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glasgow central mosque solar panel installation

Greening our mosques – leading by example

At Islamic Relief we believe that climate change is one of the greatest threats humanity faces. Its wide-ranging impact on the most vulnerable people around the globe make this one of the issues that most starkly impacts our rights-holders. There has never been a more critical time for a society-wide approach towards reducing our carbon footprint.

Our mosques can be part of the solution; sitting at the heart of British towns and cities as places of worship, congregation, and community, but also serving as important agents of change whose impact could be greatly utilised in the fight against climate change.

And we have been proud to support mosques in their greening efforts under Islamic Relief’s ‘Greening our Mosques’ initiative – whether that’s installing communal water dispensers to discourage the use of plastic bottles, or the solarisation of Glasgow Central Mosque in 2021.

Furthermore, our latest guide provides mosques with advice and tools to lead their congregations by example by providing communal spaces that are not only for prayer, but that serve the climate and our planet as our religion teaches us to.

Last month we celebrated Great Big Green Week in which communities up and down the country participated in activities to keep the pressure up on our political leaders to take action on climate change now. At Islamic Relief we want to put the spotlight on some of the mosques that have started paving the way for others, by taking the steps – whether small or large – to exercise their stewardship over God’s green Earth.

Cambridge Central Mosque: The UK’s First Eco-Mosque

Built in 2019, Cambridge Central Mosque is the UK’s – and Europe’s – first eco-mosque and boasts a near-zero carbon footprint whilst continuing its commitment to sustainability!

The building uses low energy LED bulbs and photovoltaic cells on the roof to generate renewable energy from sunlight. The mosque has heat pumps installed in the basement that heat and cool the mosque by producing more energy than they consume, and only heating the building as needed and cooling it at times of high occupancy or excess heat gains. Meanwhile, grey water and rainwater are harvested to flush WCs and irrigate the grounds.

The Islamic Garden in the mosque is one of its key attractions and has focused on biodiversity and insect-friendly planting in the selection of plants. The mosque also runs a community garden which includes a range of trees, shrubs, and flowers, picked especially for their ability to attract bees and other insects.

Glasgow Central Mosque – solar panel installation

In 2021, supported by Islamic Relief, Glasgow Central Mosque had 130 solar panels installed with the aim of cutting out an estimated 18,000kg per year of CO2 emissions.

Energy savings from the solarisation will allow the mosque to fund other community initiatives such as an urban food growing project to further reduce carbon emissions. The mosque has also committed to hosting annual awareness sessions for the local community on the dangers of climate change and the importance of green energy solutions.

Easton Jamia Mosque – raising awareness on climate change

In 2021 Easton Jamia Mosque released “A Muslim’s Guide to Climate Change” to highlight links between Islam and the responsibility to protect our environment. This was part of a string of activities that the mosque ran during Great Big Green Week.

The Mosque also worked with local organisations such as the Eastside Community Trust, who work collectively to help combat the negative impacts that climate change has on their community. It was also one of the community partners leading Bristol’s successful Climate Action Fund project.

Balham Mosque and Tooting Islamic Centre – installing water dispensers

In partnership with Islamic Relief, Balham Mosque and Tooting Islamic Centre piloted a campaign to reduce plastic waste and become more environmentally friendly in Ramadan. The mosque introduced reusable water bottles and dispensers, which were sold to mosque goers, with proceeds going to a water project in Kenya run by Islamic Relief.

Despite normally using disposable plastics, including plastic water bottles, the mosque pledged to only use biodegradable cups and cutlery during Ramadan in an important step that recognises the harmful impact of plastic on the environment.

Central Mosque of Brent – distributing excess food

The Central Mosque of Brent has partnered with London Community Kitchen to run a weekly surplus food market, to distribute free food that has been donated from businesses in the local area that would have otherwise gone to waste.

This initiative helps to serve the community during the cost-of-living crisis but is also a great way of ensuring good quality food is not thrown out.

East London Mosque – urban beekeeping

Since 2011 the East London Mosque has been home to several beehives, looked after by husband-and-wife team Khalil and Salma. The hives are kept on the roof of the mosque, which is now home to ten hives in total. Throughout the year, the mosque runs beekeeping courses for keen enthusiasts, and there is an online shop which sells products such as raw honey and honey soap produced from the hives they maintain.

These wonderful examples of mosques leading on climate action demonstrate how achievable it is to implement changes in your own communities, and there are many more ideas and opportunities for our mosques to be part of that change.

Small actions such as litter-picking or encouraging walking to the mosque have basis in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was a passionate advocate for the environment – so let’s strive to emulate these behaviours in our own spaces!

Do you belong to a mosque or community centre that would like to do more on climate change? Check out our Greening Our Mosques guide to help get you started.

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