Clicky
Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. Democracy Now! is different because we don't accept government or advertising dollars—we count on you, our global audience, to fund our work.Right now, all donations to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous donor. Pretty amazing, right? It just takes a few minutes to make sure Democracy Now! is there for you and everyone else in 2018.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Donate

Islamic Leaders Take on Climate Change, Criticizing “Relentless Pursuit of Economic Growth”

Listen
Media Options
Listen

A group of leading Islamic scholars have issued a declaration calling on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to do their part to eliminate dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and turn toward renewable energy sources. The declaration urges world leaders meeting in Paris later this year to commit to a 100 percent zero-emissions strategy and to invest in decentralized renewable energy in order to reduce poverty and the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The declaration comes on the heels of the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment earlier this year, which also calls for sweeping action on climate change. Like the encyclical, this declaration, endorsed by more than 60 leading Islamic scholars, links climate change to the economic system, stating: “We recognize the corruption that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption.” We speak to Bangladeshi climate scientist Saleemul Huq, one of the contributors and signatories to the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change.

Related Story

Video squareWeb ExclusiveDec 11, 2017Are Farmworkers & Immigrants Being Left Behind Amid Raging Southern California Wildfires?
Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to a sweeping climate change declaration issued by the world’s leading Islamic scholars, calling on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to do their part to eliminate dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and turn towards renewable energy sources. The declaration urges world leaders meeting in Paris later this year to commit to a 100 percent zero-emissions strategy and to invest in decentralized renewable energy in order to reduce poverty and the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The declaration comes on the heels of the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment earlier this year, which also calls for sweeping action on climate change. Like the encyclical, this declaration, endorsed by more than 60 leading Islamic scholars, links climate change to the economic system, stating, quote, “We recognize the corruption that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption.” It places special emphasis on richer countries and communities, noting that the risks of climate change are, quote, “unevenly distributed, and are generally greater for the poor and disadvantaged communities of every country, at all levels of development.”

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the significance of this declaration, we go to London to speak with Saleemul Huq, one of the contributors and signatories to the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change, a climate scientist at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, and director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh.

Saleemul Huq, welcome back to Democracy Now! Talk about what prompted the declaration, who wrote it, and who were the major signatories on it.

SALEEMUL HUQ: I think the origin of this came some—a few months ago, when the Climate Action Network, a group of climate activists, got together with the Islamic Relief Worldwide, a humanitarian Islamic organization that does quite a lot of work with vulnerable communities around the world. And they agreed that this was something that they should take up, and got in touch with Islamic scholars and leading clergy around the world, and started drafting a potential declaration of this kind. And then they held a two-day symposium in Istanbul, which ended just a day or so ago, where they brought about 60 international scholars, Muslim scholars, leading clergy from different countries, and we—and then invited me as a climate scientist to join them, also a Muslim, as well. And we honed the final declaration, which came out and has been released.

And it’s aimed very much at the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, bringing to their attention the verses of the Holy Qur’an, which enjoin Muslims everywhere to preserve the environment as stewards of the environment, and at the same time not cause harm to other people by their own pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and so, at a personal level, to reduce our emissions, and, at a global level, to join efforts by all faiths and all countries to bring down the fossil fuel use to zero as soon as possible.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, last month, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley made headlines by suggesting that the rise of the so-called Islamic State came about in part because of the effects of climate change. He was speaking on Bloomberg TV. Let’s go to a clip.

MARTIN O’MALLEY: One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state of Syria and the rise of ISIS was the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that region, wiped out farmers, drove people to cities, created a humanitarian crisis. It created the symptoms, or, rather, the conditions, of extreme poverty that has led now to the rise of ISIL and this extreme violence.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Dr. Saleemul Huq, your response? I mean, to what extent do you think the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, etc., Yemen, are exacerbated by climate change? Can the creation of ISIS really be attributed to the effects of a changing climate?

SALEEMUL HUQ: I think that—I don’t think there’s a direct attribution of the rise of ISIS as an organization to climate change, but there is no denying the underlying logic of the statement that we just heard, which is that there was a continuing drought for quite a few years in Syria that predates the conflict, the civil war, and the rise of ISIS, and caused migration and refugees going from the rural areas to urban areas. And that’s the kind of thing that climate change is likely to cause in future, and almost certainly will cause future conflicts.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Dr. Huq, what does the declaration call on some of the Muslim-majority oil-producing countries to do? They’re the ones with among the least incentives to cut down on fossil fuels, since they’re dependent on them for their economy.

SALEEMUL HUQ: Well, first of all, it enjoins all the Muslims in those countries, as individuals, to do what they can to reduce their own carbon footprints and also to help their fellow Muslims, who very often are amongst the most vulnerable people to the impacts of climate change, people like Muslims living in Pakistan, in Bangladesh, my country, and in parts of Africa. Many of these are Muslims who are suffering the consequences, and therefore those of us who are better off have a duty to help them, protect them and to stop causing the pollution that is causing the impacts on them, and at the same time hope to influence the leaders of these countries that it’s in their own best interest to move away from fossil fuels in the long run. And indeed, this is beginning to happen. If you look at the leaders of Abu Dhabi, for example, they are investing heavily in solar energy and in renewable energy, because they know that their oil is not going to last forever.

AMY GOODMAN: Saleemul Huq, we want to thank you for being with us, one of the contributors and signatories to the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change, climate scientist at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we’re going to be talking about a prisoner who was killed by a “Beat Up Squad” in prison. Who were these guards? And also, what happened to the prisoners at Dannemora once two prisoners escaped? Now, prison authorities have been arrested and let go at Dannemora, but prisoners were beaten up. We’ll get the latest. Stay with us.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Next story from this daily show

The Beat Up Squad: NY Prison Guards Accused of Brutally Killing Prisoner & Covering Up Death

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation
Up arrowTop