Billions of Muslims around the world have been called on to take action against climate change

In an event co-hosted by Islamic Relief Worldwide in Istanbul this week, religious leaders presented The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change and called on Muslims across the world to fulfil their religious duty and help protect the Earth for future generations. It said:

Our species, though selected to be a caretaker or steward (khalifah) on the earth, has been the cause of such corruption and devastation on it that we are in danger of ending life as we know it on our planet.

In December the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet in Paris to discuss how the world’s countries can contribute to preventing climate change from spiralling out of control. The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change was launched at the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium and will feed into this process as it calls on the richest and most powerful countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and educate people about the importance of a world reliant on 100 per cent safe, clean, renewable energy.

Dr Ashmawey at the symposium in Istanbul.

Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, said: “Our job at Islamic Relief is to save lives and to make lives better. If we do not save the Earth, there will not be a place for life to live. The United Nations tells us that this year is the last year for mankind to save the Earth. The Declaration is an urgent call to action to all Muslims: make changes in your lifestyles, remember the example set by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and preserve our world for our children and grandchildren.”

The declaration outlines the responsibility of Muslims to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), including his establishment of protected areas (himas) for the conservation and sustainable use of rangelands, plant cover and wildlife; his practice of eating simple healthy food that only occasionally included meat, and his delight in the natural world.

It urges all Muslims to make changes to their lifestyles to better protect the world, and to start a journey of education for the preservation of the world both in the present and for the future.

The symposium was hosted by Islamic Relief Worldwide with the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES) and GreenFaith. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), International Islamic Fiqh Academy and Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation were also collaborators of the event.

The declaration was created by leading scholars, Fazlun Khalid from IFEES, one of 15 leading eco theologians in the world; Professor Ibrahim Ozdemir of Ankara University; Dr Fachruddin Mangunjaya, vice-chairmen of the Center for Islamic Studies at the National University in Jakarta, Indonesia; Professor Mohammed Yasin Dutton, associate professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa; Othman Llewellyn, environmental planner at Saudi Wildlife Authority; Professor Azizan Baharuddin, deputy director general of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia; and Dr Abdelmajid Tribak, researcher in environment, agriculture and food ethics in Morocco.

Islamic Relief Worldwide is making commitments towards climate change. It released its Climate Change Policy earlier this year, and is sharing research, and integrating sustainability into its programmes, such as the installation of solar panels to give families light after sundown. Recordings of the symposium are also publically available.

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