Promoting a more environmentally friendly month of fasting, a Virginia-based Muslim group has welcomed the holy month of Ramadan with an eye on worshipping and the other on protecting the environment.
Starting Ramadan fasting on April 2, Green Muslims group has launched an online toolkit to raise environmental awareness and encourage activism among fasting Muslims.
“We’re turning, during this holy month, inwardly, to focus on our religion, to focus on God, to focus on improving ourselves,” said Sevim Kalyoncu, executive director of the nonprofit Green Muslims, Yale Climate Connections reported.
“What better time than that … to think about the service that we need to be providing to God as the stewards of the Earth?”
The group offered an online toolkit and a month-long calendar with suggested activities. Those activities range from using less water and reducing food waste to listening to speeches by youth climate activists and praying outside to connect with nature.
“We have to remember that God created this Earth and that God placed us on this earth to care for it,” Kalyoncu says.
“So we’re not fully practicing our religion unless we’re making a concerted effort to care for the Earth.”
Green Muslims started its work in 2007 after hosting a zero-trash potluck iftar during the month of Ramadan.
Since then, Green Muslims has continued to organize events to raise environmental awareness and encourage activism.
It holds Our Deen is Green! educational programming for local youth, hosts community hikes and cleanups, and provides speakers and educational material for local Islamic centers and youth groups.
This initiative follows other similarly remarkable ones launched by many Muslims in the west.
In 2019, mosques across Britain banned the use of plastics during the holy month.
Earlier in 2017, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) launched a campaign urging Muslims, mosques and Islamic center to implement practices and policies that are environmentally friendly.
Muslims in the Greater Toronto Area also launched a project called #Waste Free Ramadan to protect their environment in 2017.