A MOSQUE is believed to be the first Muslim institution in England to commit to becoming carbon neutral.
The South Woodford mosque and community centre, Mulberry Way, South Woodford, has decided to do its part in the fight against global warming and claim a green first.
Charity Tolerance International is carrying out an environmental audit of the organisation to work out its annual carbon emissions.
It will then help the mosque to reduce its energy usage, and offset the rest by planting trees in the Peruvian rainforest.
Dr Mohammed Fahim, mosque chairman and head imam, said: "In Islam we are obliged to respect the environment we live in and we have to contribute to natural resources. We cannot just use them without protecting or preserving them, or trying to add to them.
"When a tree provides fruit it does not provide fruit for itself, for its own use. It provides fruit for humanity.
"I want every Muslim to be like a tree, which provides fruit not for himself, but for other people to benefit from it."
Hamid Bayazi, chief executive of Tolerance International, said the mosque would be able to offset its emissions by paying £5.70 per tonne towards re-planting trees, and training agricultural and forestry management skills to impoverished communities in Peru so they had sustainable employment.
He said he did not know of any other mosque or Muslim community centre that had become carbon neutral in this country.
He said: "We feel it's up to religious institutions to take a stand on the whole subject of climate change, because it's something that basically businesses talk about, something that the government talks about, but it's seldom that religious institutions get involved in it."
Mr Bayazi said businesses, religious organisations and educational institutions can take advantage of a free environmental audit by Tolerance International, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 020 7427 0050 or going to www.toleranceinternational.org.uk.
Source: Ilford Recorder (English)