Islamic Society of North America divests from fossil fuels

fossil fuels smoke
CC BY 2.0 Senor Codo via Flickr

"According to Islam's most basic and fundamental teachings, human beings have been uniquely charged with the great responsibility of being Guardians of the Earth. It goes against the mission of the ISNA to invest in fossil fuel companies whose operations and products cause such great harm to humanity and creation." —Azha Razee, President of the Islamic Society of North America

There are many reasons to get excited about this quote. First, it represents yet another major religious/moral authority stepping up and pulling its money out of fossil fuel investments. Secondly, according to Business Green at least, this announcement marks the first major Islamic institution in the world to join the divestment movement. And thirdly, it comes as part of a broader call from more than 200 faith leaders who are also calling for divestment from fossil fuels.

As someone who is about as non-religious as they get, I am perhaps not the best person to comment on the importance of such announcements. Yet it seems to me that such faith-based calls for breaking up with fossil fuels are an extremely important development. Yes, there will—for now at least—be other investors willing to step in and snap up stocks that religious institutions unload. But the divestment movement is as much about undermining oil, coal and gas companies' moral license to operate. When the institutions that represent millions and millions of people's sincerely held religious and moral convictions step up and say they can no longer be involved with fossil fuels, they are sending a powerful message.

Let's not forget, though, that this isn't about a moral stand alone. Given the very real threat that a "carbon bubble" could threaten our pensions, the Islamic Society of North America may well be prescient in getting out while the going is still good.

Islamic Society of North America divests from fossil fuels
The religious world is putting its money where its mouth is.

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