Pressure Builds to Ban Plastic Bags in Stores
When I first became aware that I was a Muslim (one who seeks submission to God), I began faithfully studying the Quran and Islam. I was really quite surprised to find these verses in the second chapter of the Quran.
“And of the people is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls God to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of opponents. And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein, destroying crops and animals. And God does not like corruption. And when it is said to him, ‘Fear God!’, pride in the sin takes hold of him. Sufficient for him is Hellfire, and how wretched is the resting place” (Quran 2:203 – 205).
For years I have been an adamant advocate for human and animal rights and a strong environmentalist. As US president of Christian Solidarity International, I was sometimes called upon to give expert testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington DC. I would provide detailed reports about the persecution of religious minorities in various nations around the world.
My testimony in those committee hearings was always followed by the likes of attorneys representing Pepsi Co, Neslé, Wall Street, big banks, the arms industry and many other US businesses that spoke favorably of the repressive governments that were persecuting Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Each speaker swore to speak truthfully “so help me God.” These US corporate lobbyists spoke flattering words about the communist, corrupt capitalist and totalitarian governments they were serving while blatantly lying about the human rights violations being perpetrated.
Years later, as an elected member of the Annapolis City Council, I was more and more focused on the environment. I found myself travellng across America and Canada, meeting with members of various state, provencial and municipal governments. I spoke about the harm being caused to the environment by uncontrolled use of chemical fertilisers. I also expressed concern about the harmful effects of plastic debris, carbon emissions, etc.
Lobbyists from the powerful American Chemistry Council and regional utility companies strongly opposed me.
Their deplorable lies, disinformation and corrupt practices were pleasing to many who financially benefited from their corrupt actions. But their work resulted in great harm to the environment. They were, indeed, “the fiercest of opponents.” They spent enormous monies corrupting nature and politics.
They spoke professionally, afterwards funneling large campaign contributions to elected officials who supported their unscrupulous causes. They took great pride in their shameful actions.
But we environmentalists realized their corrupt behavior caused horrific damage to our rivers and waterways, destroying farms and animal habitats and the very air we humans and animals breathed. Be we never gave up. We worked hard on every front to curtail environmental degradation.
As a Muslim, now working with Muslim Voice for Peace & Reconciliation (www.mvpr.org,) here in the Middle East, I was pleased to read in numerous places in the Quran and Islamic Sunnah that true believers are expected do all possible to protect humans, animals, trees and crops. I was elated to learn that Prophet Mohammed himself was unequivocally a champion of the environment and human rights and animal rights.
Here is an article I wrote seven years ago about the Abrahamic faiths and their views on environmentalism, animal rights and human responsibility