Scouts adopt Islamic pledge

Tue, 20 Jan 2009

Scouts in Dundee will be able to pledge allegiance to ‘Allah’ and drop the traditional oath to God and Queen, says the Scout Association in Scotland.

The Association has given its backing to starting Dundee’s 45th troop which will specifically target Muslim boys.

In the oath Muslim recruits will be able to replace the name ‘God’ with “Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful”, and pledge to honour “the country in which I am now living” instead of the Queen.

The Scout Association is already open to all faiths and Muslim boys are currently part of existing troops, but according to the Association they are aware of some who might be opposed to the traditional pledge.

A spokesman for the Scout Association Drummond Cox claims the change “represents a tweak rather than a major change”.

He said: “The Scouts may have been a Christian organisation originally but we have long been non-denominational and inclusive.

“This new troop will in no way be exclusionary and non-Muslim boys may join if they wish in an initiative that has the support of the Muslim community.”

Mr Cox added: “There are already Muslim boys in troops around Dundee but until now we do not have one catering for Muslims specifically. It is affirmative action.”

But Richard Cook of the Campaign Against Political Correctness said: “This is a disappointing development and many people will worry about the sad loss of much-loved traditions.

“Many Muslims in this country are proud monarchists, so it seems wrong to alter the pledge.”

Mr Cook warns: “Quite apart from the risk of creating a two-tier Scout movement, there is also the question of how helpful it is to set up a group that specifically aims to recruit young Muslims when we are trying to be more inclusive of other communities.

“Doesn’t this just perpetuate the divisions at the expense of cherished traditions?”

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