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Muslim leaders told to
confront climate crisis

Muslims should become agents of change to protect the environment with the help of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which should set up a special council to take the lead on climate change issues, a conference said.

The conference on Muslim action on climate change ended on Saturday and said that the OIC needed to promote climate change policies, including on society's lifestyle in accordance with the Islamic values.

It said that Muslim communities should start taking action in dealing with climate change through, among others, the establishment of eco-Islamic boarding schools and information dissemination on sustainability messages to the followers through mosques.

The two-day conference, however, failed to set up the proposed Muslim Association on Climate Change Action (MACCA) as an umbrella group to implement the Bogor declaration.

The conference also failed to discuss the implementation of the planned environmentally friendly haj.

"With or without the MACCA, we will go forward to take action against climate change," head of the steering committee Ismid Hadad told the participants.

The conference would submit the Bogor declaration to the OIC, which consists of 57 Muslim and Muslim-majority countries.

"It is time for the OIC to talk about climate change to put pressure on the international community to deal with global warming," he said.

The conference also agreed to promote collaboration among Muslim countries by mobilizing scientists to conduct research on climate change.

There are currently more than 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide, making up around one fifth of the world's population.

Ismid said Muslim and Muslim-majority countries needed to train their religious leaders on knowledge of climate change for them to propagate the values to their congregations.

They also agreed to promote a special curriculum on environmental issues in Islamic schools from elementary school to university level.

"The Islamic boarding school system in Indonesia could be used as model to promote best environmental education practices," he said.

There are currently 17,000 such schools in Indonesia.

"Some 900 schools have applied eco-friendly practices by managing water, waste and energy and instilling curriculum with environmental subjects," member of the eco-pesantren team Mardhani Djuhri said.

The director of the Center for Civilization Dialogue at the University of Malaya, Azizan Baharuddin, acknowledged the crucial role of education in achieving sustainable development.

"The education should raise public awareness on sustainable development," Azizan said.

Mohammad Azmi from Malaysia-based Consumer Association of Penang said that OIC member countries should strengthen their position on international talks on climate change issues.

"This conference on Muslims against climate change should come up with strong stance to back up the UNFCC," he said.

"All Muslim countries should be part of the *UNFCC* board to prevent rich nations from killing the Kyoto Protocol," he said.

The UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) hosts annual conferences on climate change to discuss issues including emissions cuts targets to tackle climate change.

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