In July, some 200 Muslim scholars gathered in Istanbul and formulated the first ever Muslim Climate Change Action Plan. This is indeed a milestone as it demonstrates a united front by the Muslim community in the need to be proactive in addressing contemporary global issues.
However, I do have some reservations as to how this plan will play out. While the bulk of the plan does have significant initiatives to address climate change, one of it seemed to suggest that “Islamic environmental labels” should be created. Is this really necessary?
Global environmental standards, labels and mechanisms are already readily available; why then should “islamic” labels be used? Why waste our time inventing the wheel? This response is therefore inappropriate as it only serves further separate the Muslim community from the wider society. Moreover, creating more ‘islamic labels’ only serves to further emphasize rituals and rules, rather than a deeper and holistic understanding of islamic teachings on the environment.
It is only a matter of time till we see how this plan will materialize (if at all).
To view a related op-ed that I had written in 2007 on the role of the OIC, click the link below.