Event to examine how British Muslims are involved in environmental issues
A free online event is being held which will bring together academics, policymakers and community activists and organisations to draw attention to how faith in Islam influences the lifestyles of Muslims to care for the environment.
Islamic beliefs can motivate sustainable practices and concern for the environment at the levels of the household, the community and the wider world. Ideas of stewardship that are celebrated in Christianity and Judaism are often overlooked in relation to Islam.
Yet, the environmental messages of Islam are slowly being taken up by a new generation of British Muslim activists who have the credibility and knowledge to demonstrate that being a good Muslim includes environmental responsibility and conservation of biodiversity.
Muslims in the United Kingdom have faced both socio-economic and socio-cultural marginalisation due to ethno-religious identities and migratory backgrounds. Alongside experiences of structural inequality, British Muslim experiences are framed by religious practices and beliefs, and strong ethno-religious community ties that tend to homogenise the population.
By bringing together a unique mix of academics, policymakers and religiously motivated community activists and organisations, the event – organised by The University of Manchester’s Sustainable Consumption Institute in collaboration with the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN) and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) - aims to the diverse ways in which the environment is understood by exploring how faith and the environment co-exist.
Through interactive discussions, it will look at innovative ways in which social inclusion and environmental sustainability can co-exist and explore practical ways that Muslim voices - which are often marginalised - can be included in wider debates around the environment, climate change and the green policy agenda.
Each of the collaborating organisations will host a panel of key speakers in the field of Muslims and environmental sustainability to address the following questions:
• How do Muslim's experience and practice environmental sustainability in their everyday lives?
• How do British Muslims understand, and respond to, issues of sustainability and environmental concern through community activism?
• How can Muslim communities be involved in designing and implementing environmental policy and initiatives?
“Today, we are still faced with a lack of diversity within the environment sector, both within the profession itself and in the way it tackles policy and practice with regards to the green agenda and climate change,” said Dr Nafhesa Ali, Research Associate at the Sustainable Consumption Institute. “This event aims to tackle these the misrepresentation of the Muslim community as ‘uninterested’ in the environment by sharing how religious communities are actively involved in green issues.”
It is a small step in the right direction to bring more awareness of how we can adopt a more inclusive approach to the green agenda, and how we can tackle and address climate change and mitigation by including people we can actually learn from.