Catholic And Islamic Leaders In Support Of The Right To Water

3 Apr 2022 by The Water Diplomat
DAKAR, Senegal

Caritas Senegal in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and the Dicastery of the Holy See organised an event on religion and the right to water at the 9th World Water Forum also featuring Islamic and Traditional spiritual leaders.  

The Archbishop of Dakar, Benjamin Ndiaye, noted that despite widespread use of the term "holy water”, most uses of water are not “holy”. Furthermore, even though God is not a traditional rain god, he has given benevolent rain to the blessed and withheld precious water as a penalty. The words of Jesus on the cross, "I thirst" and water as a sign of salvation in Psalm 23 were among those cited.

Pedro Arrojo Agudo, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, noted that prioritizing the right to water based on an ethical consideration of priorities is critical to protecting human rights. Water is a common good, needed by all and owned by no one, and for that, there is a need to make peace with nature and take steps to ensure sustainability and proper management of water resources.

Imam Ahmadou Makhtar Kanté of the Point-E Mosque in Dakar presented the Islamic viewpoint, explaining that the right to water for everyone is born of good sense, which is not restricted to Muslims but is for everyone. The lost paradise and the story of Adam contains a promise to Adam that he would never be thirsty, and so does Islam. Islam stresses that we are all citizens of this planet and no one could deprive another of water. Even while humans are supposed to enjoy the fruits of their labor, the Islamic holy book mentions the importance of preventing waste in all its forms.

From Senegal's Spiritual Traditions, Ph.D. student M. Noumo Mane of Assane Seck University emphasised water as a life source which is also prevalent in religious and traditional practices. Water can be used as a remedy for some ailments, as a libation in traditional prayers to ancestors, and as a means of purification. He said that traditional water etiquette should guide water management locally and nationally. As a result, Mr. Mane emphasized the necessity of safeguarding water supplies and ensuring their equitable distribution to all citizens.