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Last Updated: Monday, 27 March 2006, 05:54 GMT 06:54 UK
First Muslim scout group in Wales
Cub leader Salah Aboulgasem and his brother Yusuf
Salah Aboulgasem (left) is cub leader of the scout group
The first Muslim scout group in Wales has been launched with more than 100 members.

Salah Aboulgasem, cub leader of the 1st Cathays al Huda group in Cardiff, said he wanted to help young Muslims become leaders in their community and society.

Mr Aboulgasem said scouting - one of the longest-running youth organisation in the world - was the best way to achieve this.

The scout movement will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2007.

The different sections of the group will meet four times a week at Roath Park Community Centre in Cardiff.

Mr Aboulgasem, whose brother Yusuf is one of the cubs, said the first Welsh Muslim group would also be open to non-Muslims.

But he told BBC Radio Wales that having a Muslim scout group was important to Muslim parents.

"If [the parents] know they are with other Muslims who can understand them and treat them better - and suit their needs - then they will be more than happy to bring them along," he said.

We're trying to bring up and develop individuals so not only can they lead their local communities, but lead society
Cub leader Salah Aboulgasem

Activities at the scout group include educational, spiritual, and creative programmes.

Camping, outdoor activities and alternative leisure activities which are often not accessible to Muslim youths will also be available, the group said.

Mr Aboulgasem said there were problems with young Muslims under-achieving in education.

"There's a lack of integration with Muslims in wider society and scouting is the most successful, longest-running youth organisation in the world," he said.

"We try to promote and teach them individually and collectively to be active within their own communities and also within wider society.

"Scouting is an excellent opportunity for that because you have a district system... We meet with other groups from across the city and across the district and we get to know each other and combine activities together.

"We're trying to bring up and develop individuals so not only can they lead their local communities, but lead society.

"There's definitely a need for something and scouting is the best form of that."

New HQ for valleys scouts
17 Jan 03 |  Wales

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