The Muslim Council of Elders, under the chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, is organizing a conference to address the role of religions in combating the negative effects of climate change. The event is set to be attended by 150 representatives from various religions in Southeast Asia, as well as scholars, thinkers, and youth engaged in climate change issues. The conference is themed: “Reviving Religious Values and Local Cultures in Addressing Climate Change for Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development.”
Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, stated that this conference is part of a series of events organized by the Council to engage representatives of different religions in discussions and solutions aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and raising awareness about its risks. He noted that this regional conference is in preparation for the World Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, scheduled for November 6th and 7th in Abu Dhabi, in anticipation of the COP28 conference, which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates at the end of the current year, where for the first time in the history of COP conferences, the Muslim Council of Elders will host a ‘Faith Pavilion’ as a global platform for interfaith dialogue on addressing climate change.
His Excellency Dr. Muhammad Quraish Shihab, member of the Muslim Council of Elders and former Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs, emphasized that the world is currently facing the dangers of climate change due to natural and environmental damages. He pointed out that the repercussions of climate change are now tangible and real, evident in droughts, global warming, polar ice melt, and rising sea levels. He also urged all individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and different religions to work together to increase the focus on environmental cleanliness and prevent the spread of pollution on a wider scale. He further emphasized that efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change are no longer confined to the scientific and technological aspects alone; there is an urgent need for the involvement of religious figures, scholars, and intellectuals to raise awareness about this humanitarian issue.
For his part, Dr. Muhammad Zainul Majdi, member of the Executive Office of the Muslim Council of Elders, clarified that the conference, which enjoys wide-ranging official, popular, and religious support from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia, will also discuss several important topics including: The State and Climate Change Challenges: Vision, Strategy, and Action; Towards Green Religion: How do religious beliefs contribute to building societal awareness for environmental conservation?; The role of religious institutions and figures in alleviating the effects of climate change; The urgency of religious awareness policies in overcoming the environmental and climate crisis; Religion, Science, and Climate Change: Perspectives and Experiences; Together to Save the Earth: Unifying consciousness, responsibility, and cooperation among world countries to overcome the environmental and climate crisis.
The conference is also expected to generate a number of strategic and effective recommendations to enhance efforts in preventing the negative repercussions of climate change, based on the best practices in Indonesia and Southeast Asian countries. These recommendations will then be presented at the World Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders organized by the Muslim Council of Elders in Abu Dhabi next November. Additionally, recommendations will also be submitted to the ASEAN Secretariat, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the United Nations General Secretariat as well as being presented at the Asia-Europe Meeting on Climate Change.
The Muslim Council of Elders is an independent international body chaired by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. Established in Abu Dhabi in 2014, its aim is to promote peace in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies. The Council includes various Islamic figures known for their justice and moderation, and seeks to promote the values of tolerance, coexistence, and mutual respect among all people.