MSU introduces Islamic perspectives in curiculum

Nov. 10, 2008

Cotabato City — The Mindanao State University (MSU) system is collaborating with the Philippine Environmental Governance (EcoGov) project of the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) in the promotion of advocacies for natural resources management based on the tenets of Islam.

Last October 22, MSU and EcoGov entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to incorporate Al Khalifa (The Steward) into the academic curricula and extension programs of the MSU’s eleven campuses across Mindanao.

Al Khalifa, a sourcebook developed and released in 2007 by USAID’s EcoGov project in consultation with Islamic leaders and scholars, attitudes to Islamic teachings on leadership and the care and protection of the environment.

It calls for transparency, accountability, public participation and functionality in good governance.

With this paradigm, Al Khalifa parallels poor governance to the ineffective management of the country’s natural resources.

“I think the whole idea of strengthening ecological or environmental governance is one urgent concern that is imperative to the survival of the Muslim communities in Lake Lanao,” points out Dr. Macapado A. Muslim, president of MSUS and one of the signatories in the MOA.

Dr. Muslim also emphasizes the important role of the academe in sustaining assistance program. Because the university is always there you can be assured that programs for the community will continue to be useful to its environment.

The Maranaos or people of the lake take pride of and identify themselves with Lake Lanao. Unfortunately, years of uncontrolled garbage dumping in Marawi City and unregulated forest use in the watershed contributed to the degradation of the lake.

“For Muslims, developing and protecting the environment must not only be a legal but a moral duty as well,” shares professor Talib, Benito, dean of the King Faisal Center for Islamic Studies.

One of the MOA;s objectives is to bring in technical assistance from EcoGov to the King Faisal Center for Islamic Studies so that the latter can develop localized communication materials on Al Khalifa advocacies.

This is already being done for the colleges of agriculture, fisheries and forestry. (MCD-RICC Cotabato City)

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