When a “new uniform” is just new casual active Scouting-wear…

30 March 2012

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Sometimes I just have to wonder if journalists even read press releases properly before writing a story based on them. Just look at the headlines from reputable news sources below:

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The problem with these stories? They’re wrong. There is no change to the Scout uniform at all – that remains the same. All that has happened is that a new clothing range has been launched with reference to Muslim girls. It is serving an apparent desire for girls – Muslim or not – to have a longer dress-like i.SCOUT hoodie for casual Scouting-wear. It is clearly not replacing uniform, and is there to enable and encourage further diversity.

Scouting is and must always be open to all young people, regardless of faith or background. This new range of “hoodie dresses” will allow a greater number of Muslim girls to take part in Scouting activities.

It is simply an extension to the i.SCOUT casual clothing range – and that’s not uniform. This is uniform.

But, back to the poor journalism. Many people have become confused by this and it has led to the typical Daily Mail reactions such as the currently “best rated” comment from James in Surrey:

Looks like integration has gone out the window then, along with Scouting tradition. Bending over backward to appease the minority, yet again, how typical.

Followed closely by other such idiocy, including:

Stop the pandering NOW! What’s going to be next? I shudder to think.

And:

The Scout movement… Another traditionally Christian institution, valued for instilling discipline & skills & fair-play in youngsters, with a once-immediately-recognised uniform…. now destroyed by politicaly-correct multiculturalism. Do these muslim scouts say the Scouts Promise “To do my duty to God and to the Queen,”?

Actually, the last comment (from Brian in London), is the most offensive. Simply because it is so totally backwards… surely instilling fair-play in young people includes respect for others (which is also one of the Scout Laws) and involves including as many people as possible in Scouting? Plus of course, Muslim Scouts make the same Promise as every other Scout in the UK, replacing only he word “God” with “Allah”.

Producing activity Scouting-wear that allows and encourages more Muslim girls to get invovled is nothing other than a good thing. This is not new uniform, and Scouting is not allowing itself to be controlled or changed by some imagined “evil multiculturalism” – it is encouraging diversity and for more people other different backgrounds to benefit from the everyday adventure, learning and development that we as Leaders provide.

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