'Islam, Christianity and the Environment' Symposium Invites Muslim and Christian Scholars to Amman, Jordan

‘Islam, Christianity and the
Environment’
is the latest event in the series of dialogues driven by the global
Muslim-Christian interfaith initiative, A Common Word. The event
included dialogue sessions between a Christian
delegation from the Eugen Biser Foundation of Germany, A Muslim
delegation from
the Royal Aal al Bayt, and special guests HRH Princess Areej Ghazi,
Orthodox Patriarch of
Jerusalem Theophilos III, H.E. Mr. Hazim Malhas, Minister of
Environment, Reverend Dr. Trond Bakkevig  and Father Nabil Haddad.

Sessions
included a welcoming address from HRH Prince Ghazi and an introduction to the
recent publication, ‘The Holy Qur’an and the Environment’ (available for
download at www.rissc.jo) . The scholars
presented papers on various topics such as basic demands established in the Old and New Testament to assume
responsibility for the world, the protection of animals in Islam, the Islamic
view on consumption and material development, and the Christian concept of
creation facing the ecological challenge today.

The Eugen-Biser delegation, comprised of Dr Richard
Heinzmann, Dr Dietmar Mieth, Dr Martin Arneth, and Dr Andreas Renz, presented
papers from a Christian perspective. Their dialogue highlighted the importance
of Biblical verses that allude to the Spirit of God in all creations and the
need to preserve and protect the Earth based on this principle. Of particular
concern was the place of secularist approaches to environmentalism and how
religious communities might incorporate them in their practices.

The Muslim delegation was comprised of HRH Prince
Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, HE Sheikh Dr Mustafa Cerić, Dr Ingrid Mattson,
Ambassador Dr Murad Hofmann, Dr Caner Dagli, Dr Joseph Lumbard, and Prof.
Minwer Al Mheid. Scholars agreed upon the fard
kifaya
or collective obligation for Muslims to protect the environment. As
part of the cross-community dialogue there was a shared acknowledgement of the
need for moral and spiritual education as well as a focus on the role of family
in the practice environmentalism.

As part of the 2-day event, scholars visited and
prayed at the holy landmarks of the Baptism site of Jesus Christ, and concluded
with an endorsement of HE Archbishop of Sweden Anders Wejrud’s environmental
initiative, ‘Uppsala Interfaith Climate Manifesto,’ issued in 2008, which calls
for religious communities to rally toward a global climate strategy.