While the UK Parliament wonders how to respond to the Extinction Rebellion and other protests over climate change, the Balham Mosque and Tooting Islamic Centre were taking a quiet step forward – by launching an Eco-Ramadan.
The Eco-Ramadan was planned in partnership with Islamic Relief UK and launched after Friday prayers on 3rd May. It was attended by Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, a fomer resident of Tower Hamlets but now better known as the Labour MP for Tooting. Welcoming the initiative, Dr Allin-Khan said, “The Tooting Islamic Centre is at the heart of the local community and I was so honoured to be at the launch of the ‘Eco Ramadan’ project. Young people are our future – it is crucial that other community organisations follow the lead of Tooting Islamic Centre.”
The aim is to use the month to encourage everyone to reduce the amount of plastic waste they generate and to take other measures to be environmentally friendly. Plastic goods designed to be used once and then thrown away, such as plastic water bottles, threaten the lives and wellbeing of millions of creatures who live in the sea. Humans have to stop this cruel killing of marine animals if the planet’s ecology is to remain stable.
The Mosque has pledged that it will only use biodegradable cups and cutlery during Ramadan. Volunteers will be selling reusable water bottles and dispensers to those attending the Mosque, with proceeds going to a water project in Kenya run by Islamic Relief.
Foredul Islam, London and South Regional Fundraising Manager at Islamic Relief UK, said: “During the holy month of Ramadan, mosques up and down the country use hundreds of plastic cups, plastic bottles, plastic plates, and plastic cutlery on a daily basis when breaking fast and during prayers. We must accept that this has a damaging impact on the environment. Ramadan has always been a time for Muslims to reflect on society, community and the world around us, and Islamic Relief UK is delighted that Balham and Tooting Islamic Centre is presenting an opportunity for communities to think about their carbon footprint and to reduce waste.”
Arshad Daud, Vice Chair of the Balham Mosque and Tooting Islamic Centre, said, “We wish to drive incremental systemic change and heighten awareness of how we, as a community, have an impact on our environment and the communities in which we live. Ramadan is an ideal time to achieve this aim. We need to make the link between our religion and where the planet is right now. We are ruining the natural balance that has been provided to us by our creator by not behaving sustainably. The shift to a green lifestyle for Muslims when it comes to clothing, food habits and use of natural resources such as energy and water, is not only a social responsibility during the month of Ramadan, but also a religious duty.”
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