TORONTO – Muslims across the world will commemorate Earth Day on Friday, April 18th, 2014, with the ‘Green Khutbah Campaign’ as religious leaders deliver a sermon to raise awareness on the environmental challenges facing humanity.
“We are encouraging mosques, schools, universities and Islamic Institutions to devote their Friday Khutbah to celebrate the blessings, graces and beauty of all of God’s creation and to raise awareness on the environmental challenges facing humanity,” Muaz Nasir, the publisher of the Canadian environmental website, Khaleafa.com and one of the founders of the Campaign told OnIslam.net.
“This year’s ‘Green Khutbah Campaign’ challenge is to request all Muslims to commit to a sustainable lifestyle with a 3 E action plan – be empowered to act as stewards of the environment, become educated about eco-friendly principles, be engaged by working together to improve the environment,” Nasir added.
Every year, Imams across the world are encouraged to deliver a khutba that reminds their congregations of the Qur’anic message to be stewards of the earth and its environment.
The ‘Green Khutbah Campaign’ commemorates Earth Day that will take place on Tuesday, April 22.
The first Earth Day, held on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.
More than 1 billion people across the world now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
Environmental concern around the world is on the wane, according to the GlobeScan global poll that tracked public concern on six environmental issues.
The poll found that across eighteen countries, public concern about water pollution, fresh water shortages, natural resource depletion, air pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss is way down from its peak in 2009.
However, Muaz Nasir says that Muslims cannot tune out from the environmental damage.
“Tuning out would mean that we are disregarding our moral responsibility to God’s creation,” he said.
“Those who violate or abuse the Trust are described in the Qur’an as those who corrupt, degrade and bring ruin on earth,” Muaz Nasir added. “The corrupters abuse the Trust and are in clear contrast to what Muslims must be – the stewards of the earth.”
While many mosques in North America will be delivering a Green Khutba on Friday, Muslim communities from other parts of the world are also planning to join the awareness campaign.
The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council has signed on to deliver a Green Khutba.
“We have prepared khutbas on climate change which is in the local language, and InshAllah, we will translate into Arabic,” said Abdulhafiz Kemal Issa of the Supreme Council.
“We are planning to plant trees in Addis Ababa on Earth Day and this project is supported by Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) in England.”
Meanwhile, the environmental group, ‘Green Deen South Africa’, has issued an annual call out for South African Muslim leaders to raise the Islamic-environmental banner from their mimbars on Friday.
Interfaith groups in the United States are also promoting the Green Khutba Campaign through their networks.
New York Interfaith Power & Light Group has endorsed the initiative as well as the Georgia Interfaith Power and Light Group.
The interfaith organizations were founded with the mission ‘to support and encourage congregations of all faiths in their actions to reduce global warming and protect the sacredness of the earth for all generations.’
An extensive online resource has been created by Khaleafa.com (www.Khaleafa.com/greenkhutbah) to support the ‘Green Khutbah Campaign’ and Islamic organizations and well-known leaders are continuing to throw their support behind the initiative.
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