Event explores faith-based environmental activism
The interconnection between Islam and climate responsibility was the focus of a training workshop and panel discussion between international and regional scholars, including Qatar Foundation (QF) experts, organized by Hamad Bin Khalifa (HBKU)’s College of Islamic Studies (CIS) from September 20-21.
Titled “Call for Al Mizan: Islam and Climate Responsibility”, the event attempted to address the questions of how we can achieve Mizan (balance) in the relationship between humans and nature, reduce our ecological footprint, and become sustainable in our everyday lives and being. The two-day event was an effort by CIS to bridge the divide between religiosity and sustainability and provide guidance on the ways Muslims can reignite environmental activism through Islamic tradition.
CIS partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Faith for Earth Initiative, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), National University, Jakarta, Üsküdar University, Turkey, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES/Eco Islam), Maker Majlis, Earthna (a Qatar Foundation member) and Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG), part of HBKU.
The QBG team and scientists from the 'Mizan' campaign planted a Sidra tree on the sidelines of the event. The ceremony was held to emphasize the importance of reforestation and the community’s role in maintaining the ecological balance.
Dr. Recep Şentürk, Dean of CIS; Dr. Evren Tok, Associate Professor of Islam and Global Affairs and Assistant Dean of Innovation and Community Engagement at CIS; and Dr. Mustafa Elamin, Professor of Islam and Global Affairs at CIS; delivered opening remarks on the collaboration with UNEP’s Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth, a global endeavor to engage Islamic scholars and Muslim institutions in the adoption of the call.
Presentations focused on why a faith-based perspective is essential to climate responsibility. These were led by Dr. Iyad Abu Moghli, Founder and Director, UNEP Faith for Earth Initiative, and Chair of Al-Mizan; Dr. Ibrahim Ozdemir, Environmentalist and Professor of Philosophy, Ecology and Religion, Dean at Uskudar University; and Dr. Odeh AlJayyousi, a sustainability and innovation expert from Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain.
Ms. Ruba Hinnawi, Earthna Technical Lead, discussed how Islamic values shape Earthna’s sustainability strategy, advocacy, and policy models. Mr. Mohamed Hassona, a horticultural specialist at QBG, introduced several of their educational programs that highlight the importance of Al Mizan.
High-level panels on day two encouraged engagement, debate, and frank conversations. Following opening remarks by Dr. Fazlun Khalid, Islamic Ecotheologian and Founder-Director of IFEES/Eco Islam, the first panel focused on general climate policies and institutions.
Featured speakers were Dr. Gonzalo de la Mata, Ecologist and Executive Director of Earthna; Dr. Hend Zainel, the Executive Director of Management, Strategy and Partnerships in the Higher Education Sector at QF; Dr. Mustafa Elamin, CIS and Darwish Ahmed Al Shebani, Secretary General, Global Public Diplomacy Net.
Panel two introduced Al Mizan, its Islamic basis, and applicability, and featured Dr. Moghli, Dr. Ozdemir, Dr. Al-Jayyousi, and Ahmed Al Gharib, Researcher at QBG.
Speaking after the event, Dr. Evren Tok said: “The pressing question of what is required to awaken genuine change towards environmental sustainability is intrinsic in our scholarship at CIS. It also reflects in our mission to advance knowledge and actionable possibilities that ensure a better world for future generations. Bringing together like-minded national, regional, and international partners and global authorities enables collective efforts to combine environmentalism with our cultural and belief traditions in the context of Mizan.”
For more information on the programs at the College of Islamic Studies, please visit cis.hbku.edu.qa