Scouts do their best in Muslim primary

6th October 2006 at 01:00
Their pledge may be to Allah and not God, but the latest pack of cubs to join the scouting movement is every bit as enthusiastic as its Christian counterparts.

Despite the prayers and fasting of Ramadan, 28 children were officially enrolled into the 305th Birmingham Somerville cubs last week, the first scout group at an all-Muslim primary school.

Izhar Khan, the assistant headteacher at Somerville primary in Birmingham and newly appointed Akela, said: "Scouting is just as relevant for Muslims as it is for anyone else. It gives children a more whole picture of life as they try lots of new things, are very active and make new friends."

The traditional cub scout promise invites children to do their "duty to God" but Muslims instead make their oath to Allah.

Mr Khan introduced the school to the idea of scouting by running taster sessions for older pupils with a cub pack nearby. It proved so popular he decided to set up a dedicated group for the school. So far, 28 boys and girls from Year 4 and 5 have joined the group. They wear burgundy and light blue neckerchiefs matching their school colours. Mr Khan hopes that once more teachers or volunteers are trained they can start a beaver pack for younger children.

Richard Hornsby, headteacher, said: "The children here are Muslim but they are British too. We celebrate events and traditions from both cultures." He wants to get a flagpole installed at the school so the cubs can raise their own flag.

There are now 15 registered Muslim scout groups in the UK and another 10 are in the process of opening. More than 20 schools have created their own scout sections, many as part of extended schools initiatives.

Cub Scout promise

(Muslims replace the word "God" with "Allah")

I promise that I will do my best

To do my duty to God and the Queen

To help other people

And to keep the Cub Scout law

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