Congratulations to Amir Cheema for being conferred the Point of Light award by the Prime Minister for services to scouting. The Scout Association notes,
A Scout leader from Bristol, who has brought together hundreds of young people from different faiths, has been awarded a volunteering award by Prime Minister David Cameron.For the past 11 years, Amir Cheema has dedicated his time to helping young Muslims become part of the Scout movement. His efforts have meant that young people from different backgrounds and faiths have come together – leading to better community cohesion and understanding. Scout 4th May 2014
Amir is a leading light of the British and international Scouts scene. He is a member of the Scout Associations Programme and Development Sub-Committee and vice-chairman of the Muslim Scouts Fellowship.
He notes that “Scouting is the only values based youth organisation that provides young people a comprehensive programme of progressive development. Most BME communities such as Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims have a strong community and values based element which has strong parallels with Scouting”. He is a beaver and cub leader, with all family members active: “I got involved through my children. My son was a beaver scout and my wife is also a Leader, but we do it for the benefit of the community as well as the family”.
Amir was the assistant contingent leader of British Muslim scouts at the Hajj in January 2006: “We learnt first hand what an excellent role the Saudi Scouts play in Hajj by manning information points, guiding pilgrims, taking lost ones back to their tents, performing first aid and looking after lost children. We had a true sense of the family of Scouting across cultures and languages. We exchanged gifts and presents with our fellow Scouts”. Of the 28 million Scouts worldwide, a third are Muslim.
The Muslim scout camps in Britain have provision for prayers. Amir notes: “Early morning prayer is very early, but there are consolations. During the summer at 4.15am the sky is really beautiful”. Amir lives in Bristol where he is in charge of the 1st Bristol Scout Group.
Amir is a former chair of the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society and an engineer by profession. The fourteen Muslim scout groups in the UK are looking forward to an active role in the World Scout Jamboree to be held in Windsor in 2007.