Muslim community embraces scouting
Scouts participate in an Iftar dinner in Northern Virginia
August 15th, 2011
12:53 PM ET

Muslim community embraces scouting

By Holly Gilbert, CNN

Sterling, Virginia (CNN)–Mohammad Azraf Ullah, 17 years old of Herndon, Virginia, has been observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan since he was a young boy. Believed to purify the body and soul, the food and water fast from dusk until dawn for 30 days is part of the five tenants of Islam.

"Patience is one of the biggest things I've learned" said Ullah. "It reminds me how great God is, and you really have to be grateful to him for everything he gave you."

Such patience and reverence should help Ullah meet the requirements for his Eagle Scout badge, which he's set to earn in the coming months. The high school senior and Boy Scout participated in the annual Iftar dinner - or "breaking of the fast" meal - hosted by the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Scout program on Saturday night.

Based in Northern Virginia, ADAMs is one of the largest American Muslim organizations in the United States.

Their scout program provides an outlet for youth in the community to practice the basic beliefs of Islam while following the scout law.

Brian Kale presents an award at an Iftar dinner in Northern Virginia.

Like every future Eagle Scout, Ullah must complete a service project that benefits the community. He also has to appear before a board of review, made up of experienced scouts from the district that assess the character and integrity of the young man up for Eagle Scout status.

Brian Kale is a veteran of Boy Scouts of America and serves as the Goosecreek District Roundtable Commissioner. He testified to the seamless interweaving of possessing a higher faith and meeting the requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

"The Boy Scouts of America believes in a higher being. We're not sectarian, we do not identify one higher being over the next. However for a boy to earn Eagle Scout he has to have a reverence toward a higher purpose and a higher being," Kale said.

Whether the scouts are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or practice a different faith, Kale emphasizes well roundedness as the focus of Boy Scouts of America.

"The fact that their faith may be different than the boy next to them is immaterial. It's about learning proper skills, character development and a good moral compass."

Kale emphasized one of the 12 points of the Boy Scout Law that reflects a spirit of tolerance and spirituality - "A Scout is reverent. He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion," the law reads.

The credo encourages a kind of religiosity with scouts and troop leaders and mandates a spirit of loyalty, bravery, and self-discipline.

Abdul Rashid Abdullah, scoutmaster of Troop 786, said the Islamic faith and Boy Scouts of America are harmonious in philosophy and in practice.

"The Islamic ideals and the scouting ideals are the same. They're compatible," he said. "I can easily talk about the scout law and talk about Koranic verses that co-relate to those scout laws, so it makes it really easy."

A young Muslim girl smiles during an Iftar dinner in Northern Virginia.

Abdullah has been involved with Boy Scouts of America since childhood. Raised a Roman Catholic, Abdullah converted to Islam while attending University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

"I met a lot of students from Malaysia and they gave me the opportunity to ask questions. When I asked the questions I was like, 'That's spot on to what my beliefs already are.' So I just embraced it," he said.

Abdullah, who also serves as a regional chair of the National Islamic Council on Scouting, seizes the opportunity to interweave the fundamental beliefs of Islam with everyday scouting activities.

"I often tell parents, 'You're going to take your kids to Sunday school or whatever to learn the Koran and to learn Islam," said Abdullah. "'When I take them out camping, we're going to put that into practice."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Holidays • Islam • Muslim • Ramadan • United States • Virginia

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    Wow!! I wonder if the boy scouts would do that at a Bible study or Christmass dinner, together with the muslim kids?

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    I think that all children no matter what your religion should be able to become a scout without being discriminated for it.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • Albert Jenkin

      Scouting is open to all faiths. I am a 50+ year Scouting veteran, I have worked in Scouting with Christians, Jews, Buddhists. Some summer camps have special sessions for Moslem youth with dietary rules followed, as well as Kosher camp sessions. I'ot sure about vegetarian camps, but the individual Scout will not have meat jammed down his throat against his own principals. I am a Unitarian Universalist scouter, and I want Scouting to remain open. We welcome Moslem youth as members and their parents as leaders.

      September 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  9. Muneef


    A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics

    The following treatise on communist brainwashing, which has been published and republished since the 1930s, is an edited version of an actual textbook on Russian "psychopolitics." It was used as a primer, here in America, to teach communist agents how to brainwash people, and, in fact, how to subvert entire populations. While the wording of this particular treatise and there are any number of them may or may not be completely authentic, two things are historically certain: 1) Such brainwashing activities really occurred, and 2) this volume accurately conveys the principles and techniques employed.
    An objective look at the state of America today her inst-i-tutions, her socialistic political-economic drift, her young people's values shows precisely the results that the Soviets, for decades, bragged they wanted to achieve. It is almost as though, while communism is dying (as a political system) throughout most of the world, the seeds of corruption it planted here in the U.S. have germinated and borne bitter fruit.

    Don't take my word for it. Read the following treatise on psychopolitics, and see whether the conditions predicted back then are not exactly what America faces today in the 1990's. Consider the methods described herein the degradation of youth through $ex and drugs, the se-du-ction of this nation's media, educational, and religious inst-i-tutions, the discrediting of her leaders and decide tor yourself whether or not they are the very means that have been employed to accomplish these ends.



    A number of years ago, I set out to para-phrase a Russian Communist text-book t-i-tled PSYCHOPOLITCS; (the art of controlling the mind of an entire nation, in order to subjugate them). It was the Zionist "blueprint for the Communist con-quest of Christendom, which means primarily the White nations of the Free World and the United States in particular.

    This book was introduced to a hand picked group of 48 American college students, who were attending the Lenin School of Psychopolitical Warfare, at the University of Moscow, as the first step in their training to become the cadre for the Communist conquest of America. 45 of these young people were Jews. The book was introduced in 1934, by Laventria Beria, who at that time was the Jewish head of the Russian Secret Police. Beria confidently predicted that Jewish Communism would eventually "have dominion over the minds and bodies of every important person in America", and would "bring about the quiet Communist conquest of the United States".



    Brainwashing in America

    by Berit Kjos – 2001
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    "...absolute behavior control is imminent.... The critical point of behavior control, in effect, is sneaking up on mankind without his self-conscious realization that a crisis is at hand. Man will... never self-consciously know that it has happened." [1]  Raymond Houghton, To Nurture Humaneness, ASCD (curriculum arm of the NEA), 1970
    "The Protestant Ethic will atrophy as more and more enjoy varied leisure and guaranteed sustenance.... Most people will tend to be hedonistic..." [2]  Behavioral Science Teacher Education Program (B-STEP), Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1969.
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    August 24, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  10. Muneef

    The Last Will of Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS)
    "Reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting."

    Maintain communication and exchange of opinion among yourselves. Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. Should you do that,the worst among you would be your leaders, and you will call upon Allah without response.

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    August 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.