By Dawood Zwink
Executive Director; Michigan Muslim Community Council; www.mimuslimcouncil.com
As Executive Director of Michigan Muslim Community Council I am proud and privileged to endorse and serve on the Steering Committee for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected – a coalition of faith leaders, Native American tribes, conservation groups, animal welfare organizations, wildlife scientists, hunters, farmers, and everyday Michigan citizens working to protect Michiganâ€™s wolf population and restore the longstanding rights of voters to have a say in how wolves and other wildlife are managed and respected.
There is no reason to hunt wolves. Wolves are not eaten. They are only hunted for â€œsportâ€ by trophy hunters and trappers for their fur. Problem wolves can already be killed under the current law and an indiscriminate hunt will have no impact on the few instances where there is a conflict with wolves.
Those wolves must be dealt with immediately and directly. Michiganâ€™s own leading wolf experts agree there is no scientific justification for hunting wolves. I argue that the overriding public interest demands that the fragile wolf population be protected as a key precious and integral part of our environment. Wolves are an apex species that play a crucial role in the regulation and balance of Michigan ecosystems. Their population is self regulating in relation to the dynamic balance of nature. Other species great and small flourish when there is a sufficient wolf population to enable wolves to fulfill their natural role in our ecosystems.
As Muslims, we understand that God Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of all beings and every aspect of nature creates with a purpose. In our holy book the Qurâ€™an, we are told that The Almighty did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them for mere sport or play. While humans have free will and are held accountable for our intentions and actions, the rest of Creation lives in submission to their instincts and embedded nature.
We understand and believe that all the Almighty has created sings their thanks and praises, and continually raise up their prayers to the Eternal One. The human part of Creation has been given a trust by the All Knowing One, to use with wisdom, dwell with harmony and guard against corruption in and of the Earth.
I am opposed to Public Act 21 because I believe that hunting of wolves for trophies and for sport is against the teachings of Islam and a violation of our collective public trust. It has been accurately reported that the last Prophet and Messenger of Islam, Muhammad son of Abdullah (s) condemned those people who â€œtake up anything aliveâ€ (kill) as a mere sport. It is good to remember that Prophet Muhammad (s), his teachings and example, are intended to be a Mercy to all the world.
In the past, Michigan voters have had the chance to weigh in on which species would be hunted. Voters could lobby legislators and the governor if a law was passed with which voters disagreed. We had the opportunity to take the issue to the ballot box via referendum. Michigan voters did this successfully with mourning doves in 2006.
Now to the contrary, Public Act 21 strips away our ability to have a meaningful say on wildlife policy. Instead, power has been given to a panel of seven political appointees who are not accountable to we the voters, but definitely is susceptible to the influence of moneyed special interests. Even more significantly, this panel is not required to have a background in natural resource management, ecology or environmental science.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has submitted more than 229,000 petition signatures to put a referendum to overturn P.A. 21 on the fall ballot. This referendum will reaffirm the impact of our first referendum that has already been certified â€“ ensuring Michigan voters have the right to cast their vote to protect our wolves. It is of crucial importance that Michigan voters once again have a say in public policy making on wildlife and conservation issues. Let all the people decide this issue on the ballot this coming November!