Action on climate change is 'religious duty', Muslim leaders to declare

James Phillips

Religious leaders and academics will call for climate change action in official declaration to be unveiled next week

Muslims must put pressure on their governments to reach a deal at December's Paris Climate Change Summit, Islamic leaders will tell the religion's 1.6 billion followers next week.

The Islamic Climate Change Declaration, drafted by leading Muslim scholars, academics and faith groups, will tell mosques and madrassas worldwide it is a "religious duty" to tackle climate change.

The statement is also expected to petition governments to transition from fossil fuels to 100 per cent renewable energy as quickly as possible.

The declaration is due to be unveiled at a symposium in Istanbul next Tuesday, where religious speakers will call on the world's richest governments to step up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and support vulnerable nations as they seek to bolster their resilience to climate change.

Ahead of its launch, Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, the Grand Mufti of Uganda, said Muslims had an obligation to "leave this world a better place than we found it".

"Every person must recognise the role they are playing in harming our planet and the devastating impact this is having on some of the world's most vulnerable and other communities," he said. "Islam teaches us: 'man is simply a steward holding whatever is on Earth in trust', therefore man should ensure that we do everything possible to protect for this and future generations in order to leave this world a better place than we found it."

The declaration follows statements made by Pope Francis in his annual encyclical in June, in which he implored Catholic citizens to demand climate action from their governments ahead of the Paris Summit.

In related news, Anote Tong, President of the Republic of Kiribati, has initiated a global rally for a moratorium on new coal mines, today writing to all world leaders to request their support for the proposal.

"It is my firm conviction that as a global community we can and must take action [on climate change] now," the letter states. "Kiribati, as a nation faced with a very uncertain future, is calling for a global moratorium on new coal mines. It would be one positive step towards our collective global action against climate change and it is my sincere hope that you and your people would add your positive support in this endeavour. Let us join together as a global community and take action now".

The campaign has been hailed by Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International, who praised Kiribati for "refusing to be silenced by reckless governments and corporations that are perpetuating climate change".

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