New film for Earth Day urging Malaysian Muslims to protect tigers
April 22, 2016:
||Malayan Tiger. CREDIT NOVISTA
April 22: KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian documentary film was released today, Earth Day, to call on Muslims to take better care of the many wild creatures on our precious planet, concentrating on the almost extinct Malayan tiger.
It is an initiative that has come out of a groundbreaking 2014 fatwa in Indonesia against killing of wildlife, which was created with ARC's help, and is an inspiring example of how one initiative in one place can be effectively replicated elsewhere in a way that is special to the faith.
The documentary is entitled ‘Harimau Selamanya’, meaning "Tigers Forever" and highlights the tenets of Islam, which forbid Muslims from hunting any species to extinction. Such acts are declared as ‘haram’ and every follower is duty bound as ‘caliphs’ to protect Allah’s creations.
The Malayan tiger is now ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Evidence indicates that the number of mature individuals in Malaysia may be as low as 250, which means they are facing extinction.
Besides habitat loss, poaching is the other main threat to their survival. The demand for tiger products such as meat, skins, bones and other body parts is driving the species to extinction.
In the film, HRH Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin says, “Imagine a world without tigers. I think we will experience the loss of a creature made by Allah that is essential to the ecosystem. What is the meaning of the National Emblem if tigers go extinct? The national spirit will fade if tigers are gone.”
Rosmidzatul Azila, from the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), says, “There are people who sell parts of tigers as amulets and as food. This is against Islam. The Prophet’s (SAW) hadith said that, when Allah forbids you to eat something, the sale of it is also sinful even if we sell it to a person that is not a Muslim.”
On November 2015, Terengganu became the first state to declare a fatwa prohibiting the illegal hunting of wildlife, especially tigers and their prey such as the sambar deer. It is hoped that other states in Malaysia will follow suit.
||HRH Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin CREDIT NOVISTA
At the Fatwa Seminar, the Mufti of Terengganu, Datuk Dr Zulkifly Muda, mentioned, “We can see that issues about the environment, especially wildlife, has been neglected. People have hunted animals as they please, without considering the consequences of hunting, which can deplete animals in the forest and cause an imbalance in the environment”.
Poaching of the tiger’s favourite food, the sambar deer, was also highlighted as a major issue in the film.
Deputy Director General at the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN), Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim, added, “The sambar deer population is declining due to hunting. Malaysians have alternatives now and no longer need to consume deer for food. Let them be in the forest for the sake of conservation and be food for the tigers.”
The documentary calls for all Malaysians to take action and report activities of illegal hunting, trading and possession of endangered wildlife to the PERHILITAN Care Line (1800 88 5151), or SMS/call/email reports to the MYCAT Wildlife Crime Hotline (019 356 4194 / firstname.lastname@example.org).
‘Harimau Selamanya’ is produced by award-winning documentary film-makers Novista Sdn Bhd in collaboration with the Office of His Royal Highness the Sultan of Terengganu, PERHILITAN and Rimba, a non-profit conservation research group.
In conjunction with Earth Day, the documentary along with shorter public service announcements is available on the YouTube channel Harimau Selamanya. It will also be aired by Media Prima.
Supporters are urged to check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for ‘Harimau Selamanya’ to view the film and to share the media content to raise public awareness on the need to save the Malayan tiger.
"Earth Day is a timely reminder that we all share this planet together and it is our responsibility to take care of its biodiversity together" organisers say.
ContactsLara Ariffin/ Harun Rahman
NOVISTA SDN BHD
Tel: 03-2694 5501
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Gopalasamy Reuben Clements
Associate Professor, Kenyir Research Institute, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
Tel: 013-218 3992
Tel: 603-9086 6813/+6 019-911 4288
Fax: 603- 9075 2873
Video with English subtitles
Links2014 Indonesian wildlife fatwa
Full text of the Indonesian fatwa in Bahasa Indonesian and English
How Islamic boarding schools helped make a National Park
WWF factsheets giving more detail on tigers and what people can do to protect them.