JAKARTA, March 4 (UPI) -- Indonesia's highest Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Council of Ulama, has taken an unprecedented move in issuing a fatwa against the illegal trafficking of endangered species.
A fatwa, or edict, is essentially a call to action. In this instance, religious leaders have called on Indonesian Muslims -- the largest population of Muslims in the world -- to play their part in protecting threatened species like tigers, rhinos, elephants and orangutans. That means conserving vulnerable habitat and curbing illegal wildlife trafficking.
"This fatwa is issued to give an explanation, as well as guidance, to all Muslims in Indonesia on the sharia law perspective on issues related to animal conservation," Hayu Prabowo, chair of the Council of Ulama's environment and natural resources body, told National Geographic. "People can escape government regulation, but they cannot escape the word of God."
Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates' General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims from participating in a space mission to Mars.