The brutal civil war that drags on in Syria, the conflict that spawned ISIS, was sparked by drought-related famine. Soaring food prices and shortages in North Africa were a significant contributing force behind the Arab Spring that toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt and threatened to undermine the authoritarian rule in the Persian Gulf.
Heat waves have pounded Muslim states in South Asia - Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq among them. The most populous Muslim country, Indonesia is whipsawed by droughts and floods plus regular battering by severe storms.
It was hardly surprising that Islamic religious leaders convened the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium that resulted in a declaration, a fatwa, that sounded remarkably like the call to action of Pope Francis. Here are a few excerpts:
We recognize the corruption (fasād) that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption. Its consequences have been –
Global climate change, which is our present concern, in addition to:
Contamination and befoulment of the atmosphere, land, inland water systems, and seas;
Soil erosion, deforestation and desertification;
Damage to human health, including a host of modern-day diseases.
Corruption has appeared on land and sea
Because of what people’s own hands have wrought,
So that they may taste something of what they have done;
So that hopefully they will turn back.
Qur’an 30: 41
We recognize that we are but a miniscule part of the divine order, yet within that order, we are exceptionally powerful beings, and have the responsibility to establish good and avert evil in every way we can. We also recognize that –
We are but one of the multitude of living beings with whom we share the Earth;
We have no right to oppress the rest of creation or cause it harm;
Intelligence and conscience behoove us, as our faith commands, to treat all things with care and awe (taqwa) of their Creator, compassion (rahmah) and utmost good (ihsan).
The scientific consensus on climate change, which is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate systems;
The need to set clear targets and monitoring systems;
The dire consequences to planet earth if we do not do so;
The enormous responsibility the COP shoulders on behalf of the rest of humanity, including leading the rest of us to a new way of relating to God’s Earth.
We particularly call on the well-off nations and oil-producing states to –
Lead the way in phasing out their greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible and no later than the middle of the century;
Provide generous financial and technical support to the less well-off to achieve a phase-out of greenhouse gases as early as possible;
Recognize the moral obligation to reduce consumption so that the poor may benefit from what is left of the earth’s non-renewable resources;
Stay within the ‘2 degree’ limit, or, preferably, within the ‘1.5 degree’ limit, bearing in mind that two-thirds of the earth’s proven fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground;
Re-focus their concerns from unethical profit from the environment, to that of preserving it and elevating the condition of the world’s poor.
Invest in the creation of a green economy.
Overall it's a pretty sophisticated statement that goes some way to dispel the Western propaganda that posits Islam as a backward faith fixed in the Dark Ages.
Now we have the Islamic world joining with the most powerful voice of Christendom to call for effective and immediate action to prevent catastrophic, runaway global warming. That reduces Harper and all the petro-pols on both sides of the aisle in the House of Commons to rank heretics, apostates despite their claims to piety.