“The environment is something everyone should be concerned about as climate change, water scarcity and pollution are issues that do not discriminate based on faith.” That’s Muaz Nasir’s response to what he likes to call constructive criticism that the Muslim Ummah focus its energies on ‘bigger issues’ rather than climate change.
Personally, I can’t imagine a ‘bigger issue’ then the future of our planet but I completely accept that this realisation hasn’t quite reached the wider Muslim community. Ground-breaking policies such as the Muslim Seven Year Action Plan on Climate Change were impressive but as Nasir points out, but they failed to “develop the necessary research or resources that would push the climate agenda into the mainstream Muslim community.”
As such, any progress has been slow and the product of hard working individual campaigners rather than national policies. Read on for more about the Muslim-environmental movement in Canada, Nasir’s green Muslim website Khaleafa.com and how he is getting mosques to ‘Ban the Bottle’ among other green ideas he is working to implement in the Muslim community – ideas which can spread around the world.
Here’s a snippet of the interview – to read the full thing go to GreenProphet.com
What do you think are the barriers holding the Muslim community from fully engaging with the climate change agenda?
I think there is a general lack of awareness of the severity of climate change as well as what actions individuals can do to decrease their carbon footprint. The issue is just not on the radar of many Islamic institutions here in North America as it is in Europe. The Muslim community in Canada is fairly young, so there are understandably competing priorities, such as establishing their families and integrating into the broader society; which often takes precedence over the climate change agenda. This is beginning to change as weather patterns shift and the trends in the climate become more visible.
What have been the responses to Khaleafa.com – have you had to face any negative reactions or had to deal with climate sceptics?
The response has been overwhelmingly positive for the most part. I try to keep my articles as neutral as possible, and encourage contributors to base their arguments on facts and to justify their opinions with reference to the Quran, Hadith and Sunnah…
There has been some negative feedback as well, mainly in the form of constructive criticism but also from individuals who feel that Muslims should be investing their resources to deal with bigger issues facing the Ummah. While I understand the direction they are coming from, my response has been that the environment is something everyone should be concerned about as climate change, water scarcity and pollution are issues that do not discriminate based on faith. We all have a collective obligation to ensure that we leave the planet in better condition for future generations and that we do not waste the resources Allah has blessed upon us.