A Chance to Fit In

An article in the NY Times about how Muslim girls are learning to serve the community while in the Girl Scouts. There are several boy and girl scout troops here in the DC area, masha Allah. I am confident that – with God’s help – our next generation of Muslim children will make very productive citizens for our country

“When you say you are a girl scout, they say, ‘Oh, my daughter is a girl scout, too,’ and then they don’t think of you as a person from another planet,” said Asma, a slight, serious girl with a bright smile. “They are more comfortable about sitting next to me on the train.”

Scattered Muslim communities across the United States are forming Girl Scout troops as a sort of assimilation tool to help girls who often feel alienated from the mainstream culture, and to give Muslims a neighborly aura. Boy Scout troops are organized with the same inspiration, but often the leap for girls is greater because many come from conservative cultures that frown upon their participating in public physical activity.

By teaching girls to roast hot dogs or fix a flat bicycle tire, Farheen Hakeem, one troop leader here, strives to help them escape the perception of many non-Muslims that they are different.

Scouting is a way of celebrating being American without being any less Muslim, Ms. Hakeem said.

“I don’t want them to see themselves as Muslim girls doing this ‘Look at us, we are trying to be American,’ ” she said. “No, no, no, they are American. It is not an issue of trying.

Read it all


2 Responses to “A Chance to Fit In”

  1. G Says:

    Dr. Omeish,
    In an effort to find sane and equalizing words, I read you blogs often. You bring forward, in a very refined and correct way, the cultural and spiritual challenges of surviving in an separatist America. At the same time, you also bring forward the duality of this challenge as it is coupled with proud patriotic sentiments and laced with cultural antagonism. Being “american” is both a certain kind of luck and a very specific kind of danger. Danger, not only because of foreign policy, but danger of overabundance, danger of big houses, danger of too much comfort, danger of too much accessibility to choices that the rest of the world population has little knowledge of, danger of extreme allienation.”Scouting is a way of celebrating being American without being less Muslim”…I am confused by this statement.I always perceived “girl scouting” as a poisonous little white elitist activity, disguised as “american leadership”, ” american citizenship”, etc.
    I agree and ascertain, that my children know their place and rights in this society but most importantly, that my children know their responsibilty towards the people that populate the hemispheres . For that, I take them to my (theirs as well) country often, I expose them frequently to the poverty and misery that is so prevalent there. On the other hand, I encourage them to help in shelters, to offer support to the less fortunate, to choose be unconditionally nice, to love even if they don’t like.
    “America” has many beautiful things, but in its quest to be the best, the biggest, the most powerful nation in the world, I find it also important that my children understand something subtle, but extremely humane:
    No matter where you are born, no matter where you come from or how much material you own or education you have, you are a person of extreme value. Being american is not something that should be carried as a banner and it shouldn’t be “an attitude”. There are things, I never encouraged my children to do. Emulating or assimilating were one of them. The more unique individuals they became, the more colors they emanated. I also always made sure to tell them, that their mother arrived here not speaking English, unskilled and unprepared and that to survive, washed latrines and dishes. Humble begginings, make for stronger struggles and rewarding outcomes.

    Why be “american”, if you can be just…a person with the ability for empathy, compassion and understading regardless from where you come from? Being american, latino, Muslim or catholic, it does not matter.
    It’s the heart and soul that matters. And that for me, speaks louder and stronger than anything else.
    That is my belief….or I might have just missed your entire message! Can you clarify?

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