Duty to God and Country

martinezPublished in the Loudoun Times-Mirror May 19, 2010

“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

– Boy Scout oath

With more than 4 million members, Boy Scouts of America is one of the most prominent values-based organizations. Since its 1910 founding, more than 110 million Americans have been members. Boy Scouts programs build character, demonstrate citizenship and develop personal fitness. We are honored to celebrate 100 years of Scouting!

It’s also the 30th anniversary of the National Islamic Committee of Boy Scouts of America, which awards the “In the Name of God” and Peace emblems. Boy Scouts’ duty to God and country is why many Protestant, Roman Catholic, Latter-Day Saints, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and other faith communities sponsor Scouting programs.

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society, or ADAMS, has four Boy Scouts units with 65 Cub Scouts, 35 Boy Scouts and five Venture crewmembers. We’re members of the Goose Creek District of the National Capital Area Council. We have Scout leaders who achieved Eagle Scout rank in their youth and served honorably in the U.S. military. Muslim Scouts also participate in units sponsored by civic organizations and PTAs across the country.

Two ADAMS Boy Scouts recently achieved Eagle by collecting thousands of pounds of food for a Catholic nursing home in West Virginia and for Reston Interfaith, demonstrating their commitments to interfaith and community service.

To celebrate 100 years of Scouting, many ADAMS Scout families will attend the National Capital Area Council Centennial Camporee. The National Islamic Committee will participate in the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. There will be Muslim Friday prayers, Jewish Shabbat services and Christian Sunday services, as well as interfaith services. In “Scouting for Boys,” Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of BSA, said it best: “Every Scout should have religion. Religion seems a very simple thing: First: Love and serve God. Second: Love and serve your neighbor.”

Rizwan Jaka is a board member for the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and the Islamic Society of North America, and chairman of the board for the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.

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