Muslim Boy Scouts Find Their Place in the Troop

August 23, 2005

Source: TIME Magazine

On August 23, 2005 the TIME Magazine reported, "Most people probably think of the Boy Scouts of America as a Christian group--and not a particularly inclusive one, a reputation earned in part through its efforts to keep out gays, atheists and agnostics. But the Scouts insists it is open and diverse, especially in matters of faith... There are Jewish, Hindu, Mormon and Baha'i scouts. There are Muslim scouts too, and for at least 20 years there have been all-Muslim troops in the U.S... There are now all-Muslim scout packs and troops in at least 22 states, involving more than 2,000 scouts and leaders... At the [National Scout Jamboree held earlier this month], the 13 scouts from Troop 797 [an all Muslim troop] camped with troops from the Houston area, and the Muslims' very presence provided a learning experience for the others... 'I've only met two other Muslims in my life, and they both smelled like incense,' says Alan Albrecht, 12. 'But these guys are just like us.' Being a living lesson in tolerance--countering stereotypes, representing an entire religion--can be a heavy burden for such young shoulders to bear. 'I guess I might respond that it's Allah's will what happens,' [Shamez Hemani, 14 of Troop 797] reflected a few days after the jamboree ended."