Jul 4, 2008, 5:03 AM
Imam Momodou Lamin Touray, the President of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council has said that environmental protection is a religious requirement because of its significance to human life.
Speaking in an interview with our reporter, Imam Touray said that when one talks about the environment it's not just a mere word but something worthy of respect and consideration.
"It refers to us directly in one way or the other. Its cleanliness is our own and is for our own health, its protection is our protection and its goodness is our goodness, because we are living in that same environment," he said. This, he noted, makes it so important that even Islam considers as essential to human life.
According to him, people should understand that the bush is also a dwelling place for other creatures.
In the view of Imam Touray, "the only difference between us and the wild animals is the mind that Allah gave to us which they don't have".
"So we must not use that sense of mind to subjugate them into harassment and discomfort," he stated.
He added that the only difference between human beings and the wild animal is that Allah has given us the mind to create things for our own use.
"We as human beings should then use that same mind to sympathise with mercy for the animals to create safety for them. Those who set fire on the bushes have caused havoc and desperation on many living things," he stated.
Imam Touray added that "Allah has created a very cordial relationship between people and the bushes and so must be respected for their own good".
"Even in science, Allah has created a very cordial relationship between people and the bushes and we must respect that for our own good. For example, the leaves of trees breathe like other animals and as we human beings do," he noted, adding that the contribution of trees towards human life cannot be measured.
The learned Imam further stated that hence life would be difficult without trees and animals there is a need to protect the environment to maintain different species of animals and trees.
"We must protect the bush and the wild animals just like we do for our farms and our animals," he stated.
He urged all Gambians to embark on a tree-planting exercise, noting that time will come when people will use the trees they grow.