Global thinkers and environmental activists have attended the second annual Environmental Justice in Islam seminar, co-hosted by Islamic Relief in South Africa.

The theme for this year’s event was The Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change: South African Muslim Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities.

The event, held on Saturday, December 5, was organised by Islamic Relief and the International Peace College South Africa, in partnership with Muslims for Eco-Justice.

It followed the recent launch of the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, and coincided with COP 21, global talks to decide action on the changing climate.

Chair of Trustees Tahir Salie

Chair of Trustees Tahir Salie

Islamic Relief’s chair of trustee Tahir Salie attended the event, which was held in Cape Town.

Speaking at the event, he said: “An overwhelming majority of scientists are of the view that climate change is the most dangerous challenge of the century. There is international consensus that we must try to keep the average rise of atmospheric temperature below 2C from its level of pre-industrial times if we are to avert catastrophic and irreversible climate change.

“The current warming of the atmosphere largely as the result of carbon dioxide pollution is already causing devastating effects, including floods, droughts, hurricanes and the rise in sea levels with dire consequences for the lives and livelihoods of vast numbers of people particularly in developing countries.

“We at Islamic Relief are all too aware of these impacts as we are often there on the ground to save lives and reduce the suffering and misery caused by the impacts of climate change.”

Launching the Islamic Climate Change Declaration Toolkit, he spoke of the Declaration, which was drafted to help mobilise the international Muslim community to be more reflective about and responsive to global and local environment concerns, and called for action, adding: “The declaration laments the social justice of climate change, which is mainly caused by the emissions of carbon dioxide of rich countries while its brunt is borne by people in developing countries who are also the least prepared and have the least capacity to respond.”

COP 21 continues until December 11 and the fight to protect the climate will continue into the future.

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