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By Hamza Kyeyune
Muslim leaders in Uganda have pledged to continue integrating environmental conservation in their duties to protect the environment in accordance with the teachings of the qur’an.
This was disclosed by the Secretary General of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) Eng. Siraje Kavuma when he met Ms Susie Weldon, an official from Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) who visited UMSC at the national mosque, Old Kampala.
As Uganda Muslim Supreme council (UMSC), I have no doubt that messages from such a meeting will connect easily with the Ugandan Muslim Community. Our beloved prophet (peace be upon him) teaches us to have deep respect for Allah’s creations and the appreciation of his blessings including the Planet on which we live, said Eng. Kavuma. Therefore, as religious leaders, this call by the prophet makes us natural allies that promote environmental conservation, he added. In attendance was His Eminence the second deputy Mufti Sheik Hatwib Mukuluwakika, the deputy director of Sharia Sheik Yahya Kakungulu, and the chairman of the national mosque Sheikh Isah Yiga.
The Director, Energising Solutions Ltd, Hajjat Sebyala Aphwa re-echoed the need to nurture young people to care for trees as this will bring up a generation which considers caring for the environment as their responsibility.
Speaking to members of Gomba Women Environmental and Development project at their office located at Kitaka-Gomba mosque, Susie, said she was excited seeing all the extraordinary work being done by people of Gomba. Environmental projects like these will make a difference, in the long term of course by helping to protect the environment for future generations, she added.
She planted two fruit trees at Kitaka-Gomba mosque, the local people named one tree “London” and the second tree Britain as remembrance of her trip from her home in the UK to the deep remote village of Gomba.
Susie toured projects of two members that are affiliated to Gomba Women Project, members showed her trees they had planted, the water harvesting tanks, energy saving cooking stove. She also toured Nakijju Muslim Primary School, in Gomba district, to see projects belonging to primary kids which include a tree nursery bed, tomatoes and cabbage gardens, planted trees and a water harvesting tank at the mosque.
She also toured the Uganda equator where she launched the campaign with Hajjat Sebyala to plant trees world over. The equator is a boundary between the Northern and Southern hemispheres and in Africa, passes through six countries including; Uganda.
Susie was on a tour to see work done by the three Ugandan Organisations that partner with ARC to conserve the environment and also find out how ARC can best help its partners. The partner organisations include Green initiatives (by UMSC and Hajjat Ssebyala), Green Top (by HEAR-Uganda and UMYA), and Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese.
Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) is a secular, UK-based, international NGO that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices. It was started by HRH Prince Philip in 1995 with the specific hope that faiths might help protect animal species from extinction – because protecting Creation is part of the teachings of each faith.
UN Assistant Secretary-General Olav Kjørven described ARC as ‘potentially the biggest civil society movement on climate change in history’ and ‘the biggest mobilisation of people and communities that has ever been seen on this issue’.
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