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Indonesia's top Islamic council issues fatwa on forest burning

Muslim clerics bid to prevent companies, farmers damaging the environment

September 15, 2016

Indonesia's highest Islamic council has issued a fatwa that forbids Muslims from burning their land.

"The act of burning forests and land, which can cause damage, environmental pollution, economic losses, affect health, and other negative impacts is haram [forbidden]," said Professor Huzaemah Yanggo, chairperson of the Indonesian Ulema Council, reported CNA Sept. 13.

The fatwa is not legally binding but has been issued to dissuade plantation companies and farmers from practicing slash-and-burn methods that results in a toxic smog covering the region, including neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.

Reuters reported that last year's fires were some of the worst on record for the region, causing flight and school disruptions and affecting thousands who suffer from respiratory conditions.

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