Norwich to launch East Anglia’s first Muslim Scout group

Members of the 5th Ansaar Norwich Scout Group. From left (Mansoor Undre, Faz Kamaludeen, Mark Barret

Members of the 5th Ansaar Norwich Scout Group. From left (Mansoor Undre, Faz Kamaludeen, Mark Barrett, Andy Keats (southern Norwich district commissioner) Khalid Ben Moussa and Hajira Ben Moussa. Picture: SENT IN BY MARK BARRETT - Credit: SENT IN BY MARK BARRETT

East Anglia's first ever Muslim Scout group is starting up in Norwich.

The 5th Ansaar Norwich Scout Group will be run by volunteers, all of whom attend the city's three mosques, and it officially launches in Lakenham next month.

It will follow traditional Scout activities, members will wear the usual uniform and non-Muslims can join.

Group Scout leader Mark Barrett, who co-ordinates neighbourhood support and development at the Ihsan Mosque and Islamic Centre on Chapelfield East, said: 'The Scouting movement has the potential to unite us. We all care for our children and want them to have good opportunities.

'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 group is named after the local inhabitants of Medina who took the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and his followers into their homes when they escaped Mecca.

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Mr 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,' Mr Barrett added.

He said the Scout movement, which started in 1907, was popular in the Arab world and out of the 40 million Scouts worldwide, 28 million are Muslim.

Youngsters aged between six and 14, including girls, can join the Norwich group and anyone interested can register at St Mark's Church Hall, Hall Road, on Friday, February 24, 5.30pm-6.30pm.

Limited places will be given out on a first come, first served basis.

? Taster days are at St Mark's Church Hall, where the main sessions take place, on Friday, March 3, and Friday, March 10, 5.30pm-6.30pm.

? Email norwichansaar@gmail.com for more information.

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