Windsor teacher promotes green themes during Ramadan

Protecting Mother Nature is an important theme in Islam, and a Windsor teacher is helping her students make the connection during Ramadan.

Shaymaa Zantout helps lead green initiatives at Windsor Islamic High School. She says that one of the central ideas of Islam is that human beings were created as Khalifa — stewards or guardians of the land.

“So there’s a huge emphasis on being stewards of the earth and the environment around us, because that’s seen as that trust…that our creator gave us. And so the connection there is really important and I think of the one that we try to instill in the students of our school as well.”

She works with a group called Green Ummah, which has developed a program for students in partnership with Nature Canada.

The group was founded by students, including some from Windsor, to promote an environmental movement within the Muslim community.

Windsor Morning4:16Green Islam

Shaymaa Zantout, a teacher at Windsor Islamic High School, talks to CBC Windsor Morning host Peter Duck about how caring for nature is a spiritual responsibility. 4:16

“We had the opportunity to participate in activities, to go on an excursion… in nature. We had to write letters to the administration of our school asking for changes to be made to make our school more respectful of the environment,” she said. .

“So we try to make it very practical, through this program. And even now that this program, we have finished studying it, we still integrate some of these teachings into all of our lessons.”

The Green Ummah website says its lesson plans for teachers are solution-oriented. According to the organization, students already bring creativity, energy and innovative thinking to ecological issues.

“Our hope is to provide middle and high school students with an intersectional understanding of the environmental movement, equip them with methodologies to create sustainable and equitable solutions, and create opportunities for digital collaboration among young Muslims across Canada,” the website said.

Zantout says faith provides a useful lens for looking at issues such as the environment, as people may not see the impact they have had in their lifetime.

“But the idea is whether you see the results or not…this bondage is part of your relationship with God,” she said.

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