Muslim Clerics Urged to Include Environment in Sermons

09/07/2010

The country’s ulamas have been urged to take on a new task: preach about the environment.

The local branch of the Muslim Associations for Climate Change Action has asked the country’s Muslim clerics to include sermons on the environment during the Friday worship seeing as the country’s five million Muslims in Mindanao are, aside from armed conflicts, threatened by global warming.

MACCA-Philippines convenor Amina Rasul said: “Most Muslim citizens living in Mindanao, they’re livelihood are connected with natural resources like land, water. You will have five million who will not be able to support their livelihood in the years to come.”

Rasul said studies show that the people of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao are vulnerable to the effects of global warming like drought and floods.

Since these places are also witness to armed conflicts, the residents in these areas would find it doubly hard to adapt to the changes in the environment.

“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources addressing all of those challenges, so is the Climate Change Commission. We are coming in because we found out that there is not much that’s being done to work on these issues in the Muslim communities,” Rasul said.

The first meeting of MACCA in Kuwait in 2009 produced a call that urged “among other things, getting the ulamas to talk about the environment and the need to protect the environment during the Friday prayers,” Rasul said.

“Another issue, they said, that we should have [the] environment inserted into the curriculum of the ‘maddrassah,’” she said, referring to the Islamic schools.

Rasul said ulamas and Muslim scholars are vital in advocacy building and urging communities into action. Every village in Muslim Mindanao, she said, has an ulama who is respected by the community.

Already, there were Muslim scholars and clerics who preach about protecting the environment. The mufti of Tawi-Tawi, for instance, is active in environmental matters, Rasul noted.

“So, it would be good if you can bring the ‘khutba’ (sermon) from Tawi-Tawi and spread it in the hundreds of Mosques all over the country. Then you would have a Friday sermon encouraging the faithful to protect the environment. Pick up your litter. Don’t burn rubber. Don’t cut trees. Plant a tree. All of these things they can start working on at the advocacy level,” Rasul said.

This piece is taken from the website of the Inquirer.net

See on-line at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20100907-291038/Muslim-clerics-urged-to-include-environment-in-sermons

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