Muslim, Christian Girl Scouts Come Together to Foster Friendship, Understanding

Muslim, Christian Girl Scouts Come Together to Foster Friendship, Understanding

A beautiful event unfolded recently at the Islamic Center of Naperville, where two Girl Scout groups met for an interfaith event that paved the way for a lifetime of understanding and friendship.

We should all be more like Girl Scouts.

Heather Mieloszyk, a troop leader for her second- and seventh-grade daughters, was inspired to educate herself and her Scouts on the Islamic faith after some of the elementary students she teaches brought treats to school to celebrate Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast daily from sunrise to sunset.

The students’ parents put Mieloszyk in touch with Saima Hasan, a program director for the Girl Scouts troops who operate out of the Islamic Center of Naperville. Hasan and her fellow troop leaders got to work planning a day of fun and fellowship.

The Daisies (kindergarten and first-grade Girl Scouts) greeted each visitor with a flower. The girls shared snacks (cupcakes and dates) and created pins with different colored beads to swap with one another. The visiting girls learned to write their names in Arabic and received bookmarks with Arabic phrases of goodwill translated into English.

“Today’s youth should serve as tomorrow’s ambassadors of peace in a troubled world,” Hasan told me. “They would use their positive experiences with various cultures, religions, races and ethnicities and build a world of understanding, which in some way will contribute to the healing and prosperity of this great nation.”

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Muslim Girl Scouts Bring Christmas Breakfast to Naperville Firefighters

Muslim Girl Scouts Bring Christmas Breakfast to Naperville Firefighters

Naperville firefighter Kevin Caroll has worked about a dozen Christmas shifts in his 28-year career, but Friday was the first time there was a special gift delivered to him at the fire station.

Girl Scouts and their families from the Islamic Center of Naperville played Santa on Christmas morning delivering baskets full of Panera bagels, coffee cake, fruit and eggs to all 10 fire stations in town.

“This is a first. It’s very nice,” Caroll said.

After delivering treats the girls also chatted with the firefighters about their jobs and climbed in the fire trucks to explore.

“It is very much appreciated,” said firefighter Tom Kriss. “It’s not home, but it’s kind of like spending Christmas with your second family.”

The morning was about more than breakfast. Group leaders hope to counteract negative opinions about their faith.

“With what is going on in the world today, we have to be the ambassadors for peace,” said program director Saima Hasan. “We have to flood the hearts of our fellow Americans with love and kindness and show them what being Muslim is really about.”

(Photo via Daniel White, Daily Herald staff photographer)

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