Friday, March 7, 2008

Green Madrassas

I came across this very interesting article about green madrassas in Indonesia. I know Green Madrassa doesn't sound right when it hits the ears right? (Or in this case eyes!).
Thanks to the western media Madrassas are immediately associated with Muslim terrorists graduating from these evil madrassas.
A madrassa actually translates to school from the Arabic language. Hopefully it doesn't sound that scary when we understand what the word means. Madrassas are usually normal schools, the only thing is, in Muslim lands kids learn The Holy Quran and Arabic language in their Madrassas. Something I aspire to have my little girl learn at the right age inshaAllah.

So whats the deal with Indonesia's green madrassa. Here's a summary of the article.
The article is titled environment: Indonesia’s green madrassas. By Dr. Saleem H Ali.

The article opens with this paragraph: "In a remote part of Central Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, there is a rather unusual form of environmentalism taking root. Shadowed by the great Merapi volcano and surrounded by fertile fields of rice and sugarcane, a small school is graduating environmentalists whose commitment to the earth is not based on Western conservation texts but rather predicated in values derived from Islam. The head of the school, Nasruddin Anshari, frequently uses the refrain “one earth, for all”, just as much as he does the usual Islamic invocation of Allah-u Akbar (God is Great).

Children in this madrassa are learning to make the connection that preserving their environment is a vital part of observing their religion. The article also mentions numerous efforts Including a UN workshop on peace education in an Islamic context held also in Indonesia "Scholars from numerous Muslim countries gathered to consider various dimensions of peace education and to develop lesson plans for implementation in Islamic schools".

In Birmingham, UK. The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, is developing numerous programmes for religious institutions in Muslim countries.
Even Iran is taking steps, in 2004 former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami stated during his tenure that “pollution poses an even greater threat than war and suggested that the fight to preserve the environment might be the most positive issue for bringing the Gulf neighbours together”.

Speaking of gulf countries "Abu Dhabi has committed itself to establish the world’s first carbon neutral city of 40,000 residents by 2012. Masdar city (which means the source in Arabic) will have at its core an educational institution and numerous environmental technology firms to support a sustainable economy."

Nevertheless Dr Saleem H Ali mentions in the article some challenges he faced when he was asked to develop ideas on how to use environmental issues within an Islamic context as an instrumental means of peace-building. You can check out the whole article, his challenges and how he plans to solve them here

On a lighter note, here's what we had for breakfast this morning

I got the baked Donut recipe from here. It were a great success:)

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