A Helping Hand for Refugees

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Conclusion

In the articles published in the most circulated newspapers all over the world appearing throughout this book we have been looking at the harsh conditions facing millions of people forced to leave behind their homes, lands, families, friends and possessions due to war and conflict in many parts of the world and to live as refugees in foreign countries. These innocent people, who include children and even babies, women and the elderly, flee without a second thought in order to save their lives, braving cold, rain and mud. Some take nothing with them, just the clothes on their backs, and set out for the unknown in rickety old boats. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of refugees in the world now exceeds 50,000,000. Fifty million people who have left behind the lands where they were born and raised and everything familiar to them and who have had to flee to very different places.

There is no doubt that what first comes to mind when refugees are mentioned today are the four million people who have fled Syria during the last five years or so of relentless war. Women and children represent 75% of that figure. Bearing in mind that more than seven million Syrians have also had to leave their homes and move to other towns, who have become refugees in their own country in other words, almost half the pre-war Syrian population of 22 million have essentially been forced to migrate.

The Somalis are another people who have had to abandon their lands due to war and famine. The number of Somali refugees dispersed among various countries exceeds one million. The number of Afghan refugees who have fled ongoing fighting and sought refuge in other countries exceeds 2.4 million.

One and a half million Rohingya Muslims who have fled persecution in the Rakhine region of Myanmar are struggling to survive on the brink of starvation in Bangladesh. More than 240,000 Rohingya Muslims are also living as displaced refugees in their own countries, just like the Syrians. There are more than 120,000 refugees on the border with Thailand. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people also have refugee status in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand and various European countries.

In addition to Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Myanmar, the refugee problem is also growing in Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and many other countries. Some of the millions of people forced to embark on an unknown journey due to persecution, oppression and violence lose their lives en route, and some of those who reach their destinations suffer inhumane treatment they simply do not deserve.

Yet standing up for and protecting the weak anywhere in the world, no matter what their faith, sect or ethnicity, and striving to put an end to the wickedness in the world is an important component of Islam, as well as a humanitarian responsibility. All that needs to be done is to embrace people fleeing their homes out of a fear of death and seeking a safe haven with love and affection, and to share all the means at our disposal with them. It is a precondition of being virtuous to put the safety of others above one's own interests when they are in danger. Moreover, we have a responsibility in the context of Islamic and moral values not just to open the borders to refugees, but to treat them well and make them feel at ease as if they were in their own homes.

At this point, a major responsibility is incumbent upon governments, civil society organizations and the world media. When the refugee problem is regarded as a human one, when an attitude based on love and affection is adopted toward these people who have had to leave their countries, homes, families and possessions, there is no doubt that the issue will be completely resolved. It must not be forgotten that love is the solution to all difficulties. Initiating a campaign of love that will revive mutual aid and altruism across the world will be an important step in the resolution of the refugee problem.

The present age is not one when we can remain silent in the face of injustice and violence or behave as if nothing were happening while millions of people are being persecuted; the refugee problem is one that demands that we do not remain silent. Everyone with a conscience has a responsibility to do all in his power to assist our innocent refugee brothers, remembering the fact that turning a blind eye to persecution is, morally speaking, the same as committing it.

They said "Glory be to You!
We have no knowledge except what You have taught us.
You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."
(Surat al-Baqara: 32)

 

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