Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Beaver Cub Scouts in Hijabs?! Think of it as integration in progress.

An Arkala (cub leader) I know told me of a recent Scout trip she took her pack of cubs to.

Many packs attended this large group event. There were packs of Cub Scouts, and colonies of Beavers (pre-cub groups).

One colony was particularly notable as its members were all female, and all but one wore a hijab (headscarf). Not only that, but while one leader also wore a hijab, another wore a full burka.

I heard this story and think it is a wonderful example of integration in progress. For the children, muslim girls freely mixing with non-muslim boys and girls in adventurous, fun, scouting activities. For the leaders, despite the burka (clearly not being worn to isolate the leader from the rest of the world) also sharing in these activities.

It would be easy to imagine that muslims would not want this kind of mixing - either having their own youth organisations, or maybe joining the girl-guides movement (which remains unisex). But to me this demonstrates integration in action and should be celebrated. I am sure these youngsters will grow up with a full appreciation of the culture around them.

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