A volunteer group based in Washington, D.C. called Green Muslims is working to weave religion and environmental stewardship together through hikes, service days, interfaith climate meetings, and summer camp. The organization aims to make people– especially within the Muslim community– more aware of environmental issues.
This summer, with a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Green Muslim began a brand-new program: a six-class interfaith summer program to bring kids of different faiths into the outdoors together. Called Our Deen is Green, where “deen” is the Arabic word for faith or religion, the program focuses on connecting children of different faiths through learning about the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The events have been hosted around the DMV, including Whitehall Farms and Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Virginia, Hard Bargain Farm in Maryland, and a final event coming up in September on Theodore Roosevelt Island in D.C.
Connecting kids to nature is something that is deeply personal to Sevim Kalyoncu, Executive Director of Green Muslims. “It was my daughter’s birth six years ago that got me thinking about the environment,” she tells me, “I thought, would she have the opportunity to be exposed to nature the way I was?”
Kalyoncu hopes that Green Muslims can continue educating youth and speaking to the Muslim community about environmental issues. She also sees great potential in connecting to other interfaith groups and providing social events for people of all faiths to get out in nature and share their ideas.