The Koran apparently has over 1500 verses that discuss the environment; not that we ever hear that side of the story thanks to the media. And with Doha preparing for its hosting of the COP18 summit, religious leaders in Qatar had an incredible opportunity to inspire change in this corner of the Gulf.

Qatar attracted heaps of misplaced scorn and criticism after it won the right to host this important UN climate event this year. Not that criticism of Qatar was new; the 2022 World Cup already opened that can. But one of the most politically astute, and of course, wealthiest countries in the Gulf can lead the call for sustainability awareness in the Middle East. Imams in mosques throughout Qatar will now offer sermons focused on environmental awareness in the weeks leading up to COP18.

We have to engage the Middle East and its people if we want them to have a role in global campaigns focused on environmental awareness, human rights and the development of new forms of clean energy. Qatar has the money and its young leadership has the interest. If the country’s imams can push this discussion even further, Qatar’s contribution to healing the world may be one of the great success stories of the early 21st century. Increased tolerance and global understanding would be a great benefit resulting from next month’s event, too.

Special thanks to Qatar Foundation’s Christopher Silva for alerting me to this trend.

Photo courtesy Leon Kaye

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.