Christian scout leader agrees settlement after Islam claims

A scout leader kicked out of the movement for accusing it of promoting Islam and for comparing a woman canoeing in a hijab to Darth Vadar has reached an out-of-court settlement with the association.

Mr Walker says parents need to be made aware of "what is happening at the centre of Scouting."

Brian Walker, 62, was expelled from the Scout Association for writing a letter to the official magazine complaining the movement was moving away from its Christian roots.

Mr Walker, who has been in the scouting movement since the age of 10, wrote of a female leader taking girls canoeing in a hijab: “Hello! Canoeists don’t dress like that.”

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He added: “They need all round unobstructed vision so they protect the group, and of course they will most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent!”

He also criticised the association for “promoting political correctness and interfaith issues” including a visit to a mosque, but then advised using a non-religious venue for the St George’s Day service.

Mr Walker also complained that in the scouting faith calendar no meaning was attached to Christmas and Easter but that Islam was widely promoted.

He said the organisation should be careful promoting Islam “given the way the religion treats women and their rights”.

The former leader sent the letter - which was never published - in March last year but Scott Stowell, the scout’s district commissioner for Bristol South, made the decision to expel him immediately.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, he appealed the decision in June 2017, claiming he had not meant to offend anyone personally and was making a more general point about scouting generally.

But the decision was upheld, prompting Mr Walker to bring a legal action for discrimination on the grounds of his Christian beliefs and that the Association had breached its own Equal Opportunities Policy.

The Scout Movement agreed to settle the case a month after a court hearing in Bristol where a judge refused an application to throw out Mr Walker’s claim on the grounds he had no realistic chance of winning.

The size of the settlement has not been disclosed, and at the moment Mr Walker said he remains barred from the scout movement.

Mr Walker said in a statement: “Scouting was started in 1908 by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, based on Christian principles, whilst welcoming those of all faiths and none. Over recent years, I have been concerned that the movement has increasingly promoted Islam above Christianity.

“Islam is not what has given the scouting movement its inclusive and welcoming nature.”

He said that it was “ironic” that chief scout and television survival expert Bear Grylls is known for his Christianity while he was “silenced and dismissed” for a letter that was never published.

Mr Walker added: “I am raising this case as I believe the fundamental values of Scouting are being undermined.

“Parents need to be made aware of what is happening at the centre of Scouting, and will eventually flow out into the local groups.

“We need to act now to maintain and protect the values on which the movement was based.”