Over 100 Gather In KL For Green Iftar To Celebrate Diversity And Sustainability

The event also brought together over 50 refugees from Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan.

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During the blessed month of Ramadan, over 100 people united for a 'Green Iftar' event held on Saturday, 30 March at Ampang Hilir Lake Park in Kuala Lumpur

This event, part of a global initiative founded by Studio89 in Toronto, Canada, was more than an iftar; it was a celebration of our shared responsibility as stewards of the earth.

Green Iftar is not just about Malaysia, but about the global community, as it was organised by respective community non-profits in multiple cities across Indonesia, Pakistan, Belgium, and Canada this year.

"The Green Iftar is a chance for us to unite for a meaningful cause and to remind ourselves of our amanah as stewards of the earth," remarked Aina Fazlin Ibrahim Bajunid, co-founder of Muslim Veg Malaysia.

The serene lakeside setting was a fitting backdrop for an iftar that brought together over 50 refugees from Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan

Their presence was a poignant reminder of the universality of the human experience and the shared traditions that bind us. The event was open to all Malaysians, regardless of cultural background.

"This gathering symbolises the true essence of Ramadan, emphasising moderation, sustainability, and inclusivity. By including members of the refugee community, we strengthen social cohesion and address the pressing challenges faced by the marginalised refugees in Malaysia. It's heartwarming to witness such initiatives, and I hope that more organisations support such noble endeavours to empower the refugee community," said Chef Dave, a Malaysian vegan celebrity chef and plant-based lifestyle advocate.

"We are reminded of the power of community and collective action in fostering sustainability and unity. It has also inspired us to embrace eco-friendly practices during Ramadan and throughout the year as we strive to protect our planet for future generations," remarked Dr Hassan Mustafa, a refugee community leader from Yemen.

This Green Iftar was made special by promoting zero-waste and environmentally sustainable plant-based foods

Participants brought and dined with their own containers, cutlery, and bottles, and afterwards, they had the opportunity to tapau any extra foods they wanted to bring home.

This practice helps reduce single-use plastic pollution and is a practical lesson in environmental responsibility. The Iftar menu featured Prophet Muhammad's SAW sunnah foods and other 'green' plant-based delights, which was prepared by the Afghan refugees under the social enterprise Greater Action.

"The purpose of fasting is to control our passions and behaviours. Unfortunately, there are those who make fasting a feasting celebration, which leads to immense food waste and thoughtless environmental pollution. The time is now for us to return to its true essence by internalising it as selfless reflection and graceful stewardship," shared Yusaimi Yusof, founding president of Grass Malaysia.

With Earth Day on the horizon, the Green Iftar was a timely precursor to a day dedicated to our planet's health

Underscoring the importance of every individual's role in ensuring a brighter future for the next generation, it highlighted the need for a holistic approach towards sustainability, including being mindful of our daily food choices.

The United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) has declared that the red meat and dairy industry has a significant environmental impact compared to other protein sources. They contribute about 14% to 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Therefore, it would be more responsible to reduce their consumption and consider replacing some (if not all) of our daily meals with plant-based alternatives.

This simple individual act, which becomes more powerful collectively, is a viable solution to reducing global GHG emissions and preserving our natural resources.

In short, the less meat we consume or purchase, the less the industry needs to produce.

According to the 2023 report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), even if all other greenhouse gas reduction efforts are implemented, we will not be able to meet the 1.5-degree targets set in the Paris Agreement without a significant shift in our global dietary habits.

"Every individual has the power to create a meaningful impact in managing climate change, and it starts from your plate. We hope that Green Iftar sparks a light for our guests to know that everyone has that power," said Faisal Mansor, co-founder of Muslim Veg Malaysia and recently appointed country director for the international non-profit Proveg International in Malaysia.

In the words of the host of the evening, Nur Diyana Abd Rahim, a prominent plant-based lifestyle blogger, "Living ethically and sustainably in harmony with nature is our responsibility as humans on Earth. Green Iftar intends to bring the two parts of the same coin in a meaningful way."

The Green Iftar event was a testament to the power of collective action and the impact of making conscious choices. It was an evening celebrating the convergence of faith, culture, and environmental stewardship, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended. As the night ended, the message was clear: every action counts, and together, we can create a sustainable world for all.

"We can be kind to all kinds, regardless of race, country, and even species," remarked Noorfadhliah Ahmad, an impassioned animal rights activist.

In Malaysia, the Green Iftar is organised by an online community project called the Muslim Veg Malaysia

Learn more on their Facebook or Instagram account.

Let's all have a blessed and mindful Eid celebration in a united spirit.

This story is a personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the position of SAYS.

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