Accepted paper:

Challenges of Muslim environmental organizations in the Middle East

Author:

Laura Wickström (Åbo Akademi University)

Paper short abstract:

During the last twenty years an increasing number of environmental organizations have been established in the Arab and Muslim world. These organizations operate seldom in a vacuum from the political mainstream ideologies and they face a number of both political and social challenges.

Paper long abstract:

Concurrently with the increasing awareness of climate change and ecological questions, an increasing number of environmental organizations have been established during the last twenty years throughout the world, including the Arab and Muslim world. As most religious traditions, Islam attempts to restore environmental and ecological values in the religious tradition to retort the present ecological crisis. Most of the Muslim intellectuals are engaged in other than ecological or environmental questions such as local and regional politics, equality questions or the role of religion in society. This has led to environmental questions playing a marginal role, if they are observed at all. This might give the impression that environmental discourse is less developed within the contemporary Islamic tradition than among most other major religious traditions. In spite of this there is an increasing number of Muslim scholars and Muslim environmental organizations that occupy themselves with environmental issues. Environmental organizations working in predominantly Muslim societies operate seldom in a vacuum from the political mainstream ideologies and they face a number of both political and social challenges. The purpose of this paper is to present some of the Muslim environmental organizations working in the Middle East and to discuss their purposes and operational possibilities.

panel P313
Practices of environmental justice: negotiating the relation between the social and the ecological sphere