Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Green Muslims

There are many Evangelical Christians who are also concerned about the environment. In fact, E.O. Wilson has formed fruitful collaborations with several Evangelical groups in the US in dealing with the issue of climate change (also see Why are young Evangelicals more likely to link their beliefs with environmentalism?). It seems that Muslims are also moving in this direction - and I can see how this can become a significant environmental movement. A conference in Indonesia beginning at the end of this week will address some of these issues, including that of a "green Hajj":

Muslim community representatives from 17 countries will hold an international conference on climate change to hash out tangible action to tackle global warming, including through the “green haj” concept.

The April 9-10 conference in Bogor will feature around 200 participants, including 90 from Islamic boarding schools across Indonesia.

“This is an action-oriented conference to motivate Muslims to protect the planet from the threat of global warming,” organizing committee member Ismet Hadad said Monday.

“We want to show the world that Muslims are also doing their part to combat climate change, which affects all people regardless of religious or ethnic background.”

The conference will be held at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture’s convention center, and will be funded in part by Conservation Inter-national.

Here are some specifics from last year's meeting in Istanbul:

At last year’s meeting in Istanbul, the conference adopted the “Muslim seven-year action plan for climate change”.

The plan includes proposals for a more environmentally management of the annual haj, eco-friendly mosques and publishing the Koran with paper from sustainable forests.

Ahmad Fauzi, the Forestry Ministry’s liaison for the conference, said organizers expected to come up with concrete results on how to implement the proposals agreed on in Turkey.

He said one of the more ambitious targets was the “green haj”, in which haj pilgrims would be encouraged to minimize and offset their carbon footprints from the pilgrimage.

Well...yes, greening the Hajj alone would be a significant step. After all, 2.5 million people join for Hajj each year - plus, numerous others visit Mecca throughout the year for Umrah, the non-Hajj pilgrimage. One of the measures being considered is to phase out the use of plastic bottles throughout the Hajj. A small step - but with a big impact. Similarly, there are ideas around building green mosques, i.e. mosques with energy-saving designs. Under normal circumstances, the prospects for the implementation of such ideas appear small. However, this is topic, if framed properly, can really resonate well with the larger Muslim population. It is hip, modern, and consistent with the way mainstream Muslims interpret the Qur'an. Also see this earlier post about Abu Dhabi's Masdar City - a planned zero-carbon eco-city.

Read the full story here.


Dr. Muhammad Akbar Hussain said...

What is the total carbon emmission of all the Muslim countries combined? What percentage of the world total is that? What difference a green Haj would make in the total carbon emmission? What is this global warming thing anyways...an honestly documented phenomenon or a pseudo-scientific hoax?

Carbon emmission by Muslim countries:
0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0 = 0

Salman Hameed said...

Hey Akbar,

Welcome back! And yes, I have to confess: We were all send a memo to make the stuff about global warming. I told them that this would never work - but those Knights Templars were insistent we do exactly as they tell us to do. So sorry about the whole global warming hoax.

But I'm curious and I have a question: I understand your denial of climate change - but what's wrong with using a material that can be recycled again? The green Hajj piece was about avoiding plastic bottles for 2.5 million people. This is about trash not global warming. Also, in many ways, we have been recycling in Pakistan for ages - with glass bottles (glass-wala) and newspapers (raddi-paper wala) etc. and its a positive thing. Why not be positive about this effort?

Atif Khan said...

Thats a good plan

Unknown said...


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