Go green for Ramadan
Islamic organizations hope to raise environmental awareness during annual fast
Chicago Tribune reporter
August 1, 2011
As Chicago-area Muslims begin the fast of Ramadan Monday, religious leaders are calling on the faithful to keep two causes in their prayers: the health of the planet and the people of Somalia who have been devastated by environmental crisis.
In partnership with aid organizations and a coalition of groups that provide support for African immigrants and refugees, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago hopes to raise awareness and charitable donations for drought-ridden Somalia during the obligatory fast.
"Everyone is aware and concerned about war and global warming, drought and water shortage," said Zaher Sahloul, chairman of the Islamic council. "But we need to change the behavior of our communities … and link it to the practice of fasting."
According to a recent statement by UNICEF — a United Nations agency that serves children and one of the designated recipients of the Ramadan fundraiser in Chicago — the famine in Somalia is the worst to hit Africa in 20 years.
"The council has always stepped up as the voice of the community to reach out to our Muslim brothers and sisters in Chicago to support the humanitarian efforts in the Horn of Africa," said Alie Kabba, executive director of the United African Organization. "As Muslims, it is incumbent upon us."
Sahloul said the Quran contains several references to the responsibility people have to serve as stewards of the earth, which is central to the Islamic faith. He is asking Muslims to live "greener lives" by conserving water, recycling and reducing their carbon footprints.
Sahloul hopes people will carry newfound awareness beyond the holy month and share it with their communities.http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-muslim-ramadan-0801-20110801,0,2341915.story