LONDON: Girlguiding, the UK’s largest girl-only youth organization, has issued an apology after an external audit revealed episodes of Islamophobia among both girl guides and staff.
The probe, which took evidence from over 200 members, staff, parents and carers, revealed instances of discrimination that saw youths from ethnic minorities being called racial slurs, and a Muslim girl being asked to remove her hijab during a trip.
The external communications team also told the auditors that they have experienced resistance when wanting to post things around Islamic holidays.
Operating across Britain, Girlguiding has more than 25,000 groups that meet weekly, involving over 80,000 volunteers, where they carry out adventure activities such as camping and sailing.
“On behalf of Girlguiding, I am deeply sorry to anyone who has ever felt unwelcome, unsupported or uncomfortable or who has been subject to discrimination or exclusion of any form at the charity,” said Girlguiding CEO Angela Salt.
“My priority as CEO is to strive to build people’s trust in our commitment to tackle the issues we’ve identified. We’re starting our new plan now. This will see us implement changes across the whole organization. The leadership team and I are fully committed to tackling the problems head-on and we will change,” she added.
“As society shifts and changes, we will continue to listen, engage and consult to ensure we remain relevant, accessible and impactful in the lives of girls and young women now and in the future.”
The charity has committed to tackling internal racism and Islamophobia issues with diversity training and inclusion advisors.