Mosques Support Sea Turtle Conservation in Malaysia
Nathan Brouwer, special to mongabay.com
November 17, 2008
This week almost 500 mosques around the Malaysian state of Terengganu will present sermons on turtle conservation, reported the New Strait Times.
Terengganu is a state on the north-eastern side of Peninsular Malaysia, near Thailand. Four species of endangered marine turtles nest on these beaches, including the critically endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles.
Malaysia is over 60% Muslim, and Islam plays an important role in personal and civic life. According to the New Straits Times, sermons on environmental conservation were delivered in mosques throughout Terengganu two years ago. Based on the positive response to the previous sermons, the state religious administrators have prepared a khutbah focused specifically on turtle conservation. The November 21st presentation will support recent efforts by the Ma’Daerah Heritage Community Association (Mekar) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia to involve mosques and religious leaders in conservation work.
This Islam-based approach to turtle conservation has also been applied in Zanzibar. Since 2000 the Islamic Foundation for Environmental and Ecological Science (IFEES) has been working successfully with the WWF and CARE International to address unsustainable fishing practices. Because of the success of this and other projects, the leader of IFEES, Fazlun Khalid, has been recognized as one of the world’s most important environmental religious figures.
“Next Friday Sermon On Turtles in 482 Mosques Statewide” by Sean Augustin. New Strait Times
Islamic Foundation for Environmental and Ecological Science (IFEES)
BBC story on IFEES in Zanzibar