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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Islamic Militants Against Climate Change

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: climate change, global warming, climate change denial, politics, terrorism, Islam, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Green Osama 

Many Republican politicians continue to cling to a science-defying denial of climate change. Meanwhile, writes Earth Island Journal, “Some of the most recognizable militants in the Islamic world … have recently made statements linking peace and stability with healthy ecosystems.”

We’re talking about people like Hezbollah guerilla leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and terrorist majordomo Osama bin Laden. In October, writes Earth Island Journal, Nasrallah “took time out from his diatribes against the United States and Israel to deliver an environmentally themed stump speech.”

Reuters reported from the scene:

“The climate threat today,” the bespectacled cleric told his listeners, “is among the biggest threats faced by mankind in (terms of) its peace, security, stability and existence.”

Civic sense is not a strong point in Lebanon and it is not clear whether even Nasrallah can induce greener behavior on his compatriots, many of whom blithely toss litter from their cars.

But it was a striking theme for the leader of a militant Islamist armed movement, backed by Syria and Iran, and viewed by the United States as a terrorist organization.

Bin Laden, for his part, chimed in a week later, criticizing the official response to widespread flooding in Pakistan and linking the disaster to global warming. “The huge climate change is affecting our (Islamic) nation and is causing great catastrophes throughout the Islamic world,” bin Laden said, according to Reuters.

For greens trying to attract allies to their battle against climate change, these endorsements are a mixed blessing: On one hand, they signal a growing acceptance of current climate science even in unexpected quarters. On the other, do we want the wrong people on the right side of this issue? Doesn’t it make it a wee bit easier for climate-change deniers to paint greens as anti-American terrorist sympathizers?

Earth Island Journal speculates on where this could lead:

With enemies like these, maybe it’s time to update the tired post-9/11 sound bite: If the U.S. gives up on tackling global climate change … the terrorists win?

Sources: Earth Island Journal, Reuters 

Image by badjonni, licensed under Creative Commons.