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Religion is important in protecting the environment - interfaith groups


April 4, 2017  
Astro Awani

Kuala Lumpur: Religion plays a significant role in ensuring environmental sustainability and mankind, as God's steward on Earth, has the responsibility to protect it.

This was the message conveyed by interfaith groups dedicated to tackle issues relating to climate change through a religious perspective.

During the dialogue session themed 'Inter-Religious Harmony and Sustainability, representatives from all faiths shared a common ground on the environment.

One of the panelists, Datuk Dr Azizan Baharuddin of Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) said in Islam the term 'caliphate' or stewardship was a calling by God for all humans to look after this planet He created. "We are all entrusted by God to look after the environment, the world which He created for us.

"Religion can give ethical values on environmental care, which is a responsibility of all despite the differences of faith.

"In Islam, we have a concept relating to the environment called 'green jihad' or an exerted effort to take care of the environment," said Azizan, who is also IKIM director-general, to a crowd of university students during the dialogue held at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, here today.

Azizan's view was shared by University Malaysia lecturer Dr Esther Sarojini Daniel who said the word stewardship was also mentioned in the Bible as a call for Christians to look after the environment created by God.

Azizan's view was shared by Universiti Malaya lecturer Dr Esther Sarojini Daniel who said the word stewardship was also mentioned in the Bible as a call for Christians to look after the environment created by God.

Representing the Hindu faith, Malaysian Hindu Sangam Cooperative Society director Dr M Bala Thamalingam said there was the 'karma' effect which befell each man based on their good or bad deeds on the environment.

The final panelist, a Buddhist from the International Network of Engage Buddhist Vidyananda K.V Soon said there needs to be an awareness for society to recognise the power of religious institutions to highlight the importance on environmental sustainability.

"The problem is that we are not playing the role on protecting the environment during religious sermons, there is almost zero talk on environmental sustainability," he said.

The dialogue was held to explain the religious perspective each religion shared on sustainable development for future generation and build awareness among organisations and individuals to ensure environmental sustainability.

The event was jointly organised by IKIM and TAR UC and was attended by some 1,000 university students from TAR UC, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL). -- Bernama

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