Today on the streets of Jaffa, where I live, I saw for the first time in my life a woman in hijab (helmet on top) driving her motorbike in full throttle along Jerusalem Boulevard. She was too quick for me (on my peddle bike!) to take a photo. I was pretty proud of her, because[.....]
Archive by category Religion
The Ebola virus, already said to be virtually out of control in west Africa, may also be threatening Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East. The virus, which still has no known cure, has so far resulted in more than 3,300 confirmed deaths in the three West Africa countries of Guinea, Liberia and[.....]
Shmita is a Jewish way to let the land rest once every 7 years. For Jewish Israelis it’s a deeply spiritual practice. Some may be surprised to know that the significance of this commandment is deeply ecological too.
British Muslims went green this past Saturday, as Muslims from all over London took part in a 100 km cycle ride from Mosque to Mosque. Muslims pray 5 times a day from dawn until dusk, and each “Salah” prayer constituted a different stop at some of London’s most iconic houses of worship, from the East[.....]
Maybe we’d have a little more tolerance and understanding in this world if ISIS just smoked some of the plants instead. Or maybe the plan is to smoke some of the spoils. Watch the video above as ISIS burns alleged cannabis plant fields in Syria.
Saudi cleric Saleh al Fawzan has decided that all-you-can-eat buffets are against Sharia (Islamic) law, unappetizing news for Muslims devoted to bargain dining deals!
Could a fatwa, a religious Muslim order, save a tiger? Watch and see, because the Indonesian Council of Clerics (ICC), the country’s highest Islamic body, has just proclaimed that hunting endangered animals is haram!
The Jewish holiday of Purim begins this coming Saturday night, the 15th of March, and continues through Sunday. In Jerusalem and other ancient walled cities, the holiday is called Shushan Purim and occurs on Sunday night, the 16th, through Monday.
Last Monday, Orthodox Christians across the Middle East kicked off the 40-day Lenten season with a wonderful food-based tradition called Green Monday, when folks tuck into a delicious (and usually outdoor) luncheon of greens, olives, potatoes and seafood.
According to Islam, being breastfed is a right for all children. Now Abu Dhabi has passed a clause in their Child Rights law that requires all women to breastfeed their children – up to the age of two.
For many years Hebrew schools in North America barely related to the Jewish holiday of Tu B’shevat, New Year for the Trees.
See the images: These very rare textiles were found in the Wadi Murabba’at caves south of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Why is this ancient find so exciting for the Jews?
For more than 3000 years, Jews dreamed of recovering a lost blue dye called techelet. Using clues laid down over 100 years ago by one rabbi in Poland, and another in Israel, Ptil Techelet, the Association for the Promotion and Distribution of Tekhelet, has succeeded in tracking down the dye’s source and reviving it.
Too many people have an idealized picture in their head of what Bethlehem looks like today, but St. James Church in central London aims to change that with an 8 meter temporary tall wall that obscures the church’s façade.
Polygamous Arab men who buy property in Turkey must choose just one of their brides to carry over the threshold; polygamy isn’t legal in this country which grants residency permits to just one wife.
Hand-holding, smooches and inter-gender chitchat between strangers are prohibited in Saudi Arabia, as are all public demonstrations of amor. So passionate Saudis stymied by morality laws are turning to their cars to show some love.
The smirky little ram gracing billboards across Amman, Jordan is the face of Tkiyet Um Ali, an organization launched in 2006 by Jordan’s Princess Haya Al-Hussein in memory of her mother, the late Queen Alia, who conceived this project to (literally) cater to the needy.
Digital developments are lessening reliance on traditional architecture. The internet enables us to dine in “restaurants” and sleep in “hotels” that are actually ordinary people’s homes. Our retail therapy is increasingly conducted online in virtual stores. And now a nutty little website is muscling out conventional places of worship.
Rabbis in an ultra-Orthodox settlement in Israel have attacked the popular Brazilian dance-ercize known as Zumba, declaring that it conflicts with the teachings of the Torah and runs counter to holy living.
Recognizing our likenesses even in superficial traditions can chip away at the sense of “otherness” that prevents connection. With Syria on the brink, will anyone dispute that the West and the Middle East need better connection?
The Jewish New Year 5774 starts at sundown tonight, Wednesday September 4th, and ends on the night of Thursday the 5th. On the first night, families sit together and enjoy a meal rich in delicious symbolism, as we explained in this post. Carrots are a more interesting vegetable than one would suspect. They’re also one[.....]
Want a jump up on impressing the hosts of upcoming Eid al-Adha parties? Conspicuous consumption is hard work in Jordan where I live. Product selections are slim, and tasking distant friends with doing the shopping requires gambling on Jordan Post, where parcels disappear like socks in the dryer. Internet retailers can be the answer, if[.....]
Children in Central Asia practice a tradition in the lead-up to iftar (the evening breaking of the Ramadan fast – read our green iftar guide here) that has a decidedly Western resonance: they go Ramadan caroling. As with Christmas caroling, the children go door-to-door singing their neighbors holiday songs. After performing, carolers ask for a[.....]
Planning on a trip to Dubai before intense summer heat hits? Brush up on behavioral norms to avoid holiday disasters far worse than sunburn and frizzy hair. Among the seven member states of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai – if it was a Disney dwarf – could be called “Tolerant”. That’s modern Middle East tolerant, a term[.....]
Islamic nations defer to astronomers in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Turkey (depending on political affiliation) to determine when the new crescent moon harkens the Holy Month of Ramadan. Dependence on real-time moon-spotting means heightened anxiety. Rumors reel about Ramadan’s start, leaving the requisite housecleaning and food prep open-ended.
Treading the path of righteousness involves the ecology too. It had never occurred to me that if I were to go camping on Mt. Meron for the upcoming Lag B’Omer celebration, that I’d actually be on pilgrimage. I never thought of my visits to the Western Wall in Jerusalem as a pilgrimage. But during the[.....]
Religious organisations are working with conservation groups to help end the consumer demand for products supplied by the illegal wildlife trade A major initiative linking religions and conservation groups in opposing the illegal wildlife trade, which is annihilating the world’s rare and endangered species, has been launched. Leaders of 34 religious traditions presented the Alliance[.....]
Today marks the first annual ‘Green Khutbah Day’ which also coincides with Earth Day 2013 Muslims have been asked to encourage their spiritual leaders, imams, to devote this Friday Khutbah or sermon (19th April 2013) to celebrate the blessings, graces and beauty of all of Allah’s creation. Muaz Nasir from Khaleafa who is leading the effort[.....]
Built at the lowest elevation on earth, and less than a year old, this jewel-box of a museum showcases the Dead Sea region’s rich past. After Israel, no nation has as many Biblical sites as Jordan. The Dead Sea gets several mentions in the Bible, and it’s where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. Jesus[.....]
Green Pilgrim Jerusalem hosts a week-long international symposium on greening pilgrimage, with major religious leaders from around the world. Faith and community leaders from around the world will be speaking on ecological, urban and social development as influenced by mass pilgrimage. Our report on the massive urban sprawl that Mecca is becoming illustrates the ecological[.....]
Can executions be green? Laurie answers this tongue in cheek. Tardy executioners have prompted Saudi Arabia to re-evaluate their centuries-old practice of public beheadings.The use of capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is based on a hardline interpretation of Sharia (Islamic) law. The practice attracts international scorn because of the wide array of crimes which garner[.....]
Hamas in Gaza does not want pretty women running in the streets. UN cancels the marathon that had almost 400 women registered for participation. While Israel gears up for its 42k marathon next week, the United Nations cancels Gaza marathon after Hamas rulers ban women from participating. The ban is the latest attempt by the Palestinian[.....]
I interview Professor Al Jayoussi about Islamic notions of sustainability and whether they could ever be seen as universally applicable In a previous post, I raised concerns over what an Islamic worldview can realistically offer those looking for a new sustainability model. After reading Odeh Al Jayoussi’s book on the topic, I felt that there[.....]
Odeh Al-Jayoussi creates a great guidebook on Islam and sustainable development, although it’s a little overambitious in its reach at times Odeh Al-Jayoussi, the current vice president of Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society, has certainly had an interesting career. As well as working for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, he’s spent time at the City[.....]
Animal lovers in Jordan are fighting a formidable battle to raise people’s awareness and respect towards strays and animals in general. It’s not easy being an animal in Jordan. One of our pair of mini-dachshunds escaped to the street last November and was killed in a hit and run. Distraught, we called friends asking what[.....]
The bard believed that a “rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but labeling mid-February fun as a Valentine’s event is controversial in the Middle East. What began as a quiet Western tradition, indulged by the leisure class, got a post-industrial kick-in-the-pants thanks to annual promotion from a growing news industry. Simply scrawl[.....]
As if Saudis don’t have enough banned behaviors, the traffic department now prohibits tinted bus windows preventing fewer women from using public transport. Teachers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can count on costlier work commutes following the recent decision by the Traffic Department to ban tinted windows in school buses. Several bus companies that transport[.....]
The Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat, a day especially loved by children, is a special eco-day in Israel. Celebrate it with a fruity feast. It’s true, a few days before the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat occurs, the almond trees in Israel begin to shake blossoms out along their branches. Travelers along the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem highway[.....]
Walid Saleh speaks to Green Prophet about sustainability in the Middle East From Sudan to Saudi Arabia, Hima – an ancient Arabian conservation concept – has helped keep the peace. Now it is hoped a new interpretation of the conservation principle will help protect the region’s dwindling resources by tapping into cultural norms and histories,[.....]
The traditional Middle Eastern concept of Hima, which means a protected area, has been explored and modernised as a type of sustainable development system under a new Hima Initiative. “Compared to what you have experienced, the Hima concept we are promoting is different,” Walid Saleh who is part of the Hima Initiative told GreenProphet. And[.....]
From Hannukah to Peak Whale Oil, Brian uncovers an illuminating story of how our lighting is becoming more efficient. Each December as nights grow long, people of the Jewish faith celebrate an ancient miracle of efficiency. In our oil-soaked, electrified age it is difficult to understand what it meant for the Maccabees to enjoy eight[.....]
Pungent and bittersweet, garlic is no stranger to Muslim cuisine. Check out what makes it eco-holy and why a clove a day is a needed health top-up.
Abu Dhabi’s key attractions received a special makeover over the Eid holidays thanks to an army of extra workers equipped with special cleaning gear. Public places and picnic spots received focused attention by 3,000 waste workers on duty across the Emirates for the holiday: waste generation skyrockets during Eid. Eid al-Adha, also called Big Eid,[.....]
This time of year marks one of Islam’s most sacred holidays, Eid al-Adha. The four-day holiday corresponds with the height of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which draws two million Muslim pilgrims a year. Eid began Friday and will end Monday, the last day of the Hajj. When traveling in Palestinian[.....]
Senad Hadzic walked for 314 days and crossed six countries from his village in Bosnia to get to Mekkah in time for Hajj Last year we covered the amazing story of two South African Muslims who had cycled all the way to Mekkah. Not much more you could do to top that we thought at[.....]
Last month, a woman wearing a Muslim hijab headscarf presented the headlines on an Egyptian television news program, becoming headline news herself. So why the alarm when anchor Fatma Nabil appeared on Channel 1 (one of several state-run TV stations) wearing an off-white hijab that covered her hair and neck? And why is this issue connected[.....]
We speak to Muaz Nasir about his faith-focused environmental work in Canada and why the Muslim community can’t afford to sideline climate change “The environment is something everyone should be concerned about as climate change, water scarcity and pollution are issues that do not discriminate based on faith:” That’s Muaz Nasir’s response to what he likes[.....]
Smoking can cause cancer, emphysema, birth defects, and – in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – divorce. Saudi Arabian authorities enacted a ban against smoking in government buildings, curbing a habit enjoyed by six million of its people. Smoking’s now banned at all ministries and government facilities in all provinces of the kingdom, according to the[.....]
Khaleafa, an Eco Islam blog created by Muaz Nasir, has been nominated for the Brass Crescent ‘Best New Blog’ Award Over the last year, I’ve stumbled across lots of great posts from the Khaleafa blog exploring the Islamic approach to environmentalism on my internet travels. As such, it’s great to hear that the site has[.....]
A new SARS-like mystery illness has health authorities alert ahead of the millions-strong Haj pilgrammage to Mecca. There have been two recent cases of a mysterious SARS-like virus linked to Saudi Arabia. It killed one of its victims from Saudi Arabia. The second who is still alive travelled through the country. The unknown mystery virus[.....]
Dozens of protestors gathered in Tel Aviv‘s Rabin Square last Saturday night as Daylight Saving Time (DST) was set to end. They claimed Israel’s policy of ending DST prior to Yom Kippur favors the ultra-Orthodox sector of the population over practical interests of the secular and modern Orthodox majority. Their switch to winter time happens[.....]
Years after it was first announced, the Cambridge eco mosque has finally received planning permission. Back in 2010, we reported that the Cambridge Muslim community was planning to build Europe’s first eco mosque which would minimise carbon emissions and maximise the role faith has to play in environmental protection. Years on and the plans which[.....]