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Muslim Association for Climate Change Action (MACCA) is launched

September 16, 2009:

MACCA, the Muslim Association for Climate Change, was endorsed at a conference of over 200 Islamic representatives in Istanbul this summer, July 2009. Download the MACCA Membership Application Form.

With an emphasis on greener Islamic lifestyles, MACCA has been established to oversee exciting new ecological initiatives which are developing from the foundations of a partnership with EMDC (Earth Mates Dialogue Centre) and the UN-ARC initiative for Seven Year Plans. Such initiatives include climate change education, green cities and Islamic labelling for products which are processed ethically: a "tayba", much like "halal" is used for food.

The Muslim Seven Year Action Plan (M7YAP) - a long term commitment to the natural world - will be launched at the UN-ARC celebration at Windsor in November 2009. HRH The Prince Philip and the UN Secretary General, HE Mr Ban Ki-moon, will join the celebrations. The Windsor celebration takes place ahead of the Copenhagen International Climate Change Conference - where the eleven major faiths' vision for the natural world will be presented.

Interview with Mahmoud Akef

This is an edited version of the interview with co-founder of MACCA Dr Mahmoud Akef and Living On Earth.

YOUNG: It's Living on Earth, I'm Jeff Young. Green is of course the color of the conservation movement - it's also the color of Islam. Islamic scholars gathered in Istanbul recently to blend those two shades of green with a seven-year action plan on global warming.

AKEF - We believe that all of us, all of us - not just Muslims, but Muslims, Christians, Jews, everybody living on this earth - we are in the same boat, so we have to care about this earth. All of us.

YOUNG: That's Mahmoud Akef whose non-profit Earth Mates Dialogue Centre organized the action plan. Goals include climate change education, green cities and the grand mufti of Egypt even pledged to make his fatwa-issuing office in Cairo carbon-neutral. Mahmoud Akef says the inspiration comes from Islam's sacred texts, the Koran, and the Hadiths, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

AKEF: Of course, the Koran has a lot of verses with regard to the environment, with regard to working on the Earth, to look at what God has created for the human being. And this human being should save and protect and enjoy this creation. And at the same time Prophet Muhammad has also many hadiths, or saying about the environment. There's a hadith that mentions this mountain, Uhud, near to Mecca, and this mountain loves us and we love it. So it moves to the level of caring about the mountain as a part of the environment from just a level of enjoying this beautifulness of the mountain.

YOUNG: And then there's another one that says that essentially you should treat a palm tree as if it is your aunt? Is that right?

AKEF: Yes, yes. it means respect.

YOUNG: Of course.

AKEF: So he asks the Muslims to respect and admire the palm tree, your aunt the palm tree...So if you look at it as your aunt you have feeling. This is very important. You should have respect and admire the environment...

YOUNG: Now you convened this conference in Istanbul to talk about the issue and come up with a plan of action. Tell me a couple of specific action items here. I read one where there's a recommendation for essentially a green seal of approval, a label, that would be placed on products.

AKEF: Yes. What we call the Islamic label for products which is produced through an environmental friendly ways. And we call this tayba. Tayba means like Halal, like label putting on the food.

YOUNG: Right that it was processed in a proper way.

AKEF: Yes

YOUNG: And who would give this seal of approval? Who would decide?

AKEF: We started by establishing an organization called MACCA. MACCA is Muslim Association for Climate Change Action. And this organization would be responsible for implementing the plan.

YOUNG: And that acronym sounds a lot like Mecca, the holy site.

AKEF: Yes. Of course, we try to do sounding very similar. That means this organization coming from an Islamic principle, you know, and Islamic values.

YOUNG: Any plans for a green Hajj to reduce the carbon footprint of one's trip to Mecca?

AKEF: Yes, we already discussed it with some people and they thought of this. And we are going to start with Mdina which is smaller than the Hajj. Because in the Hajj there are more than three million people attending the same place at the same time. So this is what we are working on now. And not only when they go to the holy places, but also when they go back to their countries, they will start teaching the other people.

YOUNG: Yeah, that's a real moment of opportunity isn't it? Because when people undertake the pilgrimage, they're about, you know, renewing of their faith and this is a guess what we call a teachable moment, right?

AKEF: Yes, and the potential is huge, huh? More than 1.3 billion people around the world believe these values and this principle and if they can implement this actions, I think it will help the whole earth, you know. Because the climate change – it will affect all of us.

AKEF: So we should take care of this challenge. There is a hadith also if you feel the Day of Judgment is coming and you have a seedling in your hand, you should plant it.

YOUNG: Even if you think the Day of Judgment is coming you should plant a seedling?

AKEF: Yes

YOUNG: So even though things might look hopeless – still do something to make it better?

AKEF: Uh-huh, yes. If you feel it will not help – but you should do it. And we believe that all of us, we have to save this Earth.

YOUNG: Mr. Mahmoud Akef is founder and director of the non-profit organization Earth Mates Dialogue Centre. Thank you very much.

Links

News of the historic Istanbul declaration of the Muslim Seven Year Plan.

Latest News on the Seven Year Plans.

MACCA Membership Application Form.

Transcript of interview with Dr Akef, EMDC, with Living on Earth.

Visit www.windsor2009.org for more details about the celebration of faiths' commitments to the environment at Windsor in November 2009.



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