For many Americans, the word 'Jihad' unfortunately carries with it a particular connotation that conjures memory of terror and violence. And that's completely wrong.
During the time of Prophet Mohammad (SAW), the Arabic word, 'Jihad' commonly meant an internal struggle toward prosperity and peace. Many Muslims around the world are attempting to reclaim this idea for their faith and climate, and American Christians are joining them.
A strong interfaith movement has grown in recent years to address the struggle of climate change, and the method of fasting for the climate is picking up speed. Fasting is common in Islam, with an entire month devoted to the practice every year (Ramadan). At this year's COP21, Muslim leaders abstained from eating or drinking during the day to show their symbolic support of swift climate action.
Muslims aren't the only people of faith fasting for the climate. Rev. John McCullough, the New York-based head of Church World Service, has joined the international fast saying, "I'm fasting today because our world will never be complete until there's space at the table — the climate just table — for everyone."
From Anglicans to Evangelicals, the interfaith climate movement is growing at an unprecedented rate. Join the fast for climate movement today!
Seth Borenstein | AP
PARIS (AP) — Imam Ibrahim Saidy brought his symposiums and his monthly fasting to the Paris climate talks, hoping to call attention to the problems and injustice of global warming.
He calls it "green jihad."
The Muslim cleric from Norway came up with the idea of an environmental holy movement a year ago. He uses the word jihad in its meaning of a struggle to do good, as opposed to extremists' use of it to signify a holy war.
"The green jihad is to protect and save lives," Saidy told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "To make people aware of the dangers of climate change and fight for climate justice."
Saidy is part of a growing interfaith religious movement seeking action by governments to fight global warming. For the past two years, about 10,000 religious activists have been fasting on the first day of the month to call attention to global warming, according to Caroline Bader of the Lutheran World Federation.
The idea came out of climate talks two years ago when Super Typhoon Haiyan smacked the Philippines, causing the Philippines negotiator at the climate talks to forego food. The religious faithful joined in and haven't stopped.
Tuesday was a fast day, so Saidy and dozens of others sat behind empty food trays at the climate conference, talking about why they were not eating.
"I'm fasting today because our world will never be complete until there's space at the table — the climate just table — for everyone," said the Rev. John McCullough, the New York based head of Church World Service.