Sept. 20, 2022

EP 60: The Power of Faith in Environmentalism (PT2)

EP 60: The Power of Faith in Environmentalism (PT2)
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This is the second episode of a two-part series with Afnan Khairullah and Sofia Gilani. Afnan and Sofia are volunteers with the Green Muslims organization that works to connect Muslims everywhere to nature and environmental activism. 

In this episode, Afnan and Sofia continue sharing about the role nature played in their life and how they are using their religion, Islam, to educate and connect fellow Muslims to nature. They also give some good examples of how to live responsibly and be good stewards of this planet. According to them, keeping it simple, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, is the way it is supposed to be. Simple life gives you clarity and a better perspective on what is important in life, and helps you prioritize.


Episode Highlights

  • The way Ramadan is practiced nowadays defeats the purpose. We are supposed to spend all our time in worship, yet many people spend their time in the kitchen cooking for a massive feast, and after that massive feast, there is a massive clean-up. 
  • The environmental toll on that is that there is so much food, and a lot of it ends up going to waste. 
  • Our dinner is our iftar (breakfast). We have maybe one big iftar, and then we have leftovers. 
  • In Green Muslims last year we did a Ramadan challenge where we encouraged our followers to do a different theme each week 
  • Get yourself out there and make room for yourself. Not many environmental spaces are Muslim-heavy. Make yourself heard, and start where you’re comfortable. 
  • Pursue your passion. Learn more about what you want to learn and use it to the best of your ability. 
  • Live simply; forget about the stuff and go for the outdoor experiences and quality time with nature. 


Contact information and other Resources:

Afnan is a New Jersey native who moved to Northern Virginia in 2020 to start a career in the federal government. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and an MS in Sustainability Science with a concentration in sustainability leadership. Throughout her life, she has been drawn to the outdoors and is happiest hiking, bouldering, or exploring Washington, DC. 

Time and again Afnan has found herself drawing parallels with faith and eco stewardship, so working with Green Muslims was a natural fit to address environmental stewardship in the Muslim community while also promoting environmental awareness. She hopes that more people will one day share the same affinity for the well-being of the Earth. 


Sofia Gilani (she/hers) is the Climate Action Advocate for Green Muslims. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Sofia spent much of her youth outdoors with her family & later traveled to her parent’s home countries of Pakistan and Nicaragua. This travel experience shaped her view of an interconnected world that influenced her passion for environmental and social justice. She holds a BS in Environmental Science from George Mason University where she was involved with the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition and Mason Environmental Justice Alliance (MEJA). During her participation with these two organizations she was a collaborator for events to address activist burnout, conflict resolution discussions, prepare for marches, and organize clean-ups. Sofia has a strong passion for education and advocacy that she utilizes in her work with Green Muslims to help involve the Muslim community in environmental advocacy. Professionally, Sofia has worked in environmental compliance for solid waste, as well as construction. In her spare time outside of work and advocacy, Sofia enjoys kayaking, biking, boxing, and hanging out with her cat.

Here's a link to a video that created by Peter Toscano of the Citizens Climate Lobby for the “Religious Communities and the Planetary Crisis” hosted by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, the Hartford Seminary, and CT Interfaith Power and Light. 


Breaking Green Ceilings:




Follow Afnan: 




Follow Sofia




Green Muslims: