How to go green with your Ramadan coverage

Farah Provincial leadership eat dates to break their fast for the day at an Iftar Dinner held at Forward Operating Base Farah in Afghanistan in 2010.

Ramadan, the Muslim community’s annual month of fasting, has been celebrated for centuries. But that doesn’t stop modern debates from affecting how it’s observed.

In recent years, a growing number of Muslim communities have seen Ramadan as an opportunity to discuss their relationship to the Earth’s resources. They’ve aimed to reduce food waste at iftars and offered tips that Muslims can use in their kitchens all year long.

These events and campaigns are part of a broader effort to raise awareness of Islam’s teachings on the environment. Like leaders in a variety of faith groups, many Muslims leaders want members of their community to play a larger role in the world’s response to modern environmental challenges.

This edition of ReligionLink explores how to connect your coverage of Ramadan, which will likely begin on May 5 this year, to broader conversations about sustainability and climate change.

Background reading

U.S. sources

  • Saffet Abid Catovic

    Saffet Abid Catovic is a Muslim environmental leader. He co-founded Green Muslims of New Jersey and helped launch the Islamic Society of North America’s Green Masjid Task Force. In 2018, he shared his efforts to offset the carbon footprint of his pilgrimage to Mecca with Sojourners. Imam Catovic serves as Washington office director for the Islamic Society of North America. He earned a master’s in religion and society from Drew University, specializing in religion and the environment.

  • Natana Delong-Bas

    Natana Delong-Bas is an associate professor of theology at Boston College. She teaches courses on Islam, environmentalism and Muslim women.

  • Frederick Denny

    Frederick Denny is a professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research interests include contemporary Islam, religion and ecology and religion and human rights.

  • Nana Firman

    Nana Firman is Senior Ambassador for GreenFaith, an interfaith organization that promotes environmental stewardship. She previously worked with the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia.

  • Neekta Hamidi

    Neekta Hamidi is a Muslim writer and environmentalist. She runs a blog called “Green Is Simple,” which offers tips on sustainable living. Contact her with the form on her website.

  • Juliane Hammer

    Juliane Hammer is an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina. Her research interests include American Muslims, marriage and family, women’s rights and food. She is the author of Peaceful Families:American Muslim Efforts against Domestic Violence.

  • Ameena Jandali

    Ameena Jandali is a content manager and trainer for the Islamic Networks Group, which combats Islamophobia by educating people about Islam and organizing interfaith events. She also teaches courses on Islam and women in the Middle East at the City College of San Francisco. Arrange an interview through Ishaq Pathan.

  • Sarah Jawaid

    Sarah Jawaid is a leadership coach and community organizer who has worked on issues such as housing, criminal justice and the environment. She has spoken about the links between practicing Islam and caring for the environment.

  • Khalid Latif

    Imam Khalid Latif is executive director of the Islamic Center at New York University, where he also serves as a chaplain. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, New York City’s first organic, halal butcher shop.

  • Jill Lightner

    Jill Lightner is a food writer and the former editor of Edible Seattle. Her most recent book, Scraps, Peels and Stems, offers tips for reducing food waste at home. Contact Lightner with the form on her website.

  • Gary Oppenheimer

    Gary Oppenheimer is founder and executive director of Ample Harvest, which connects gardeners with local food pantries. He helps organize Food Waste Weekend, an opportunity for faith leaders to speak to their congregations about food waste.

  • Omid Safi

    Omid Safi is a professor of Asian and Middle Eastern studies at Duke University, where he also directs the Duke Islamic Studies Center. He edited Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism.

  • Katie Sorrell

    Katie Sorrell is the interfaith wellness director for the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Community Health. In 2017, the center partnered with local Muslim groups to reduce food waste during Ramadan.

  • Sohaib N. Sultan

    Sohaib N. Sultan is Muslim life coordinator and chaplain at Princeton University. In July 2014, as part of a series of Ramadan reflections for Time, he wrote about why Muslims should avoid food waste.

  • Kate Urbank

    Kate Urbank is D.C. site director for Food Rescue US, an organization that picks up leftover food at restaurants or schools and delivers it to people in need.

International sources

Related research