Muslim Army weekend gets thumbs up
PUBLISHED: 15:43 21 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010
STUDENTS from a Stevenage club took part in the first ever Muslim Army weekend. The personal activity course, devised for the Ahmadiyyan Muslim Youth Association, was attended by Yusuf Ahmad Ginnai, 16, from Letchworth GC and Mubariz Ahmad Ahmedi, 18, of
STUDENTS from a Stevenage club took part in the first ever Muslim Army weekend.
The personal activity course, devised for the Ahmadiyyan Muslim Youth Association, was attended by Yusuf Ahmad Ginnai, 16, from Letchworth GC and Mubariz Ahmad Ahmedi, 18, of Stevenage.
The weekend soldiers are sixth form students at Knights Templar School in Baldock and attend the Stevenage branch of the association.
They were among the 40 students, aged between 15 and 20, that attended the course at Gamecock Barracks in Nuneaton to sample Army life.
Activities ranged from an inflatable obstacle course and paintball to team-building command tasks and leadership skills. The revolutionary event was featured on ITV, BBC and West Midlands TV News.
Mubariz was surprised at the amount of freedom within the army lifestyle and the allowances for faiths. He said: "I definitely got a greater understanding of the Army. I didn't expect the job to be the way it is at all."
He saw the event as a once in a lifetime experience while Yusuf attended the training to learn more about Army careers and survival techniques.
Yusuf saw the event as something positive for the Muslim community in the current climate. He said: "I had a really good time. It was an experience, something different."
The trainees learnt about job opportunities and the army way of life and appreciated the way they were able to practise their religion adequately. Both believed the Muslim Youth Association was welcomed and treated with respect.
The students could continue with their five times a day prayers at the correct times, were given religiously prepared Halal food and were pleased at the state of the facilities in helping them wash and prepare themselves to practise their religion.
All agreed that it was a good idea to continue the event in the future and a number of attendees were considering joining the Army.
Although the students enjoyed themselves they are still deciding on their future plans. And while Yusuf wishes to study engineering, Mubariz is studying to be a medic. They said that, either way, the Army recommended them to complete further education as it is suitable for the job and that they wouldn't rule out an Army career in their chosen areas in the future.
Event co-ordinator Lieutenant Colonel John Moody, commander regional recruiting, hopes there will be many more activity weekends of this kind to come.
He said: "The British Army actively encourages all faiths and cultures to join up and this weekend is part of our continued programme to teach youngsters and their parents from ethnic minorities about today's modern Army."
Christianity is still the most common religion in the Army. However those from all faiths are encouraged and are able to practise their religion appropriately.
The Army observes religious festivals and holidays, allows prayer at necessary times of the day, provides transport to places of worship or on-site areas, caters for all dietary necessities and take into account religious physical requirements.
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