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Typically American: Muslim Scouts!

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""About 2,500 boys are members of 79 mosque-based troops and packs nationwide, according to the Boy Scouts. Roughly 2,500 more Muslim boys are members of units at other religious or civic institutions, according to Syed Ehtesham Naqvi, chairman of the National Islamic Committee on Scouting"".

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/muslim-scouts-pursue-an-american-tradition--in-an-america-wary-of-muslims/2016/05/25/ac6c798e-fa7f-11e5-80e4-c381214de1a3_story.html

 

Article  describes the wonderfully successful Scouting program at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS).   Full disclosure:  I played bugle at the dedication of their flag pole courtyard (an Eagle Project).  Camping, broken camp stoves, cold ground,  selling cookies, all that Scout stuff.

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We were on a troop outing in Tennessee. By chance there was another troop doing a similar outing and we were camped within an easy walk from one to the other. So after the first day, another adult leader and I dropped over to the other troop to say hello. It was a Muslim troop.

 

They were the quietest, best-behaved troop I've ever seen and and the boys took scouting very seriously from what I could see. At first the leaders acted as if we were going to interrogate them or something but when it was clear that we just wanted exchange greetings and friendship they opened up and welcomed us.

 

As we talked it became clear that they had experienced negative comments before, not only from members of the public but also from other scouters. I told them that I was saddened that not all 'scouters' actually live up to the Scout Oath and Law. I reassured them that not all of us are bigoted and they said, yes, they know. But you can't know for sure by just knowing the other person is a scouter. I couldn't disagree.

I wished them well. Never heard from them again.

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Funny.  I thought B-P himself developed the element of the Scout Law "A Scout is Friendly."

 

That's a comment on all too many Scouts and Scouters, btw... :(

Edited by John-in-KC

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The sad part of the whole process is that scouts that threat them nicely are the exception.  We must have Paper Scouters, too.

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The sad part of the whole process is that scouts that threat them nicely are the exception.  We must have Paper Scouters, too.

 

I have seen some units (regardless of ethnic background) isolate themselves from others and treat any friendly outreach as an imposition. Odd since that is not what Scouting is about...but it happens.

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My son's first real interaction with a Muslim was through scouting, National Youth Leadership Training.  Wouldn't you know it, the course was occurring during Ramadan, but just the tail end.  Their blue patrol decided to fast on the last day and have a big party at sundown for Eid al-Fitr.  I think it was a good experience for him, a learning experience in other cultures and religions.  Although I know he went through a lesson on Islam in the home school, that was more history and less, today.  He also learned that turkey bacon, while kind of tasty on its own merits, does not deserve the term bacon in it. 

 

 

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The troop was from Atlanta, camping in Tennessee. Draw your own conclusions.

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We have had a number of Muslims in our troop over the years. Nobody ever even really noticed it. Same with the Jews, the Hindus, the Taoists, and Buddhists.

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I have seen some units (regardless of ethnic background) isolate themselves from others and treat any friendly outreach as an imposition. Odd since that is not what Scouting is about...but it happens.

It will be interesting to see what kind of interactions occur between BSA Troops and TL Troops. Even between the more conservative and progressive BSA Troops.

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We have had a number of Muslims in our troop over the years. Nobody ever even really noticed it. Same with the Jews, the Hindus, the Taoists, and Buddhists.

Us too. No biggie.

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It will be interesting to see what kind of interactions occur between BSA Troops and TL Troops. Even between the more conservative and progressive BSA Troops.

 

We went to summer camp at a VERY popular camp in the eastern US. It was VERY Christian. From the campfire to the all camp gatherings to eating meals, we prayed and thanked Jesus for everything.

 

My non-Christian Scouts simply rolled with it. As my Jewish Scouts told me, "Mr. Krampus, we just substitute 'Abraham' for 'Jesus' and move on."

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We went to summer camp at a VERY popular camp in the eastern US. It was VERY Christian. From the campfire to the all camp gatherings to eating meals, we prayed and thanked Jesus for everything.

 

My non-Christian Scouts simply rolled with it. As my Jewish Scouts told me, "Mr. Krampus, we just substitute 'Abraham' for 'Jesus' and move on."

 

This is a pet peeve of mine. While the adult advisor for the chaplain does not report to me, I work very hard at making sure that the religious aspect of our program is very deistic without specific religious references such as "savior" and "Christ".  I know we still have some difficult with monotheistic references because Hinduism is not monotheistic. But it's very difficult to get the scouts from monotheistic religions to remember that when they are nervous with the public speaking to begin with.

 

And, of course, Taosim and Buddhism are, as I understand it, not really theistic.

 

There's just so much you can do with that kind of diversity.

 

But at the patrol level we are very careful to observe religious dietary restrictions where necessary.

 

That having been said, our non-christian scouts are very much like yours so far...they just "roll with it." I think it helps build goodwill with them that they do know we genuinely try.

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FWIW - The Muslim parents I know intentionally seek out Christian or Jewish units over other secular CO's. Consider it a brand they trust. They can actually become insulted when you make too much of an effort to "sanitize" grace on account of them.

 

I guess, they'd rather you spend the energy finding out what they believe than presuming that they'd take offense.

 

And of course, your mileage may vary!

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They can actually become insulted when you make too much of an effort to "sanitize" grace on account of them.

 

Actually, national program calls for BSA to be religion-independent so that scouts of all faiths feel welcome. But I agree that you can go to far.

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We had a Muslim scout and the only difference it made was that we had to buy some pans that weren't to be used with pork products.  Other than that the boys got to learn some words in Arabic. 

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