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The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has signed on to a letter urging the development and adoption of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

ISNA, the largest and oldest Muslim organization in the U.S., announced this decision in a Nov. 8 press release.

There are three key elements of such a treaty:

  • Prevent the proliferation of coal, oil and gas by ending all new exploration and production.
  • Phase-out existing production of fossil fuels in line with the 1.5C global climate goal.
  • Fast-track real solutions and a just transition for every worker, community and country.

“Clearly, Allah the Creator and Sustainer of the Earth and all in Creation, placed obligations to establish justice towards all of Creation on every Muslim,” the ISNA press release stated. “We must work with all of humanity who demand tangible action to stop the existential threat of Climate Change and continued Fossil Fuel Use.”

Noting that fossil fuel usage “is a major contributor” to greenhouse gases and global warming, which ultimately poses “an existential threat to all life on Earth,” the ISNA release described the continued production and burning of fossil fuels as adirect contradiction to the life-affirming goals of the Shariah.”

Two recent climate reports revealed the narrowing window of opportunity to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

One report revealed that carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide were all at record levels in 2020. The other calculated that, without substantive changes, 110% more fossil fuels will be produced than what is required for the world to meet the 1.5°C warming target, and 45% more than the levels needed to meet the 2°C target.

ISNA’s statement lamented how little has been done by governments of predominantly Muslim nations to address climate change. It urged Muslim leaders to change course, taking the steps necessary to reduce negative environmental impacts and, thereby, following the example of Prophet Muhammed who “walked gently upon the earth” (Quran 25:63).

“ISNA calls on Muslims at the local, regional, national, and international level and their allies around the world to close ranks and join with others in demanding a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty based on an immediate moratorium on existing fossil fuel infrastructure construction, no new exploration, a managed wind down of existing production, and a just transition to a green-renewable carbon and fossil fuel free future,” the statement said.

The press release referenced the pending release of “Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth,” a document that has been in the works since 2020.

Al-Mizan (‘Balance’ in English) is based on Surah Ar-Rahman (The Merciful) in which Allah Almighty describes the creation in its perfect balance,” the covenant’s webpage explains.

Drafted by 11 Muslim leaders, with feedback from hundreds of Islamic institutions, the covenant will set forth a case for environmental protection from an Islamic perspective, rooted in the teachings of the Quran.

The covenant will explain how “the sacred scripture in the Quran, the practices of Prophet Mohammad and the teachings of Islam all urge humanity to value and protect nature,” said Iyad Abu Moghli, founder and director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Faith for Earth Initiative, in a Dec. 2020 interview.

The full ISNA statement is available here. Information about the Al-Mizan covenant is available here.

Individuals and institutions can read and sign on to the interfaith statement in support of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty here.

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