Imam al-Mahdi Scouts


Imam al-Mahdi Scouts

Infobox WorldScouting
type =
name =Imam al-Mahdi Scouts


image-size =140px
caption =
headquarters =
location =
lat_degrees =
lat_minutes =
lat_seconds =
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long_degrees =
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country =Lebanon
f-date =May 5, 1985
founder =
award-for =
members =42,000
chiefscouttitle =President
chiefscout =Dr. Bilal Naim
owner =
website = [http://www.almahdiscouts.org www.almahdiscouts.org]
affiliation =Lebanese Scouting Federation

The Imam al-Mahdi Scouts ( _ar. كشافة الإمام المهدي) are a youth movement of the Hezbollah in Lebanon, named for Muhammad al-Mahdi and established on May 5, 1985.cite web|title=Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S)-September 11, 2006|url=http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/eng_n/html/hezbollah_Scouts_e.htm|date=2006-09-11|publisher=Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S) ] cite web|title= Egyptian Weekly on Hizbullah's Armed Children's Militias|url= http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgiPage=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP127606|date= 2006-09-01|publisher= The Middle East Media Research Institute]

The Imam al-Mahdi Scouts became a member of the Lebanese Scouting Federation and thus of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1998.cite news | last =Coombes | first =Andrew | title =Hezbollah's Scout brigade | language =English | publisher = Al Jazeera | date =2007-12-21 | url =http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E26C2338-1AB9-4764-8972-F2B9AFB7989B.htm | accessdate =2007-12-22] The organization has about 42,000 members of both sexes between the ages of 8-16 organized into 500 local groups.

Program

Activities include camping, community service projects such as helping the disabled and cleaning places of worship, computing, fishing, team sports, boxing, reading classes, learning administrative skills, learning about Islam and protecting the environment.

The organization is divided in three sections according to age:
* Cubs
* Scouts
* Rangers.

The Scout motto is "Together to Serve".

Emblem and uniform

The emblem of the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts includes the Scout fleur-de-lis, in the top center of which is a hand with an out-turned palm, possibly the Hand of Fatima, and supported on left and right by single scimitars; the text, which says _ar. وأطيعوا, meaning "obey".

On January 1, 2007, Fox News had a report on the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts.Fact|date=February 2008 In the report footage, the youth look very much like mainstream Scouts, with uniforms in light and medium blue, white, yellow and purple for different groups, as well as badges similar to mainstream Scouts. The flag of the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts was shown flown from cars and along the roadside and features their emblem.

Controversy

According to the Israeli 'Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center' (ITIC) at the 'Center for Special Studies' (CSS), the the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts were established in 1985 and are operated under the jurisdiction of the Lebanese Ministry of Education despite the movement's instructing tens of thousands of children and teenagers in military tactics and that they are "indoctrinated with the principles of radical Iranian Islam" at summer training camps in Shi'ite communities in Beirut, the Beqaa Valley and south Lebanon.

The ITIC reports that male Imam al-Mahdi Scouts turning 17 make their way into Hezbollah's fighting ranks and that information appearing on the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts calendar notes more than 120 of the Scout’s members died as shaheeds in Hezbollah militant activity, including suicide bombers (supported by English version of site); [http://www.almahdiscouts.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=141 'English: General overview of the association'] , (almahdiscouts.net)] however, a Fox report said very few of the Scouts are actually chosen.Fact|date=March 2008 In an interview with an Al Jazeera journalist, a Scout leader stated that there was no obligation for Scouts to join the armed militants.

Another source for the involvement of the association in Hezbollah militant activity is a report published in Egyptian weekly on August 18, 2006 by Roz Al-Yusuf.

The German psychologist and researcher on fanaticism Peter Conzen compared Imam al-Mahdi Scouts and Hitler Youth, saying that both associations defraud children of their youth.cite news|title =Hisbollah – die Armee des Bösen|language =German|publisher =Bild.de|url =http://www.bild.de/BTO/news/aktuell/2006/07/26/hisbollah-armee-des-boesen/hisbollah-armee-des-boesen.html|accessdate =2008-02-17] cite news|title =Hisbollah wie Hitler-Jugend|language =German|publisher =kath.net-Katholischer Nachrichtendienst|url =http://kath.net/detail.php?id=14334|date=2006-07-29|accessdate =2008-02-17]

ee also

*International Union of Muslim Scouts

Notes

External links

* [http://www.almahdiscouts.net Official homepage in Arabic]
* [http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/eng_n/html/hezbollah_scouts_e.htm Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies] , Israel - main source for all reports and blogs
* [http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/2006/inside_hizballah/ Time magazine: Photo Essay: Inside Hezbollah]
* [http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP127606 The Middle East Media Research Institute: Egyptian Weekly on Hizbullah's Armed Children's Militias]


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