Posted on April 25, 2014

Jakarta 18 March 2014 – Indonesia’s leading Islamic representative body, the Indonesian Council of Ulama (the MUI, Majelis Ulama Indonesia) has moved to back efforts to reform the country’s animal welfare laws.

 A fatwa issued on March 10 cites Islamic references to the duty of Muslims to care for endangered wild animals and their habitats, as well as ensure the welfare of family pets.

 Secretary of the MUI section that deals with the natural environment, H Hayu Prabowo, will address a conference in Jakarta today (18 March) organised by the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) and other animal welfare groups. Imam Hayu will tell the conference that Islamic teachings in the Quran and the Hadiths give complete instructions on how the faithful should care for the whole universe.

 “The fatwa also warns that people go to hell if [for example] they had a lot of cats but did not care for them well,” he said in a media statement issued with the fatwa.

 The MUI says that the fatwa on the conservation of endangered species focuses on individual responsibility to act responsibly on environmental issues.

 It encourages Muslims to campaign for stronger protection of endangered species amidst extinction of their habitat and reminds them of their religious duty to look after animals in their care.

 Imam Hayu said on March 10 that the MUI would seek to work with environmental organisations focused on animals, such as WWF and Green Peace internationally.

 He said international views relating to the environment and animal care were beginning to emphasise that religious, socialisation and educational approaches were more effective than repressive law-based enforcement.

 According to Imam Hayu, while the MUI Fatwa (No. 04 / 2014) emphasises individual responsibility, it also addresses stakeholders as a whole, including government at national, provincial and local level and law enforcement agencies.

H Hayu  Prabowo will address the inaugural annual workshop on Strengthening Indonesia’s Animal Welfare laws in Jakarta today (Tuesday 18 March 2014).