Scout movement in Lebanon is the youth wing of Hezbollah, which “takes care of children as young as four to become Muslim terrorists”
- The Imam Al-Mahdi Scout group has 45,000 members – both boys and girls
- But young recruits cared for from the age of four to become supporters of Hezbollah
- Last year, Hezbollah was added “in its entirety” to the list of terrorist organizations
The Scout movement is investigating whether a branch in Lebanon is training young people to become Muslim terrorists, The Mail can reveal on Sunday.
The Imam Al-Mahdi Scouts, with 45,000 members – boys and girls – is officially recognized by the World Scouting Movement, whose mission is “to help build a better world.”
The Lebanese group uses the famous fleur-de-lis logo of Lord Baden-Powell, the British army officer who founded the Scout movement in 1908, and members wear his traditional uniforms and scarves.
But the Al-Mahdi group is actually the youth wing of Hezbollah, one of the world’s most feared terrorist groups, accused of massacres and suicide attacks in Israel, Lebanon and parts of Syria.
The Scout movement is investigating whether a branch in Lebanon is training young people to become Muslim terrorists. Pictured: Imam Al-Mahdi members with a Hezbollah hunter (face obscured) in an image on Facebook
Last year the British government added Hezbollah “in its entirety” to its list of banned terrorist organizations. The list previously contained only the military wing.
This newspaper can reveal that young recruits at the Al-Mahdi Scouts from the age of four are cared for to become supporters and fighters for Hezbollah, supported by money and weapons from Iran.
The scouts have provided ‘honorary guards’ at the funerals of well-known Hezbollah terrorists, while other members are shown posing with armed hunters, wearing military uniforms and headbands with anti-Israeli slogans such as ‘Jerusalem – we are coming!’
However, the Al-Mahdi Scouts remains an official member of the Lebanese Scouting Federation and the wider World Scouting Movement, defended by British explorer and TV personality Bear Grylls, Chief Scout of the British Scout Association.
The group has previously denied that older scouts receive military training with weapons, but it has admitted that many of its adolescent members are fighting for Hezbollah, which has been fighting a guerrilla war against Israel for decades and is now fighting alongside the brutal Assad regime in Syria.
Sources of intelligence claim that more than 200 former members of the Al-Mahdi Scouts died in the fight against Israel and in the civil war in Syria.
Pictured: fleur-de-lis by imam Al-Mahdi
The Facebook page of the Scout group this week promoted a 2020 calendar with a photo of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who promised last month to orchestrate attacks on Western targets in revenge for the murder of Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian military commander who died in an American drone strike.
Other messages from the group included images of young Cub Scouts pointing to Israel with slogans promoting Hezbollah’s so-called “resistance” to the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The membership of the Al-Mahdi group is limited to young Shiite Muslims in the core countries of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Beirut and the Beqaa Valley.
Yesterday evening, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) announced that it had launched an investigation into the findings of this newspaper.
Spokesperson David Venn said: “WOSM rejects all practices that abuse the Scout program to involve children and young people in political recruitment or when using the Scout program to join a political party.”
The World Scouting Conference, the governing body of the international scouting movement, will meet in Egypt later this year, where delegates could consider the future of Al-Mahdi Scouts and the Lebanese Scouting Federation.
At a conference in 1999, delegates voted to ban Iran from World Scouting.