poppy. And that this was conveniently placed out of shot…..
As usual, however, the entire incident was blown out of proportion. Despite the photo kickstarting rumours and accusations that Moeen Ali refuses to wear a poppy, other photos (below) of Ali at around the same time clearly show that he was indeed wearing a poppy, thus debunking these claims outright.
Anyone who has ever worn a poppy before can attest to them being prone to falling off (well, at least we can) and given that we know Ali has no apparent problem wearing a poppy, this would perhaps be the most likely explanation. Ali even commented on the PCA photo that his poppy had fallen off on October 29th, 3 days before Britain First posted that he “doesn’t care” to wear a poppy.
Poppy fell off!
— Moeen Ali (@MoeenAli) October 30, 2017
It should perhaps be noted that The Royal British Legion have time and time again urged people NOT to politicize the poppy, and that wearing a poppy is a matter of personal choice – facts that are conveniently overlooked by organisations like Britain First who frequently use the poppy (along with misinformation) to promote their political agenda.
The lesson learned here is that if you get your news from far-right organisations or trolls, then don’t expect to get the full picture. Or even an accurate picture. Lies. You’ll get lies.