The Middle East Vegan Society Launches Vegan Islam Initiative

The Middle East Vegan Society's new Vegan Islam Initiative aims to highlight the compatibility of veganism and Islam


(updated )

3 Minutes Read

A founder of the Middle East Vegan Society's Vegan Islam Initiative The initiative consists of a breakdown of the religion of Islam and its connection to veganism and animal rights - Media Credit: Zakaria Habboub

The Middle East Vegan Society just launched its new Vegan Islam Initiative. It aims to educate the public on veganism, the religion of Islam, and their complementary values.

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After over a year of development, the Vegan Islam Initiative rebuffs common misconceptions about being a vegan Muslim and highlights the importance of promoting animal rights.

The Middle East Vegan Society notes that one “notable commonality” between Islam and veganism is a “shared emphasis on love and compassion towards animals,” and its new guide covers common Islamic concepts such as harm avoidance and preserving nature.

Muslim communities – which include around 1.9 billion people, nearly a quarter of the world’s population – are severely underrepresented in the plant-based movement, even within attempts at diversification, something which the Middle East Vegan Society hopes to rectify.

Seb Alex, the Executive Director of the Middle East Vegan Society, told Plant Based News (PBN) that the Vegan Islam Initiative is one of the organization’s “most important” projects.

“Led by activist Fawziya Jaffan and with the efforts of other Muslim animal rights advocates from the Middle East, the initiative consists of a breakdown of the religion of Islam and its connection to veganism and animal rights,” said Alex.

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Vegan Islam Initiative ‘crucial’ for Middle East Vegan Society

A founder of the Middle East Vegan Society's Vegan Islam Initiative
Zakaria Habboub The founders have launched an extensive online guide on veganism and Islam

The Middle East Vegan Society says that factory farming is thriving in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The organization believes there is a lack of awareness about related issues like environmental damage, health issues, and poor animal welfare.

There is also sometimes confusion over whether eating vegan is possible for practicing Muslims. For example, Alex specifically highlights Halal (a dietary rule denoting “lawful” or “permitted” foods) and Eid al-Adha (the “Feast of Sacrifice,” which is one of Islam’s most important festivals).

However, he believes that the Middle East Vegan Society’s guide clarifies the most common areas of confusion and shows that a plant-based lifestyle is more than compatible.

“Based on the scripture, not only can Muslims be vegan, but they are in fact encouraged to protect other animals from harm, take care of their health, and be good stewards of our planet,” explained Alex. “Our goal is to […] make sure that the outreaching efforts of vegan organizations worldwide also reach Muslim communities.”

The new Vegan Islam initiative aims to bridge the gap by supplying a “comprehensive resource,” available in both English and Arabic, for all who might find it useful.

“Given that the majority of the population in this part of the world follows Islam, we believe it’s crucial for our organization, which raises awareness on this issue in the Middle East, to provide this resource not only for us, but for all those who are interested,” said Alex.

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This article was updated on May 14, 2024. A previous version of this article stated that Eid al-Adha marks the end of Ramadan’s fasting, which is not the case. Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan.

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