About the ICOS


Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. Based on Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 0.7 percent of the U.S. population practices Islam, representing more than 1.8 million people. of those:

  • 65 percent are immigrants representing mostly Arab and South Asian countries.
  • 35 percent are native-born Muslims and 21 percent are converts to Islam.

Religious Principles and Key Terms

There are several Islamic terms with which Scout officials should be familiar:

Islam: The Arabic word ISLAM means voluntary acceptance of the will of Allah and obedience to His commands.

Muslim: A person who freely and consciously accepts the Islamic way of life, and practices it is called a Muslim.

The Qur’an: The sacred book of Islam. Muslims usually learn to read it in Arabic and many entirely memorize it by heart. They are expected to understand its meaning and practice its teachings. Many Muslim Scouts study with religious teachers at obligatory training sessions at the mosque until about age 12.

Basic Beliefs:The five fundamental Islamic beliefs are:

  • Tawhid(Oneness of Allah),
  • Risalah(Prophethood),
  • Yaum al-AkhirawaMa’ad(Day of Judgment and Life After Death),
  • Ghaib(Angels and the Unseen),
  • Kutub(All the Books from Allah – “God” such as Zabour, Torah, Bible and Qur’an).

Iman: One of the three dimensions of the Islamic religion which refers to the strength of conviction, or faith, of a Muslim.


There are five pillars of Islam (or foundations of faith):

  • Sallat (Five times a day prayers) A Muslim Scout, of the right age for prayer, must offer prayer (when in camp, time for this activity should be allowed). Before beginning, the youth will need to wash in the prescribed way, and attend the mosque (or other suitable area when in camp) to say prayers.
  • Fasting The Muslim Scout will need to fast the whole month of Ramadan from dawn to sunset (no food or drink).

Additional pillars of the faith are giving to the needy, openly declaring faith in Allah and Muhammad as His last messenger, and making a pilgrimage at least once during one’s lifetime to the first House of God in Mecca.

Islamic Dietary Customs

Muslims are permitted only halal foods (i.e., foods that have been prepared according to Muslim law). Some Muslim youth will eat beef, lamb, and chicken only if they have been slaughtered in the Islamic manner (Zabiha).

Pork is forbidden to Muslims, but fish is acceptable.

Role of Scouting in Islam

Pork is forbidden to Muslims, but fish is acceptable.

In 1982, the National Islamic Committee on Scouting (NICS) was formed by the Islamic Council on Scouting of North America. The committee is comprised of:

  • A chair appointed annually by the president of the Islamic Council and approved by the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Officers appointed by the chair including executive vice chair, committee chairs, national chaplain, secretary, and regional vice chairs.

Mission of NICS: Promote Scouting among Muslim youth; help Muslim institutions and local council Islamic committees provide Scouting opportunities for Muslim youth; and promote Islamic values in Scouting through program helps and the religious emblems program.

Responsibilities of NICS include:

  • Formulating policies that govern the formation of Scouting in Islamic organizations.
  • Establishing policies affecting the participation of Muslim men and women in Scouting through Islamic centers and mosques.
  • Advising the BSA National Council in all matters relating to Scouting among Muslims.