Profile: DC Green Muslims

While the pundits debate, eco-conscious DC-area Muslims are promoting a message of environmental stewardship to both Muslims and non-Muslims in their community.

As it turns out, a strong connection exists between Islam and protecting the Earth.

DC Green Muslims was born in October 2007 when a group of friends gathered for a vegetarian, eco-friendly iftar. In the following months, the group held more eco-friendly meals attracting up to 150-people. Today, the group, which has a blog at, is an active member of Washington’s environmental awareness community.

But what is a green Muslim?

“A ‘green Muslim’ is someone who realizes that being aware of their impact on the Earth is something that is not a foreign concept to Islam but knows that it is rooted in Islam,” Ryan Strom, an organizer with DC Green Muslims told

Strom said his loosely affiliated organization partners actively with other like-minded DC area groups dedicated to environmental preservation. DC Green Muslims has worked with Washington Parks and People to revitalize neglected parks and participated with Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light (GWIPL) on a number of environmental programs.

“DC Green Muslims participated in a GWIPL dinner based on urban planning and how you interact with your neighborhood, how neighborhoods and cities are built and how they can impact your happiness,” Strom said.

In October 2009, DC Green Muslims participated in ‘No Impact Week’ hosted by online news blog The Huffington Post. Group members discussed some of their ‘No Impact Week’ efforts on the DC Green Muslims blog.

In step with its community activities, DC Green Muslims also plans to work with DC-area mosques to further educate Muslims about Islam’s connection with environmental issues.

“We are hoping to hold environmental workshops for people who give khutbas in mosques,” Strom said. “We are trying to outreach to community leaders at mosques in and around Washington, DC, to get them to incorporate environmental stewardship from an Islamic perspective.”

For green Muslims, environmental consciousness in Islam is rooted strongly in both the Qur’an and the hadith (tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him). Among the Qur’anic concepts that supports environmental protection is that of khalifa, or stewardship and amana, or trust.

Environmentally aware Muslims cite a Qur’anic verse that says amana was offered to the heavens, the earth and to the mountains. However, they refused to accept such a burden and it was transferred to humankind.

They propose that in this situation, humanity becomes a fulcrum for the earth. If humanity is centered and whole, the earth is balanced. But if humanity is not balanced — by harming the environment and not promoting social justice — corruption will spread on earth.

Concepts that support environmental awareness are also found in the prophetic tradition, say green Muslims. The Prophet spent part of his youth closely connected to nature as a shepherd. And a saying attributed to him indicates the entire earth can serve as a mosque.

By M. SCOTT BORTOT at Arab News

For more information on DC Green Muslims see their blog here.


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