Published February 25, 2011 07:24 AM
Islamic Leaders Preach Conservation in Sumatra, Indonesia (updated)
Do religious texts mandate respect for the earth and other species? Some Islamic leaders in Sumatra believe the Koran does.
In Indonesia, the country with the highest rate of deforestation and some of the most diverse habitat in the world, many Islamic leaders believe religion is the key to conservation. In Sumatra, habitat is disappearing fast, mainly due to oil palm plantations, and populations of animals like the Sumatran orangutan and tiger are dwindling. Education is key to solving the region’s environmental problems, the leaders believe, and religion has the potential to spark wide public interest in environmental awareness.
Called FORDALING (the Islamic Leader Forum for Environmental Care), the group believes the Koran directly addresses the need for protecting the natural world. They explain this in their newly released book Ayat-Ayat Konservasi (Islamic Verses for Conservation). Through this book and other projects, these religious leaders have set out to show Indonesian Muslims why conservation should be important to them and the world.
The 120-page book consists of chapters such as "Earth, Our Collective Home," "Leuser [National] Forest, an Invaluable Gift from Our Creator," "Nature Conservation in the Age of Muhammad the Messenger", and "Implementation of Islamic Principles in Conservation by Communities around the Leuser Forests." (continued)