Canada gets first Muslim Girl Guide troop

Connected to Islamic school in south west Ontario

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Like all Girl Guides, they hike, sell cookies and do good deeds for badges, but with one key difference – they do it wearing hijabs, Canadian daily the London Free Press reported on Monday.

Canada's first Muslim Girl Guide troop, spearheaded by a Somali mom, has been established in London, Ontario, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) south west of Toronto.

It includes 13 girls, all newcomers to Canada from home countries including Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian territories, Sudan, Somalia and Kenya.

"We want our girls to integrate into society. We want to give them a better chance in life," Kamila Adan, the group leader, was quoted as saying by the Free Press.

Girl Guides of Canada is open to all girls regardless of faith or culture, but Adan and other moms connected to London's Al Tawqwa Islamic school wanted a unit incorporating Islam into the girls' activities.

According to the paper, the Muslim group holds prayers breaks and cancels meetings in the fasting month of Ramadan.

Officially named London First Guiding Unit, the group is one of about 100 guide groups in the London area and is open to non-Muslims as well.

Adan, who has three children in the group, has undergone Girl Guide training as a leader along with Farhia Omar, and Samia Abusaweid, a teacher at Al Tawqwa.

"We think this is a good way for them to have their values as Muslims, but also appreciate the Canadian experience," Abusaweid said.

This month, the girls went camping -- many for the first time -- where the members hiked, made campfires and prepared tinfoil dinners, the Free Press said.

"This is really fun," said 11-year-old Fatima Abdisalam. "I met new people, learned new songs, played new games. I love Girl Guides."