Letter: I was mistaken, but you were as well

, Roger S. Gottlieb, Leave a comment

Hi there,

You reported on my June 23 interview in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
I made a mistake–not Madagascar, as I said, but Tanzania.

However, you made a mistake as well, for in certain contexts sheiks can be religious leaders.

The following is from the website of the Alliance for Religion and Conservation, one of the groups who set up the process of ecological education for the sheiks.

Then a startlingly simple solution was developed. The fishing villages of the East African coast are mostly Muslim, organized under a religious leadership of sheiks who have enormous authority in the communities. The basis of these fishing families’ lives is Islam, with its Qur’an, Shariah laws, and the traditions and customs of the faith.

In 1998, in a joint venture with ARC, CARE International, WWF International and the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, the sheiks on Masali island came together to explore Islamic teachings about the appropriate use of God’s creation. From these studies the sheiks drew the conclusion that dynamite fishing was illegal according to Islam. They used Qur’anic texts such as “O children of Adam! … eat and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loveth not the wasters” (Surah 7:31).

Roger S. Gottlieb

Professor of Philosophy

Department of Humanities and Arts

Worcester Polytechnic Institute