- Imam al-Mahdi Scouts
name =Imam al-Mahdi Scouts
May 5, 1985
chiefscout =Dr. Bilal Naim
website = [http://www.almahdiscouts.org www.almahdiscouts.org]
Lebanese Scouting Federation
The Imam al-Mahdi Scouts ( _ar. كشافة الإمام المهدي) are a youth movement of the
Hezbollahin Lebanon, named for Muhammad al-Mahdiand 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 Federationand thus of the World Organization of the Scout Movementin 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.
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
Islamand protecting the environment.
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".
January 1, 2007, Fox Newshad 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.
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'itecommunities in Beirut, the Beqaa Valleyand 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 Jazeerajournalist, a Scout leader stated that there was no obligation for Scouts to join the armed militants.
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]
International Union of Muslim Scouts
* [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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