Steve Doughty, Daily Mail (London), March 30, 2012
The Scouts have designed a special uniform for Muslim girls to cater for their growing female membership.
A hoodie dress and a T-shirt dress which ‘encapsulate the adventurous spirit of Scouting’ are now available to attract recruits from Muslim families.
It is hoped that the new uniforms will allow the movement to build on its growing popularity with girls. Around one in six of the 400,000 UK Scouts is a girl.
At present a typical uniform for a girl Scout includes a short-sleeved T-shirt and no headgear. The new dresses both have long sleeves, are knee-length and can be worn with a headscarf.
They feature orange symbols based on the Scout badges for camping, canoeing, scuba diving and windsurfing.
There are currently 2,000 Muslim Scouts and 40 Scout groups which have predominantly Muslim members in Britain.
Scout leaders say they are attracting interest from increasing numbers of Muslims from second and third generation immigrant families.
The organisation has also been working hard to recruit girls and claimed to have signed up more girls than boys in 2010 to 2011.
Traditionally, girls would have joined the Guides, who number 530,000. Girls have been allowed into the Scouts since 1976.
Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: ‘Scouting has something to offer everyone, no matter your religion, ethnicity or belief, and I’m so proud that we offer an environment for people of all backgrounds to come together.’
The dresses were developed by Palestinian British designer Sarah Elenany, who aimed to create a uniform which did not necessarily mark out its wearer as a Muslim.
She said: ‘Girls told me what they wanted to wear and what issues they had with the existing range.
‘They feel more comfortable wearing the new outfits and feedback from Muslims and non-Muslims has been brilliant.’