The Architecture of Mud in the Muslim World

Mud buildings have withstood the test of time; will they populate our futures too?

Think of Islamic mud structures and more than likely the iconic Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali will come to mind. The largest mud brick building in the world, the mosque is considered to be amongst the greatest achievement of Sudano-Swahelian architecture and one of the most famous landmarks of Africa.

But it’s not only Africa that boasts impressive (and sustainable) mud structures, the Middle East is home to some of the most stunning mud buildings in the world. From the ‘Manhattan of the Desert’ in Yemen to the Bam citadel of Iran, these mud structures show that there’s more to Muslim architecture than Mecca and Masdar. More

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350 ppm CO2 and why it matters

350 from Hans Hansen on Vimeo.

The lovely people from the 350 campaign explain the importance of maintaining CO2 levels at 350 pp with the help of graffiti artists Hans Hansen. Enjoy!

Green ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

The ‘controversial’ Ground Zero mosque has been in the news again- but this time for something more positive. Once it’s built, organizers behind the mosque insist it will boast green LEED credentials which will inspire Muslims and non-Muslims alike to take up the environemntal cause. Plans for the mosque have been dogged by harsh criticism from the American right as ‘tactlesss’ and an affront to the memory of 9/11.  However  Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, a Green Muslim from the city revealed that the mosque will be a green, open space for everyone and will “provide an opportunity for all people to gain a more complete and accurate picture of how Islam sees the world.”

Author of ‘Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet‘, Abdul-Matin also added that the mosque is more like a community centre and has been renamed Park51 to reflect its green concern as well as its openess. Reactions from the green community have so far been positive with change.org stating that it was a ‘symbol of a better planet’  with “the potential to help heal the wounds of September 11th” and “harness the power of Islam (and of all world religions) to contribute to some planetary healing too.”

Image via Panoramas

Hassan Fathy: The Middle East’s Father of Sustainable Architecture

Image via Green Prophet

By Tafline Laylin at Green Prophet

Hassan Fathy, an Egyptian architect saw the value of natural building long before it became a fad in the west.

Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy died in 1989 but left behind a legacy of 160 building projects ranging from small projects to large-scale communities complete with mosques and schools.  His impact can still be felt from Egypt to Greece and even New Mexico, where in 1981 he designed the Dar Ar-Salam community.  Fathy received several awards for his work, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1980, and founded The International Institute for Appropriate Technology in 1977.

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Altmuslimah Interview: Dr. Vandana Shiva

Image via Freeganomics

This is a great little interview posted by SARAH JAWAID who is part of DC Green Muslims on Altmuslimah– a website definately worth checking out.

You are described as a thought leader in eco-feminism which is a social and political movement that identifies strong parallels between environmental degradation and the subordination of women. Can you speak at this connection?

Eco-feminism for me is a worldview and philosophy which perceives the connections between the violence against nature and the violence against women. It identifies its root causes in the capitalist patriarchy and offers ways of seeing and living on the earth harmoniously.

What are the connections between violence against nature and violence against women?

First, it is a connection in the mind, that nature is seen as dead and inert and women are seen as passive and both are seen as mere raw materials for running a capitalist patriarchal system. And, the same worldview that defines nature as dead defines women as the second sex because it’s based on conquest and domination.

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