Muslim Scholars Prepare Call for Action on Climate Change

Islamic scholars and religious leaders are preparing a call for action on climate change that will say it’s the religious duty of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to fight global warming.

The declaration will be made in Istanbul next Tuesday during a two-day meeting in the Turkish city coordinated by three religious-environmental groups, according to Climate Action Network, a network of non-governmental organizations.

“Islam teaches us: ‘Man is simply a steward holding whatever is on Earth in trust,’” Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, Uganda’s grand mufti, said in a statement e-mailed by CAN. “Therefore man should ensure that we do everything possible to protect for this and future generations in order to leave this world a better place than we found it.”

A growing list of religious leaders have made interventions on climate change to spell out the moral imperative to reduce manmade greenhouse-gas pollution and prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Foremost was Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, who in June published a 181-page encyclical urging drastic cuts in fossil-fuel emissions to arrest the planet’s “spiral of self-destruction.”

The Church of England in April said it was divesting 12 million pounds ($19 million) from thermal coal and tar sands, adding to a growing number of pension funds and endowments at churches, universities, philanthropic groups and financial organizations that are shedding investments in the dirtiest fossil fuels.

‘Role to Play’

Tuesday’s declaration will call for action in madrassas and mosques around the world to emphasize the role Islam can play in combating climate change, according to CAN’s statement. It will also call on the richest nations to drastically reduce emissions and help support the people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising seas, more intense storms and more prolonged droughts.

The groups co-ordinating next week’s symposium in Istanbul are the charities Islamic Relief Worldwide and the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, and GreenFaith, an interfaith coalition of religious groups working to protect the environment.

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