Prison officials in Britain are concerned that tie pins worn by officers featuring the St. George’s Cross – the symbol on England’s flag – could offend Muslims who might associate it with the Crusades of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.
In a report on “race” in a jail in the northern English city of Wakefield, Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said the banner of St. George, the red cross of a martyr on a white background, could be “misconstrued,” CNN reported.
English soldiers adopted the symbol during the military expeditions by European powers to recapture the Holy Land from Muslims. It later became the national flag of England.
Owers’ report said her staff was concerned to see a number of prison officers wearing the pin.
“While we were told that these had been bought in support of a cancer charity there was clear scope for misinterpretation, and Prison Service Orders made clear that unauthorized badges and pins should not be worn,” she said, according to CNN.
The red cross is an insensitive reminder of the Crusades, said Chris Doyle, director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding.
Doyle thinks England needs to find a new flag and patron saint “not associated with our bloody past and one we can all identify with.”
“A lot of Muslims and Arabs view the Crusades as a bloody episode in our history,” he told CNN. “They see those campaigns as Christendom launching a brutal holy war against Islam.
But as Robert Spencer shows in his book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), the aggression was not unprovoked. In obedience to core teachings of the Islamic faith, Muslims armies overran the predominantly Christian Middle East, then drove deep into Europe long before any Crusade was even contemplated.
Doyle insisted, however, that “Muslim or Arab prisoners could take umbrage if staff wore a red cross badge.”
“It’s also got associations with the far-right,” he said. “Prison officers should be seen to be neutral.”