Green Muslims Combine Faith With Community Action

When the subject of Islam comes up, it often invokes images of the Middle East with endless deserts and disputes over oil. No doubt politics have muddled views on this religion. However, a unique organization is working to bring Muslims together on environmental issues. Green Muslims combines spirituality with environmental action. Based in Washington, DC, it first started in 2007 by hosting a potluck. Over the years it has grown into a group that educates other Muslims on the connection between Islam and environmentalism.

It’s taken a while for environmental ideals to gain traction in the Muslim world. Environmentalism was historically seen as a western issue. But things have changed. A 2010 Pew Global Attitudes survey found that Turkey and Lebanon are second and third in the world in terms of the percentage of citizens who think climate change is a very serious problem. And levels of concern have also risen in places such as Egypt, Jordan, and Indonesia.

Green Muslims has attracted positive attention, setting a good example on how the Qur’an can be a guiding point on conserving water, having compassion for animals, reducing waste, and cutting through the politics. They want to inspire the community and have others join in to make neighborhoods greener.

For Earth Day in 2012, Sarah Jawaid, the Director of Green Muslims, shared with Faith in Action DC the lessons from Islam that inspire her commitment to work for environmental justice and what disorder in the natural world says about our spiritual well-being.

She further explained her beliefs in an interview with The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media:

Going further than contemplation of the universe, God bestowed mankind with vice regency on Earth, entrusting humanity with the duty to protect and restore balance in the environment and to protect the signs for future generations to enjoy.

Green Muslims consults with young people, imams, leaders from mosques, and others to spread ideas and mobilize change. They also plant trees, clean up trash and pollution, and farm. On their website, you can find out about upcoming events and how to get involved. There are several ways for those who are interested to be a part of the organization.

I admire Green Muslims for using their faith to inspire and motivate people to get involved. They use the Qur’an to teach and organize their ideas into community action. This DC organization is great for Muslims who care about the environment and want to make a difference.

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About the Author

Gina Merlino is a freelance writer who cares about environmental issues. She has a Bachelor's in Philosophy, a Master's in Engaged Humanities, and is an avid reader of the news. You can find me on Twitter.