Certes, il est dit dans le Coran que l'oumma du Prophète (saw) est la meilleure communauté qui a été donnée à l'humanité (Coran 3 : 110).
Immédiatement, la Révélation nous indique la raison de cette supériorité. Elle demeure dans le fait que les musulmans " ordonnent le bien, interdisent le mal et croient en Dieu ".
La séquence des traits soulignés, situant la foi en dernier, implique que le bien et le mal ne sont pas les monopoles de ceux qui croient ou de ceux qui ne croient pas. Un musulman doit être pour la justice, même si cela veut dire qu'il doit donner raison à un non-musulman.
La Mosquée de Quatre Bornes était dans la légalité quand elle utilisait des haut-parleurs jusqu'à ce que vienne le jugement de la Cour Suprême. A partir de cet instant, en attendant un éventuel Stay of Execution, elle ne respecte plus la loi à chaque fois qu'elle utilise des haut-parleurs. Comment alors expliquer qu'elle puisse encore compter sur l'appel logé auprès d'une institution qu'elle ne respecte pas ?
Les manifestations devant la demeure de M. Glover ou encore devant le Parlement sont des actes illégaux. On déplore que la maison d'une veuve, une musulmane de Quatre Bornes, ait été endommagée, que des familles aient été traumatisées et des employé(e)s terrorisé(e)s dans la capitale.
Le non-respect de la loi par un petit groupe de musulmans est anti-islamique car tout musulman est tenu à respecter les lois de l'endroit où il vit aussi longtemps que ces lois ne lui imposent pas de violer des principes de l'islam.
Ceux qui ont choisi d'agir dans l'illégalité, et en toute impunité, méritent d'être dénoncés car ils s'attaquent, au fait, à la religion qu'ils disent défendre. Ils ne représentent pas les musulmans mais, au contraire, ils donnent une mauvaise présentation de ce qu'est l'éthique musulmane.
Ils sont encouragés par l'attitude passive de responsables de certaines institutions publiques, par les rares provocations de certains et, surtout, par le silence de la grande majorité des musulmans. Ces derniers ne doivent pas se laisser prendre en otage. Ils doivent condamner les dérapages et autres actes illégaux contraires à l'islam.
Et témoigner auprès de leurs voisins, collègues, amis et autres citoyens qui ne partagent pas la foi musulmane que la solution se trouve uniquement dans un dialogue respectueux entre personnes respectables et respectées.
The incoherence of coherence
As our government comes up with its "coherent energy policy", it is good to recall the April 1977 historic address of Jimmy Carter on the fundamental principles of energy planning.
" The first principle is that we can have an effective and comprehensive energy policy only if the government takes responsibility for it and if the people understand the seriousness of the challenge and are willing to make sacrifices.
" The second principle is that healthy economic growth must continue. Only by saving energy can we maintain our standard of living and keep our people at work. An effective conservation program will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
" The third principle is that we must protect the environment. Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems - wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both at once.
" The fourth principle is that we must reduce our vulnerability to potentially devastating embargoes. We can protect ourselves from uncertain supplies by reducing our demand for oil, making the most of our abundant resources such as coal, and developing a strategic petroleum reserve.
" The fifth principle is that we must be fair. Our solutions must ask equal sacrifices from every region, every class of people, every interest group. Industry will have to do its part to conserve, just as the consumers will. The energy producers deserve fair treatment, but we will not let the oil companies profiteer.
" The sixth principle, and the cornerstone of our policy, is to reduce the demand through conservation. Our emphasis on conservation is a clear difference between this plan and others which merely encouraged crash production efforts.
Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy.
Conservation is the only way we can buy a barrel of oil for a few dollars. It
costs about $13 to waste it.
" The seventh principle is that prices should generally reflect the true replacement costs of energy. We are only cheating ourselves if we make energy artificially cheap and use more than we can really afford.
" The eighth principle is that government policies must be predictable and certain. Both consumers and producers need policies they can count on so they can plan ahead. This is one reason I am working with the Congress to create a new Department of Energy, to replace more than 50 different agencies that now have some control over energy.
" The ninth principle is that we must conserve the fuels that are scarcest and make the most of those that are more plentiful. We can't continue to use oil and gas for 75 percent of our consumption when they make up seven percent of our domestic reserves. We need to shift to plentiful coal while taking care to protect the environment, and to apply stricter safety standards to nuclear energy.
" The tenth principle is that we must start now to develop the new, unconventional sources of energy we will rely on in the next century. "
Global Warming Era
The next century is here. And we have now proven that global warming is not a myth. Surely, as his heir Al Gore has done, Jimmy Carter would not have been adamant about coal if he had known what we are aware of today. Also, as conservation is no more attractive in an era of liberalisation, a modern version of his speech would have included a most significant appeal to promote Energy Management, particularly through efficiency and renewables.
Jimmy Carter followed up these policies by referring to clear goals to be achieved by 1985 :
- Reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than two percent.
- Reduce gasoline consumption by ten percent below its current level.
- Cut in half the portion of United States oil which is imported, from a potential level of 16 million barrels to six million barrels a day.
- Establish a strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than six months'supply.
- Increase our coal production by about two thirds to more than 1 billion tons a year.
- Insulate 90 percent of American homes and all new buildings.
- Use solar energy in more than two and one-half million houses.
(Jimmy Carter, The President's Proposed Energy Policy. 18 April 1977. Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XXXXIII, No. 14, May 1, 1977, pp. 418-420).
Oil is Power
However, when Ronald Reagan came, one of his first official acts of office was removing Jimmy Carter's solar panels from the roof of the White House, and reversing most of Carter's conservation and alternative energy policies.
The oil lobby around George Bush Sr, in partnership with the Saudis, including the Ben Laden family, will set the foundations for a world order that will render oil an absolute necessity. Bill Clinton, inspite of all popular support and growing awareness on global warming, will not manage to do much.
Al Gore has made the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions his Trojan Horse. However, the dependence on energy in modern lifestyle is so obvious that critics have recently pointed out that Al Gore's mansion consumes twenty times more energy than an average American home ! Not to mention the poor African's hut…
Policy coherence has been defined by the OECD as the systematic promotion of mutually reinforcing policy actions across government departments and agencies creating synergies towards achieving the agreed objectives. Furthermore, as far a energy is concerned, the following parameters need to be adressed with due respect to the Mauritius context :
- Continuity in energy policy irrespective of possible changes in government. This is why a consensual Sustainable Energy Act is vital for Mauritius. Coordination is crucial. Just as Carter set up the powerful Dept of Energy, here, the Ministry of Energy must be reinstituted. Enforcement is essential. An executing arm, the Energy Management Office is required to ensure that the political, economic and environmental objectives of the country are met, inter
alia to optimise its energy use, through engineering and management techniques.
- Scope of the process. An energy policy cannot be the result of pressures from a funding agency, however generous it may appear. In the current perspective, the policy must also extend up to 2050. Consultation must also be broad-based. Paul Vergès from Réunion has set the example by going to the extent of inviting all stakeholders, from far-away as well as from the region, including Mauritius, to develop the local and, possibly, regional energy strategies for
self-sufficiency by 2050.
- Holistic approach. Energy, Engineering, Economic, Environmental and Ethical/Social issues must be horizontally integrated in the energy planning exercise. National and cross-sectoral policies must match harmoniously all the elements of the energy policy. Public awareness ; Research, Development and Innovation ; and Capacity-building, particularly in Energy-Environment
interaction monitoring, should never be forgotten.
- Compatibility with the international trends. As coal continues to be used, its price will be much higher than today. This will be related also to the increasing costs of its transport, handling and safe disposal ; to the pressure to capture the CO2 emitted which alone consumes 30% of the energy from coal and boosts its price by 50% ; and to the need to convert to the so-called cleancoal technology. Gasification, fluidized-bed combustion, combined-cycle technology or the use of ultra-supercritical boilers will not be, however, without additional costs.
- SMART. Although policies are not objectives, they must ultimately lead to Specific, Measurable, Agreeable, Realistic and Time-bound definitions of the outcomes expected. Jimmy Carter's speech has the merit of showing with clarity what is expected from each stakesholder. The future of renewables, be it bagasse, ethanol, wind, solar or still waste-to-energy does not look brighter as a result of the recent policy paper !
Pricing structure, demand-side management, energy or environmental taxation, import and strategic storage, transport options, improvement of fuel quality and the openness for public-private partnerships are other issues that must be clearly defined in the context of a coherent policy paper.
The least that can be said is that, whilst the government policy document is a step forward, it is not clear in which direction we are going…
Khalil Elahee, M.A (Cantab), PhD
University of Mauritius