Poppy Hijab model “outraged” at Mail and BBC for publishing photos

Rukea M. Azougaye

One of the models who wore the ‘poppy hijab’ is left “angry and upset” after the Daily Mail and the BBC published photos of her without her consent.

Rukea Azougaye whose face was splashed across the British press for donning the ‘poppy hijab’ is outraged after photographers promised her that they wouldn’t publish her photos.

She posted the following statement on her Facebook:

“Hmm I would like to clarify something. As many of you see I have been modelling (photo shoot and filming) for the poppy-scarf campaign by a charity called British Future that aims to work towards an inclusive British society with a positive outlook on migration and integration in Britain. I cannot argue with that as I am someone who would fit into that category and therefore really resonate with the aims of the charity. I had been asked by someone I know from my Uni if I wanted to model for her campaign along with two other Uni friends, being photographed by someone I’ve encountered many times as a photographer and am comfortable with. And as a German I had a very basic idea as to what the poppy symbol represents – the remembrance of soldiers who fell during wars, including the First and Second World War, and that the money made with the poppies go out to war survivors and their families. As I generally see soldiers as victims anyway, I didn’t think of it as anything bad. So when I was asked to model for a girl who is studying to be a fashion designer, who maybe saw this as a chance to grow, I was happy to help out and also found comfort in the fact that I knew most of the people involved.

However, I had no idea it would be all over the Daily Mail and I also didn’t know that there was an article our faces would be used for; hence I wasn’t prepared for some of the backlash I have been reading today. And it is only today that I found out that this random woman at the photo shoot who assured me that the photos would not be used was actually from the Daily Mail and those two guys with the third camera, who interviewed us, also assuring us that it was nothing major, were from the BBC. We thought they were all from the same crew as none of them had introduced themselves officially.

Rukea Azougaye (middle) Photo: Daily Mail
Rukea Azougaye (middle) Photo: Daily Mail

So I am upset and angry, first and foremost with myself, for not having asked more questions and making it easy for the media to use me, assuming that being familiar with the people involved would be enough for me to good heartedly help someone out and not question the people I didn’t know.

At first I was surprised to see the article today and initially perceived it as something positive but upon reflecting and actually realising what happened I am more than upset and outraged that our faces have been used without our consent, whether it is for a good cause or not.

And upon further research, I now know that there are many different opinions about this matter and I just wanted to make clear where I stand. I don’t support any wars and killings of anybody, including soldiers. And I can assure that nobody urged anyone to wear anything, we simply thought we are supporting a young fashion-designer to be with her little project. I am thankful for all the positive comments and support here on Facebook but I have to say that I am not pleased with what has happened and feel very played and used. This has been a big lesson for me and I will be a lot more careful and cautious in the future.”

The scarf is backed by the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) and profits from its sale will be donated to the Poppy Appeal.

The poppy hijab, which costs £22, launched today marking 100 years since the first Muslim soldier was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the WW1.

The scarf was designed by a Muslim fashion designer, Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq, a 24-year-old student at the University of the Arts in London.

She said: “I hope the poppy headscarf gives Muslim women a new way to mark Remembrance Day and to help raise money for the Poppy Appeal. It’s a simple way to say you’re proudly British and proudly Muslim.”

This Facebook status was initially accessible to the public until Rukea changed the visibility settings to private. 5Pillarz asked Rukea if she’d like to elaborate on anything mentioned in the status before we published it, she refused to comment. 

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