Represents Islam in Vatican conference on climate change

Din Syamsuddin.img_assist_custom-513x289

Natural religion: Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin (second right) delivers a speech explaining an Islamic view of nature and the environment and human’s responsibility thereto during a conference on climate change and sustainable development at the Vatican on Tuesday. The conference gathered clerics from various religious backgrounds as well as scientists and researchers, politicians and businessmen. (Courtesy of Din Syamsuddin)

Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin has represented Islam at a conference entitled Protect the Earth Dignify Humanity: the Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

The conference was held in Vatican City on Tuesday and was organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Religions for Peace and the United Nations Sustainable Development Network, Din said in a statement on Wednesday.

There were some 100 participants, including diplomats, policy makers, scientists and researchers, businessmen and clerics. The event aimed to find a consensus on the significance of climate change to sustainable development.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the conference, while the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, delivered the keynote speech. The event discussed science and technological perspectives, local and global practical aspects for solutions and the moral dimensions of climate change and sustainable development.

Din was a speaker in the session themed Justice and Responsibility, Moral Dimensions of Sustainable Development and Climate Change. The other speakers were Rabbi David Roshen from Israel, Olve Tveit of the World Church Council, Metropolitan Immanuel France from the Orthodox church, Rev. Kosho Niwano from Japan and Swami Brahmanda from India.

Din said that Islam was a religion of nature with some 750 of around 6,000 verses in the Koran mentioning nature and environment and all its inter-connections.

As well as presenting verses on the creation of the universe, biodiversity, and the balance in creation and the environment, Din highlighted a number of Islamic moral values and ethics key to sustainable development and environmental protection.

The principals included that nature and the environment were God’s creations and thus had a sacred dimension; that the earth was God’s blessing for humans, and that humans did not own it but were merely inhabiting it and borrowing it from the next generations. As such, Din argued, humans had to treat nature justly and responsibly for the benefit of future generations.

Din asked all parties to build a coalition to glorify the environment, involving clerics, politicians and businessmen, as well as other stakeholders. (nvn)

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