Islam, Climate Change and Frat-boy Elites…

Unbalanced scales

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The Qur’an reminds us that the earth does not belong to us, but the problem is not that we are living as if it did. No sane proporty owner would rip out the walls and floors of his own house merely to satisfy his craving for bonfires. Our global elites today are behaving like drunken frat-boys trashing someone else’s property with no concern for the reckoning to follow. The ever-increasing masses of poor, meanwhile, are like an oversized herd of stampeding elephants  driven mad by hunger and desperation, trampling everything in sight. Neither group has any vision of the consequences, and nowhere is the Islamic principles of Mizan (balance) being maintained.

Quote from fascinating and highly recommended book I’m reading by Richard Foltz called ‘Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures.’  It’s been a while since I read anything of this quality looking at Islam, nature, the environment and animals. Just brilliant stuff packed into a (tiny) 200-page gem-of-a-book. My adivce? Read it.

Finding Interfaith Potential in Environmentalism

Many saw President Obama’s speech in Indonesia last month as a second attempt to improve America’s relationship with Muslim communities around the world, after his first attempt in Cairo in June 2009. He addressed issues such as development, democracy, and religion — complimenting Indonesia’s ability to move development, establish one of the world’s largest democracies and function as a religiously pluralistic society.

However, his words elucidate our domestic need to reframe our understanding of interfaith work. Diversity is a fact, not an achievement. As a plural nation, we must not see tolerance as a destination, but as the first step of engaging faith communities in tacking our must fundamental issues. Rather than rehashing our differences in creed and theology, we must focus on the problems that we all face in America: need for more jobs, economic and financial reform and a clean environment.

Our environmental problem is one place where the religion, democracy and development trifecta has a clear potential for success. Communities of faith around the country are joining the “green” conversation and the environmental movement. Groups like Green Faith and Interfaith Leaders for Environmental Justice are bringing people together around protecting planet, not destroying it. An Amazon Environmentalism bestselling book is Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, a book that encourages people of faith — specifically Muslims — to see themselves as stewards of the Earth with a divine responsibility to leave the planet better than we found it. Faith communities can set aside their differences and work towards solutions to common problems.

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