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Interfaith book on climate justice

LAHORE (SE): A book called The Sacredness of Creation: Spiritual Responsibility of Muslims and Christians to Care for our Common Home—Planet Earth was launched on November 9 in Lahore, Pakistan.

The publication is a collection of papers from a Muslim-Christian symposium on the environment held during February 2014.

The symposium brought together Christian and Muslim scholars who presented papers on the themes of protecting the environment based on the injunctions and teaching of the Islamic and Christian traditions.

Father Liam O’Callaghan told the Sunday Examiner that the papers were presented on the scriptures, the Qur’an and religious tradition, describing how the command to protect and care for the environment is embedded in the sacred texts and that it is in and through nature that people of all faiths give glory to God.

Other papers dealt with the theological exploration of this topic.

The collection especially highlights the reality of the deep sense of awe and reverence for nature in Sufism and in the lives and teachings of Christian saints.

The symposium took the lives of Ephraim the Syrian and St. Francis of Assisi as examples.

One paper researched the poetry of seven Punjabi Sufi poets whose writings are saturated with references to nature and it being the means by which we come to know God.

The launch of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Praise Be: On care for our common home (Laudato Si’), on June 18 gave this issue renewed energy and injected a spiritual dimension which was missing from the symposium.

The encyclical has been followed in recent months by declarations on climate change by leaders from many different religions; Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism, as well as the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Because of the importance of Praise Be and its dove-tailing with the theme of the symposium, it was decided to include two papers on the encyclical in the second part of the book.

By highlighting the importance of working together in interfaith harmony and cooperation, Father O’Callaghan said that the organisers hope the book will make a contribution in our common struggle to address one of the most serious challenges facing us today.


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