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CSI Monday Majilis (This week it is on a Wednesday) : Zahra Ali Syed

Towards a Sustainable Arbaeen: Advocating for a Plastic-Free Pilgrimage in Iraq

Event details

Zahra Ali Syed

Towards a Sustainable Arbaeen: Advocating for a Plastic-Free Pilgrimage in Iraq

Wednesday (exceptionally) Majlis Online on the 15th of May, 17:00-18:30 (UK time) Centre for the Study of Islam, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter

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Abstract: Iraq has witnessed a significant increase in participation in the Arbaeen March, one of the world's largest peaceful gatherings, since 2014. Millions of pilgrims gather each year in the cities of Karbala and Najaf to participate in the march. As a result, tonnes of plastic waste is left behind. In the absence of a reliable solid waste system and political unrest in the war-torn country, The Green Pilgrim movement advocates for the 'plastic-free pilgrimage' while creating a demand for plastic alternates through online activism. It also encourages pilgrims to participate in offline activism by carrying reusable bottles. The study explores past activism techniques and their results along with a future strategy in the light of Islamic ethics of the Environment.

Bio: Zahra Ali Syed is the founder of The Green Pilgrims, an advocacy platform promoting eco-friendly religious tourism to Iraq and leading regional dialogue through the Sustainable Arbaeen Project with a multicultural team of volunteers. Pioneering eco-literacy in Pakistan in 2008 via her Learning Garden Program, Zahra boasts 14 years of experience as an environmental journalist and sustainability consultant. Holding an MA in Media, Ethics, and Social Change from the University of Sussex, UK, she has presented research in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka across various platforms.

In the spirit of the label ‘Majlis’ and to make the talks even more interesting, our speakers present the topic discussed as embedded in their own journey. You can watch the previous Majlises here, but we don’t reco