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PRESS RELEASE: Indonesian Green Guide to Hajj launched

June 14, 2012:

A Green Guide for Hajj will be launched tomorrow in Jakarta, supported by key government, Islamic and academic leaders.

Link to read the Green Guide for Hajj in English.

Link to read Haji Ramah Lingkungan in Bahasa Indonesian.

The intention is to inspire the hundreds of thousands of Indonesian pilgrims who go on Hajj every year from Indonesia to make their pilgrimage, and their lives, a blessing to (rather than a burden on) the Earth.

The guide, in Bahasa Indonesian, is a translation and adaptation of a book published last year at the launch of the Green Pilgrimage Network in Assisi, Italy.

Its publication was welcomed and supported by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the Ministry of Environment Republic of Indonesia.

Some 200,000 men, women and young people travel from Indonesia each year on Hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca during the special month of Hajj) or Umrah (a pilgrimage to Mecca or Medina that can be taken at any time of year). This operates on a strict quota system by district.

In his foreword to the book, Dr. K.H. Ma’aruf Amin, the chairman of Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body, states that Islam advocates environmental responsibility, because “this Earth is the biggest blessing from Allah and humans have been asked to cherish it and take care of it as a mandate.” He further writes that “Not only that, but humanity is also asked to do something better, and not to waste, or exceed the limits of Earth’s provisions.”

“The Green Guide for Hajj is a brief guide to Islamic teaching on environmental conservation. It is intended for everyone in Indonesia who has a willingness to perform Hajj and Umrah,” said Dr. Fachruddin Mangunjaya, the translator and editor of the Indonesian version.

One simple recommendation is that each pilgrim leaving for Mecca should plant a tree in their own district before they travel. This would help counterbalance the emissions of greenhouse gases which are involved in flying the pilgrims such huge distances.

In addition to a list of actions and theology of environmental care for the pilgrims themselves, the book also contains the blessings from the country’s chief clerics and recommendations to the Government and other relevant institutions to conceive of the Hajj and Umrah as something that can, gently and beautifully, promote the environmental message.

The Chairman of the Institute for Research and Community Service (LPPM) at the National (Nasional) University, Prof. Dr. Ernawati Sinaga, M.S.,Apt described the launching of this book as “the first real step by the Education institutions in Indonesia to join with Indonesian society to take a role together to change people’s environmental behavior.”

“We need real action from both the individual and wider society to improve our environment,” said Professor Sinaga.

“Greenhouse Gas Emissions act to thicken the Earth’s atmosphere, which is a major cause of climate change. Therefore, pilgrims have to neutralize the emissions that they cause,” Professor Erna said.

The book is the latest action in an effort to activate the pledges made in 2009 in the Muslim Seven-Year Action Plan on Climate Change, which was launched at a major event in Windsor Castle, UK in 2009 in the presence of HRH Prince Philip and the secretary-general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, as well as many religious and secular leaders.

The plan was developed by several leading Muslim clerics and thinkers from around the world, supported through a collaboration between the Alliance of Religion and Conservation (ARC) and United Nation Development Program (UNDP).

The Event

The Green Guide to Hajj, Indonesian version, will be officially launched on June, 14th 2012 at Universitas Nasional in Jakarta. Seminar Room, 3rd Floor Block I. At the same time there will be a Green Hajj National Seminar, with speakers including the Republic of Indonesia’s Director-General of Hajj and Umrah, Dr Slamet Riyanto; the Deputy of National Council on Climate Change, Dr. Amanda Katili Niode; the Chairman Council of Ulama Indonesia (MUI), Dr KH Ma'ruf Amin; and the author of the Green Guide for Hajj, Dr. Husna Ahmed, OBE, of the UK's Global One.

The event is expected to be covered by national media.

LINKS

• • Alliance of Religions and Conservation

Further information and downloadable PDF files of key documents

Notes for Media

*
The title of the Indonesian Green Hajj book is: "Haji Ramah Lingkungan: Bagaimana Peserta Haji dan Umrah Dapat Berkontribusi Melestarikan Lingkungan?"

*
The gathering will include some 120 guests

* The translation and adaptation into Indonesian has been led by the Lembaga Penelitian dan Pengabdian Masyarakat (Centre for Reseach and Community Outreach- LPPM), Universitas Nasional, Jakarta (www.unas.ac.id). It was supported by ARC with funding from the Norwegian Government.

* Indonesia is a country with the largest Muslim population in the world. Each year more than 200,000 pilgrims from Indonesia go to the holy land of Mecca, and there is a long waiting list of many others who want to go. Regions such as Aceh Darussalam province, South Kalimantan and South Sulawesi have to wait 11 years, while other areas have to queue on average five years.


 * The Hajj is, for so many Indonesian Muslims, the spiritual exercise of piety, which is described by means of symbols and rituals that give a real lesson in life.


 * Climate change is something that affects all of us, and will become more serious.

* The efforts to mitigate or reduce climate change has to involve all sectors of society, working together. It has to involve changing human behavior, and inspiring people to want to adopt “greener” lifestyles. Based on this, religions and religious leaders are vital forces for good, showing people how protecting the Earth is written in their core scriptures.

* The first Green Guide for Hajj book was launched in English on 2nd November 2011. It was created by Husna Ahmad from Global One 2015 and Eco Muslim

* During Hajj you are prohibited from doing activities that damage and disrupt the environment. You are forbidden to kill game animals, damage trees and even animate beings whatever is there.


 * Humans cannot use contaminated water for ablutions, and yet water sources in Indonesia are increasingly being contaminated by pollution, industrial waste, poor sewage, and chemical pesticides


 * Islam has a clear message of care and wisdom in caring for our earth.

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