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KEP participate in Conservation of Environment and Role of Religion conference
07/10/2017
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The Department of Religious Studies Central University of Kashmir, orgainsed a two-day international conference on “Conservation of Environment and Role of Religion” from 5 to 6 July 2017. The conference was organised in collaboration with the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), New Delhi and sponsored by Nigeen Lake Conservation Organisation (NLCO), Srinagar,
the department had called for papers on the main and subthemes of the conference through the university website and local media. The response was overwhelming with the department receiving more than 60 abstracts from scholars and academics from across the country and abroad. The conference was spread over sixteen sessions including the inaugural and the valedictory sessions.

Some of the prominent participants included Leonard Swidler, Professor of Catholic Thought & Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University. He has published more than 300 articles and 75 books. Paul B. Mojzes is from Croatia (former Yugoslavia).and now a Naturalized citizen of the United States of America. He is a professor emeritus of religious studies and co-editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies with Leonard Swidler. Mustafa Ceric, is Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia and has studied at · University of Azhar, Cairo, 1978 (B.M.) before going to · University of Chicago, for his doctorate. Puninder Singh is a doctoral student in linguistic anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. His doctoral research focuses on religious language. Professor Dr. Siddharth Singh, is the Ex-Head, Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Arts, Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.), Varanasi and about more than fifty other prominent scholars and researchers from the country and abroad. The representative of Knowledge Exchange Program(KEP) Shaikh Mustafa Ceric gave the following speech:
The Moral Crisis & Environment
Mustafa Ceric, Ph.D.
Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia
If you see the moon, you see the beauty of God… If you see the Sun, you see the power of God… If you seethe Mirror, you see the best Creation of God…But if you see the Nature that is polluted today, you see the worst of man’s behavior. Indeed, the humanity nowadays is in the worst moral crisis ever when we talk about the state of natural environment. This is stated in the Holy Qur’an in this way:

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ.

– Corruption or pollution emerged in land and in sea because of what human hands have done (to the Nature). God will make them all suffer because of what some people have done so that all people might come back to their senses (Qur’an, 30:41).
II
What is moral crisis? The moral crisis is a state of mind where man is fully aware that what he is doing is wrong, but he is doing it anyway. The question of environment is a case in point where every one is aware that our Planet Earth is in danger because of our dirty hands, but we still do what we believe we shouldn’t do. This is called a Great Moral Crisis of today. As we know, the religion, al-Din, has some ethical norms for the environment. Indeed, al-Din has accorded some moral significance to all creatures, and proposed some ethical responsibilities on the part of humans, although these ethical dimensions are usually secondary, or inferior, relative to responsibilities to other humans. Al-Din has understood the Earth to have some kind of divine message, or religious value, and that humans have some religious obligations to care for its creatures. It is greed and destruction that are strongly condemned by al-Din whereas restraint and protection of the Nature are affirmed by religious morality. Unfortunately, these religious concerns for the environment faded with the rise of modern philosophy, which has cancelled the idea of a Covenant with God or any responsibility before God. Man is thought to be responsible only to himself by himself. This idea made man selfish and negligent toward the needs and rights of future generations. Modern man is concerned only about himself and his temporal well being. He is careless about his offspring. The religious attitudes toward nature have largely disappeared in modern societies. It is in the past few decades, that some religious authorities have returned to their origins to recover their pre-modern religious environmental teachings to present them as religious environmental ethics – indeed, as a new Covenant with God in building the Noah Ark…
III
I believe that the first step we ought to make is to recognize that we are in a deep moral crisis about environment. This issue is not exclusive to any particular faith or nation. We are all in one boat and thus we will all be saved by the Noah Ark or none will be saved if any one of us rejects to participate in building the Noah Ark before the eyes of God for the sake of our salvation on Earth before our salvation in the Hereafter… It is time that the humanity make a New Covenant (al-Mithaq) with God which has been broken so far, namely, to preserve and conserve the Planet Earth from further deterioration, corruption, pollution and destruction… This Covenant must be sincere, honest and fulfilling…

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