NORWICH – The Eastern British city of Norwich will get its first Muslim scout group soon, encouraging young people of all faiths to join and learn more about Muslims and the scouting movement.
“The Scouting movement has the potential to unite us. We all care for our children and want them to have good opportunities,” Group Scout leader Mark Barrett, who co-ordinates neighborhood support and development at the Ihsan Mosque and Islamic Centre on Chapelfield East, told Eastern Daily Press on Wednesday, February 22.
“It is really important for people to interact with Muslims. We need to understand each other.
“The new group will do all the usual things involved with the Scouting movement and non-Muslims will be able to learn about Muslims. It will be inclusive.”
The new group, the 5th Ansaar Norwich Scout Group, is named after the local inhabitants of Madinah who took Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers into their homes when they escaped Makkah.
It will be run by volunteers, all of whom attend the city’s three mosques, and it officially launches in Lakenham next month.
Barrett, 47, a Thorpe St Andrew supply teacher, said the inspiration for the group came from a Living Islam Festival last year where members from the Muslim Scout Fellowship were putting on an exhibition.
“There are Muslim Scout groups around the country. It is quite common but we are the only part of the country where there is no Muslim Scout group. The Norwich community is keen to be the first place in East Anglia to get one,” Barrett added.
Starting in 1907, the Scout movement was popular in the Arab world and out of the 40 million Scouts worldwide, 28 million are Muslim, he noted.