Just weeks since Islamic Relief Worldwide played a key role in creating the ground-breaking Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, Muslim communities in the UK are rallying to the call for action.

A group of UK Muslim organisations, concerned at the growing threat of climate change to overcoming poverty, have formed a coalition – Muslim Climate Action (MCA) – launched at the House of Commons on earlier this week.  UK Energy Minister Lord Bourne, who is backing the MCA campaign, delivered the keynote speech at Tuesday’s launch event, which was hosted by MP Rushanara Ali.

“Climate change is one of the most serious threats we face and I welcome the commitment of community-oriented organisations such as Muslim Climate Action Group to tackle it proactively,” said Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Wales Office.

Families affected by flooding this year in Pakistan receive Islamic Relief aid.

Families affected by flooding this year in Pakistan receive Islamic Relief aid.

“We are determined to take action on climate change in a way that keeps consumer bills down and encourages businesses to innovate, grow and create jobs and we will be pushing for the first ever global agreement to cut emissions later this year in Paris.”

Get involved ahead of COP21

A growing section of Muslims are mobilising on climate change and environmental issues, with the MCA now encouraging all British Muslims to get involved in the run up to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in December.  The MCA consists of Global One, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science (IFEES), Islamic Relief UK, MADE and Muslim Charities Forum.

“The poorest people in the world, including Muslim communities, are paying a price for the actions of richer nations, polluting the atmosphere with high carbon emissions. As British Muslims, we need to take action by changing the way we use energy in our day to day lives,” said Sarah Javaid, chair of Muslim Climate Action.

Change is needed now

The MCA is urging Islamic scholars, community leaders and activists to act as ‘stewards’ of the earth as instructed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and to incorporate environmentally friendly teachings in mosques, schools and educational institutions.

“Climate change not only affects us in the UK, but also many vulnerable communities around the world. Drought and flash floods have affected millions in the global south causing severe hunger and poverty. As British Muslims we need to play our part in tackling one of the most dangerous threats facing humanity today,” says Lotifa Begum, Global Campaigns Coordinator at Islamic Relief UK.

Journalist and activist Remona Aly chaired the event and other speakers included: Dr Fazlun Khalid, Founder and Director of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science and Asad Rehman, Senior Campaigner at Friends of the Earth.

Islamic leaders to light the way

Communities in Mali are benefiting from an Islamic Relief development programme which is reducing deforestation and promoting renewable energy.

Communities in Mali are benefiting from an Islamic Relief development programme which is reducing deforestation and promoting renewable energy.

A ‘green torch’ was showcased at the event which will travel to various mosques throughout the UK.  Once the baton arrives, Imams commit to delivering a sermon enlightening people how they can join the fight against climate change and to help protect it.  Islamic leaders are being encouraged to make mosques more environmentally friendly by using solar energy, for example, and recycling.

The MCA launch event follows the introduction of the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change last month, in which coalition members including Islamic Relief and the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES) played a pivotal role with Muslim leaders around the world demanding action on climate change.

Funded by the European Union, via Bond, as part of the European Year of Development, the MCA launch event intends to serve as a launch-pad for longer-term work to build a strong network of UK diaspora Muslim leaders, organisations and community members to be active around the environment for years to come in collaboration with others, such as the Climate Coalition and people of other faiths.