A HELPING HAND FOR REFUGEES
ADNAN OKTAR (HARUN YAHYA)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Now writing under the pen-name of HARUN YAHYA, Adnan Oktar was born in Ankara in 1956. Having completed his primary and secondary education in Ankara, he studied fine arts at Istanbul's Mimar Sinan University and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, he has published many books on political, scientific, and faith-related issues. Harun Yahya is well-known as the author of important works disclosing the imposture of evolutionists, their invalid claims, and the dark liaisons between Darwinism and such bloody ideologies as fascism and communism.
Harun Yahya's works, translated into 76 different languages, constitute a collection for a total of more than 55,000 pages with 40,000 illustrations.
His pen-name is a composite of the names Harun (Aaron) and Yahya (John), in memory of the two esteemed Prophets who fought against their peoples' lack of faith. The Prophet's seal on his books' covers is symbolic and is linked to their contents. It represents the Qur'an (the Final Scripture) and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), last of the prophets. Under the guidance of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet [saas]), the author makes it his purpose to disprove each fundamental tenet of irreligious ideologies and to have the "last word," so as to completely silence the objections raised against religion. He uses the seal of the final Prophet (saas), who attained ultimate wisdom and moral perfection, as a sign of his intention to offer the last word.
All of Harun Yahya's works share one single goal: to convey the Qur'an's message, encourage readers to consider basic faith-related issues such as God's existence and unity and the Hereafter; and to expose irreligious systems' feeble foundations and perverted ideologies.
Harun Yahya enjoys a wide readership in many countries, from India to America, England to Indonesia, Poland to Bosnia, Spain to Brazil, Malaysia to Italy, France to Bulgaria and Russia. Some of his books are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Urdu, Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, Swahili, Hausa, Dhivehi (spoken in Maldives), Russian, Serbo-Croat (Bosnian), Polish, Malay, Uygur Turkish, Indonesian, Bengali, Danish and Swedish.
Greatly appreciated all around the world, these works have been instrumental in many people recovering faith in God and gaining deeper insights into their faith. His books' wisdom and sincerity, together with a distinct style that's easy to understand, directly affect anyone who reads them. Those who seriously consider these books, can no longer advocate atheism or any other perverted ideology or materialistic philosophy, since these books are characterized by rapid effectiveness, definite results, and irrefutability. Even if they continue to do so, it will be only a sentimental insistence, since these books refute such ideologies from their very foundations. All contemporary movements of denial are now ideologically defeated, thanks to the books written by Harun Yahya.
This is no doubt a result of the Qur'an's wisdom and lucidity. The author modestly intends to serve as a means in humanity's search for God's right path. No material gain is sought in the publication of these works.
Those who encourage others to read these books, to open their minds and hearts and guide them to become more devoted servants of God, render an invaluable service.
Meanwhile, it would only be a waste of time and energy to propagate other books that create confusion in people's minds, lead them into ideological confusion, and that clearly have no strong and precise effects in removing the doubts in people's hearts, as also verified from previous experience. It is impossible for books devised to emphasize the author's literary power rather than the noble goal of saving people from loss of faith, to have such a great effect. Those who doubt this can readily see that the sole aim of Harun Yahya's books is to overcome disbelief and to disseminate the Qur'an's moral values. The success and impact of this service are manifested in the readers' conviction.
One point should be kept in mind: The main reason for the continuing cruelty, conflict, and other ordeals endured by the vast majority of people is the ideological prevalence of disbelief. This can be ended only with the ideological defeat of disbelief and by conveying the wonders of creation and Qur'anic morality so that people can live by it. Considering the state of the world today, leading into a downward spiral of violence, corruption and conflict, clearly this service must be provided speedily and effectively, or it may be too late.
In this effort, the books of Harun Yahya assume a leading role. By the will of God, these books will be a means through which people in the twenty-first century will attain the peace, justice, and happiness promised in the Qur'an.
TO THE READER
A special chapter is assigned to the collapse of the theory of evolution because this theory constitutes the basis of all anti-spiritual philosophies. Since Darwinism rejects the fact of creation—and therefore, God's existence—over the last 150 years it has caused many people to abandon their faith or fall into doubt. It is therefore an imperative service, a very important duty to show everyone that this theory is a deception. Since some readers may find the opportunity to read only one of our books, we think it appropriate to devote a chapter to summarize this subject.
All the author's books explain faith-related issues in light of Qur'anic verses, and invite readers to learn God's words and to live by them. All the subjects concerning God's verses are explained so as to leave no doubt or room for questions in the reader's mind. The books' sincere, plain, and fluent style ensures that everyone of every age and from every social group can easily understand them. Thanks to their effective, lucid narrative, they can be read at one sitting. Even those who rigorously reject spirituality are influenced by the facts these books document and cannot refute the truthfulness of their contents.
This and all the other books by the author can be read individually, or discussed in a group. Readers eager to profit from the books will find discussion very useful, letting them relate their reflections and experiences to one another.
In addition, it will be a great service to Islam to contribute to the publication and reading of these books, written solely for the pleasure of God. The author's books are all extremely convincing. For this reason, to communicate true religion to others, one of the most effective methods is encouraging them to read these books.
We hope the reader will look through the reviews of his other books at the back of this book. His rich source material on faith-related issues is very useful, and a pleasure to read.
In these books, unlike some other books, you will not find the author's personal views, explanations based on dubious sources, styles that are unobservant of the respect and reverence due to sacred subjects, nor hopeless, pessimistic arguments that create doubts in the mind and deviations in the heart.
All translations from the Qur'an are from
The Noble Qur'an: a New Rendering of its Meaning in English
by Hajj Abdalhaqq and Aisha Bewley, published by Bookwork,
Norwich, UK. 1420 CE/1999 AH.
First Edition: May, 2016
Kayışdağı Mah. Değirmen Sok. No: 3 Ataşehir - İstanbul / Turkey
Tel: (+90) 216-6600059
Printed by: İklim Ofset
Litros Yolu Fatih İş Merkezi No: 280 Topkapı - İstanbul / Turkey
Tel: (+90) 212-6134041
www.harunyahya.com / www.harunyahyaapps.com
en.a9.com.tr - en.harunyahya.tv
Supporting refugees is the behavior
that will be most pleasing to God 16
Adnan Oktar's remarks concerning refugees on A9 TV 28
Events in Myanmar are crime against humanity 32
A cry for help to the U.N. from Rohingya of Myanmar 38
What if you were living in a refugee camp? 48
The crime against humanity in Yarmouk must be
ended as a matter of urgency! 52
Behind the persecution in Myanmar 58
How does it feel to be a Rohingya? 64
One of the dozens of problems facing Yemen is immigration 74
Refugees: Stopping the madness 80
The safety of our Syrian refugee brothers is
entrusted to the hospitable Turkish people 88
Buffer zone: A safe haven for the Syrians 98
A secure zone must be established at once on the
Turkish-Syrian border 102
The conundrum of Libya's refugees and migrants 108
Drowning migrants is a blot on humanity 114
Are the boat people a burden for Thailand? 122
Deafening silence over Rohingya issue 132
What can European countries do against
the tide of migration? 138
The Rohingya Muslims are being exiled in their own lands 146
Syrian refugees in the fourth year of the crisis 152
Syria: The downward spiral of desolation 160
Illegal immigrants: Only a statistic in Europe 166
Syria's human tragedy 176
Yarmouk cries for help 182
The world refugee problem can be solved with love 190
Adnan Oktar's remarks concerning refugees on A9 TV 208
Europe must step up for humanity 218
Nobody to wipe Rohingyas' tears 224
Asylum seekers: A problem of humanity or security? 232
It is no economic loss to help Syrian refugees 240
A heart for helping refugees 246
When conscience fails, children suffer 254
Events of global shame .. 262
Will Europe pass the refugee test? 268
Condemning refugees to death 276
The European refugee crisis:
Only if there were some empathy 282
The priority in Libya must be to establish love and affection
between the blocs; consensus will then come naturally 288
Refugees with no great expectations 294
Walls cannot be a solution to security issues 304
Refugees not a threat, but an important asset for Europe 314
What will election victory bring to the people of Rohingya? 322
Humans have rights on paper,
but apparently not in real life 328
EU, Turkey find silver lining 336
Refugees are the victims of the Paris attacks,
not its perpetrators 344
Being leaderless is the reason behind the
oppression Muslims suffer 350
The EU is in danger of taking Turkey for granted 360
Appendix: The deception of evolution 370
Muslims were never exposed to the level of violence and oppression we're seeing until today. Muslims around the world from Myanmar to Iraq, Libya to Syria, and China to European countries are being subjected to terrible violence and are being forced to live helplessly. Today millions of innocent Muslims cannot live in their homelands due to continued bombardments day and night, the sudden attacks by drones that silently appear in the sky, the horrible violence of radical groups, dictators not afraid of tyrannizing their own people, poverty, hunger and pain caused by bigots who have abandoned the Qur'an to instead offer an awful life for Muslims based on their superstitions.
The end result is so grave that calls for help remain mostly unanswered during these violent waves of destruction against Muslim women, children and the elderly. Today, while the brutality of World War Two is the subject of documentaries, much worse and daunting images can be seen as ordinary evening news.
In other words, on one hand Muslims must deal with war, cruelty and violence and on the other hand have to struggle with the world's unresponsiveness and prejudice against Islam.
Doubtlessly, in this Muslim opposition, extremism has had a great effect by misinterpreting Islam and showing it as a religion of violence based on their superstitions. Although Islam is the real source of love, beauty, compassion, freedom, women's rights, and democracy, the bigots portray it as a dark, prohibitionist, misogynistic system opposed to all the beauty. The Western media often show footage in support of this image; not only does this add fuel to the situation, it also prevents the slightest help to Muslims groaning under the oppression. Hostility towards the Islamic world due to the problem of extremism has reached such a level that the Western world is ignoring drowning babies, the inoffensive dying from suffocation in trucks, and the weak who are not even being treated like human beings in refugee camps.
All this cruelty and violence is pushing millions of innocent women, children, elderly towards a dangerous and unknown journey, and is creating millions of refugees. This is one of the reasons why the world is facing the biggest refugee crisis in the history. Millions of Muslims are leaving their homes, culture, traditions, lives and families, to go on a trip into the unknown, not knowing what will follow. While many are martyred in this, those who reach their goal are often faced with inhumane treatment they do not deserve at all.
Our Lord, in the 75th verse of Surat an-Nisa', has ordered us to protect the weak and to make an effort to end cruelty in the world. Regardless of sect, origin or religion, it is the command of our Omnibenevolent Lord to all people to feed the stranded, the poor and the prisoner and to help the poor and the needy. The cause of this cruelty today is that people have abandoned the religion of God and have been set against each other through satan's provocation; they have distanced themselves from Islamic morality and disobeyed the orders of our Lord by refusing to help the downtrodden.
It is clear that if world countries join together and put forward a cover portion of their budget in order to find a solution to the problems of refugees all over the world, providing safe shelter and a life worthy of human dignity will be very easy. Hence, to solve the refugee problem, the people need to come together as per the commandment of God and embrace with compassion those who flee cruelty and seek shelter and share their resources with them. The ongoing refugee crisis that is unseemly for the 21st Century will only find a definitive solution through this approach.
This book will address the refugee problem, which is one of the biggest problems of today in all details and will illustrate that if conducted in accordance with our Lord's commandments, these images of pain could easily disappear.
Supporting refugees is the behavior that will be most pleasing to God
Scientific Research Volume 109
How should Muslims behave toward refugees?
What will it benefit Muslims to assist refugees?
According to the United Nations, there are some 50 million refugees in the world, and Muslims constitute a large portion of these. Due in particular to colonialist countries' desire to take control of the rich resources of Islamic lands, over the last hundred years millions of Muslims have abandoned their land, homes and jobs and have had to seek refuge in neighboring countries, living in camps under very harsh conditions. Other peoples have then moved into the lands that were abandoned due to war, violence and occupation. Today, for example, a full one-third of the Palestinian people are refugees. Indeed, the great majority of those living inside Palestine have also had to leave their homes and live in camps. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees, including large numbers of Iraqis following the American intervention, Rohingyas who had to abandon their homes due to oppression in Myanmar and some 2 million Afghans, Kashmiris and Somalis. Today, too, hundreds of thousands of refugees are abandoning their motherland in Syria.
The law on refugees occupies a very important place in the history of Islam
In the first years of Islam, when maltreatment and oppression became unbearable, our Prophet Muhammad (saas) migrated with his Muslim followers to Medina. These Muslims who migrated from Mecca to Medina were known as 'Muhajirun,' (migrants). The Muslims of Medina welcomed the Muhajirun in a very graceful way. These Muslims of Medina who sheltered the migrants and helped them in all ways were known as the 'Ansar' (helpers.) God reveals that He will be pleased with both of these of believers:
Those who have faith and have emigrated and strived in the Way of God and those who have given refuge and help, they are the true believers. They will have forgiveness and generous provision. (Surat al-Anfal, 74)
The Muslims who our Prophet (saas) referred to as "Ansar" or helpers consisted of believers from Yathrib who had gone to Mecca during previous pilgrimage seasons and secretly sworn allegiance to Rasulullah (saas) or who had embraced Islam by the preaching of Muslims that had sworn such allegiance before. They had accepted Islam later than most Meccan Muslims, but like them they were virtuous, honest and altruistic. These worthy people regarded the Muhajirun who sought refuge with them as brothers, shared their homes and food with them and exhibited exemplary moral values. God describes the moral virtues of the Ansar as follows:
Those who were already settled in the abode [Medina], and in faith, before they came, love those who have emigrated to them and do not find in their hearts any need for what they have been given and prefer them to themselves even if they themselves are needy. It is the people who are safe-guarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful. (Surat al-Hashr, 9)
These moral virtues of the Ansar were instrumental in many good deeds, and Islam spread swiftly across the world, not just in Medina. God describes the migrants and the virtuous Ansar who helped them thus in Surat at-Tawba:
The forerunners – the first of the Muhajirun and the Ansar – and those who have followed them in doing good: God is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. He has prepared Gardens for them with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever and ever. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba, 100)
The moral virtues of this community whose altruism, love, affection and compassion are praised in the Qur'an must serve as a role model for all Muslims, and must be applied in the case of today's migrants.
Standing up for our Syrian refugee brothers in the same way as the Ansar in the time of our Prophet (saas) is a requirement of Islam's morality
Listening to arguments about Syrian refugees, hearing that these innocent people want to return to the climate of conflict because of the unpleasing attitudes of some provocateurs and seeing the despairing expressions on the faces of those kept waiting at border crossings of course distressed us all. Remember that many of these people had professions, cars, homes and resources of one kind or another; yet the oppression in Syria is so terrible that they had to migrate and flee to a neighboring country in fear of their lives. They preferred being refugees to being bombed, raped or beaten to death with truncheons. They sought refuge in our lands to protect their families, without thinking about their lives they worked so hard to build over the years.
Thinking of our relations with these Syrian brothers solely in terms of politics or the national economy, hiding behind such concepts as "conjunctures, geopolitics and realpolitik", issuing disturbing statements will result in a tragedy in the name of humanity. As with everything in our lives, we must also consider this state of affairs within the framework of Islam's morality, think in a rational and conscientious way and act accordingly.
The sublimely compassionate values revealed by God in the Qur'an
God reveals in the Qur'an how Muslims must behave when they encounter defenseless people, or the Muhajirun, who are persecuted by cruel rulers:
What reason could you have for not fighting in the Way of God – for those men, women and children who are oppressed and say, 'Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper from You!'? (Surat an-Nisa', 75)
This verse commands Muslims to immediately offer assistance to oppressed men, women and children. Through this verse, God imposes a responsibility on Muslims to help all oppressed people, irrespective of their race, faith or sect.
Not to share one's food, water, home and other means with these innocent people, refusing to help the needy and thinking solely of one's own interest is wrongful behavior condemned in the Qur'an. It is also commanded in the Qur'an that the "very poor and travellers" should be helped:
Give your relatives their due, and the very poor and travellers but do not squander what you have. (Surat al-Isra', 26)
As we have seen, travellers are a group of people requiring priority assistance in the view of the Qur'an. Being a refugee means being a traveller, being on a journey with no home and no food.
As required by Islamic moral values and good conscience, we too must exhibit the virtues of our Prophet (saas) and the Companions and welcome others in the same way as the Ansar. We must consider our Syrian brothers before ourselves. We must first provide them with food, drink, warmth and place to sleep, and we must avoid any behavior or speech that might distress them.
Migration is an excellent opportunity to exhibit moral virtues, not only for those who lived in the time of our Prophet (saas) and the Companions, but also for those believers who came later. The important thing is the moral growth, maturity of faith and virtuous morality that occurs during that migration, rather than its form. All believers in all times and places can live by that spirit.
Remarks Concerning Refugees
on A9 TV
12 May 2013, A9 TV
What is being said about the Syrian refugees is very wrong. One should not speak to guests in this way. Do you know how these people got here?
They flee with their children. They say, "They are raping our children and daughters, and they will kill us." "Save us for God's sake," they say. They are at your door, and you shut it in their faces. Can you imagine the state you would be in, may God forbid? You will be complicit in that rape and murder.
If someone tries to kill a child, you will grab his arm and stop him. If you do not, then you are complicit, may God forbid.
Stop it. We will allow our Syrian brothers into Turkey, even if millions of them come.
They are engaging in acts of provocation and finding provocateurs. It will have no effect on us, even if a hundred bombs go off, we will never turn away people from Syria who seek our shelter. They can be given Turkish citizenship, or dual nationality. Laws can be passed so we do not send them back to Syria. Let us give them Turkish citizenship. Let us build houses and settle them in Hatay.
May God forbid, how can such reluctance occur? That may be a responsibility to face in the Presence of God. People remain as observers to that murder by doing this.
I wonder if those ones were in Syria and some were trying to kill them or rape their children or wives, how they would feel if people shut their doors in their faces.
Of course nobody would want to be subjected to that.
Helping refugees bestows depth of faith and maturity
Helping refugees purges the human soul of parsimony and selfishness. Therefore, as in the time of our Prophet (saas), those who assist refugees and place material means at their disposal today, by God's leave enjoy a strengthening of faith and maturity of moral values. Because by using all the means at their disposal for God's sake, those who help refugees show that they attach no value to any material things in the life of this world. By making all kinds of sacrifice for the comfort and ease of their brothers in faith, they free themselves of all selfish feelings in their lower selves.
Therefore, helping refugees is a means of deepening in and achieving purity and perfection of faith. God reveals this superior virtue as follows in the Qur'an:
Those who believe and have emigrated and striven with their wealth and themselves in the way of God, and those who have given refuge and help, they are the friends and protectors of one another. (Surat al-Anfal, 72)
It is time to exhibit the superior values and self-sacrifice of the Ansar. To embrace the needy, to go hungry but to feed the migrants if necessary or to go without sleep but provide a place for them to sleep is how to resemble the Ansar in their virtues. To act like the Ansar is to hold the needy in dear, irrespective of their race, religion or color. What is most becoming of us is to be like the Ansar, no matter what the circumstances.
Events in Myanmar are crime against humanity
Harakah Daily & The Burma Times
4 January 2014
The scale of the slaughter, persecution, torture and savagery experienced during the ruthless ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya Muslims in the Myanmar province of Rakhine stagger the imagination.
As a result of the slaughter and displacement carried out in the light of the systematic cleansing policy waged since 1942, only 700,000 out of the original four million Muslims in the region remain. To date, three million Muslims have been forced to migrate to neighboring countries, hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been martyred, tens of thousands of settlement units have been burnt and destroyed, tens of thousands of women have been raped, and hundreds of mosques and madrassas have been destroyed. Thousands of Muslims are known to have been imprisoned and tortured, though their fates are unknown.
In recent years, since the Bangladeshi government closed its borders to the refugees, hundreds of Muslims seeking to flee to that country have drowned in the seas and rivers on the frontier; and this plays into the hands of the Myanmar regime that wishes to entirely purge the country of Muslims.
Our Muslim brothers have been burned alive in their homes in more than 330 attacks, which have worsened since June of 2013, in which Muslim villages, including mosques and madrassas were burned. According to independent human rights organizations, in June 2012 alone, 1,000 Muslims in the region were ruthlessly martyred and 125,000 people were forced from their homes and villages and left to survive in the jungle.
Human Rights Watch has published a 153-page report concerning the crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Rakhine Muslims in recent months: The report accuses Myanmar authorities of engaging in ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. According to a UN statement, the Rakhine Muslims are the most persecuted social group in the world.
Although the Myanmar regime seeks to give the impression it is not involved in acts of violence and terror, it still supports this genocide by turning a blind eye to attacks, preventing humanitarian aid from reaching Muslims, restricting their freedom to travel and live as human beings and is protecting the aggressors.
Furthermore, the policies and sanctions imposed on Muslims by the state are completely inhuman.
The Rohingya Muslims enjoy no citizenship rights and have no access to any state benefits. They cannot obtain passports and are not admitted to state hospitals. They are forced to work for nothing for the state or in private institutions. They have no rights to enter the civil service or even study beyond high school.
Muslims have to pay taxes simply to go from one village to another. They are not allowed out after 9:00 in the evening, even to visit relatives or neighbors, without police permission.
Muslims are not allowed to build concrete homes; they can only live in wooden huts and even these meager dwellings belong to the state. They are not allowed to have landlines or mobile phones nor can they own motor vehicles.
They have no right to a defense when a crime is committed, and are imprisoned straight away. The police or military can raid their homes on no grounds. They can be arrested arbitrarily for no reason.
The elimination of Muslims in Myanmar, ruled by a military junta between 1962 and 2011, has literally become a policy of state. Power passed to a supposedly democratic administration, still under the control of the communist military junta, in the wake of elections in which wide-ranging fraud took place. As a result, the same military junta is continuing with the same policy through a puppet government. The aim is to eliminate the Muslim population by annihilating it or forcing it into exile.
To date, the persecution of Muslims in Rakhine has been portrayed as an ethnic conflict attributed to fanatical Buddhists. The fact is however, as everyone knows, that because of their beliefs, Buddhists are simple, harmonious and peace-loving people who strongly avoid killing. It is gangs and terror organizations affiliated to the communist secret state that are now known to be the real culprits. The terror group known as "Lion Thein" used to be responsible for the bulk of the violence and killing, although the "969 Movement" has begun assuming responsibility for the recent wave of violence.
The members of these gangs generally consist of militants from Myanmar who have received communist guerrilla training in Thailand and China. The striking similarity to ethnic cleansing against Muslims in East Turkestan suggests that communist China – Myanmar's friend and ally – is likely also behind the scenes.
Myanmar, with its rich underground resources, oil reserves and energy sources, and an important staging position for Middle East oil and gas, is one of China's most valued strategic partners and it is perhaps not too much to say that the last thing the communist Chinese state would want is to see Muslims having any say in the country.
As long as so many countries sit back as always and watch the oppression, violence and slaughter inflicted on Muslims across the world, nothing will change in Rakhine. The picture that has remained unchanged for decades is a clear sign that until Muslims heed these verses and unite this pain will never end:
Those who are unbelievers are the friends and protectors of one another. If you do not act in this way there will be turmoil in the land and great corruption (Surat al-Anfal, 73)
And "those who, when they are wronged, defend themselves" (Surat ash-Shura, 39)
Those who are unwilling to see Muslims come together and act as a single body, or who regard it as unnecessary, or who remain passive and timid, will have to bear the conscientious responsibility for this suffering, pain and shedding of Muslim blood.
This article was published in Harakah Daily and The Burma Times:
A cry for help to the U.N. from Rohingya of Myanmar
Harakah Daily – 27 January 2014
Muslims constitute only three million of the population of 70 million of Myanmar, the largest country in the Indochina region in Southeast Asia. However, terrible savagery is being inflicted on Muslims. The main cause of this savagery is ethnic and religious discrimination.
The 800,000 Rohingya living in the country are not considered as citizens. These people are regarded as "illegal migrants" who had come in the past from the neighboring country of Bangladesh. On the other hand, the Bangladeshi regime does not admit Rohingya people living along the coastal strip on the border into the country.
Excluded by both countries, the Rohingya people are struggling to survive as "stateless persons" in the region. Since the two countries reject them, the Rohingya have no identity documents, and thus no citizenship rights. Since their presence cannot be proved, neither can their absence.
They are unable to benefit from education, social rights such as health and public services, are refused admittance to hospital and cannot work in public offices. Since they have no means to attain education, illiteracy levels stand at 80%. They are unable to obtain birth certificates for their children and have no permission to marry. They cannot own land or property. They have no right to build concrete houses and can only live in ones made of timber or bamboo, and these can easily be destroyed when attacked and at times of heavy rain.
It is a known fact that the Rohingya people, regarded as "illegal immigrants" in Myanmar since 1978, are subjected to a policy of oppression and persecution. These policies have been stepped up since June 2012. From that time on, 240 people have lost their lives, mainly Muslims living in the province of Rakhine, and more than 250,000 have been displaced.
Attacks against the Rohingya people have not ended. On January 14th 2014, the Myanmar Armed Forces, Police Forces (Hlun Hteins) and Rakhine terrorists carried out a savage and bloody attack on the Rohingya village of Du-Chira-Dan (Kilai-Daung). Eyewitnesses maintain that some 60 people were killed in the attacks, many innocent villagers were detained; women and girls were raped and that 200 women, six men and five children have gone missing. Human rights organizations reported that hundreds of people fled the region in terror in an attack on the village of Du Char Yar Tan, inherited by Rohingya Muslims. At present, 340 homes and a settlement area inhabited by 4,000 people have been totally evacuated. Authorities have declared the village to be a 'forbidden zone' and external observers, journalists and Rohingya people are banned from entering the village.
The events are alleged to have begun with the killing of eight Rohingya by Aung Zan Ohyu, the chief of Duchiradan village. The chief wished to conceal the crime since it had been witnessed by villagers thus he tried to put them under arrest and opened fire on them. They also raped one of the girls in the village. Tensions in the village rose because of these events, and one of the police officers on the scene was killed by villagers. Officials from the Maungdaw region, attached to Rakhine Province, ordered the security forces to open fire on the villagers. Eyewitnesses say that the officials subsequently tried to hide the bodies of the dead villagers. A report from January 22nd says that the Naypyidaw regime issued an "arrest warrant" for all male Rohingya over the age of 10. Concerns that this foreshadows a new wave of genocide against innocent people are growing.
However, this is not the first report of massacres of Rohingya. There are witness accounts of Rohingya being taken prisoner and used in human trafficking, being tortured to death in various ways, of bodies being taken out into the jungle in lorries and being cut into pieces and buried in pits, of women being raped and having their breasts cut off before they are killed.
The people of Rohingya are in a state of fear yet there is nothing they can do to protect themselves. They have no organization to shelter them and no citizenship or legal rights. They lack the slightest technological means by which to make their voices heard to the world.
The Myanmar government, on the other hand, denied all these reports when U.N. Human Rights Special rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana asked for an investigation into them, and said that no Rohingya people have died, apart from a police officer. Hla Maung Tin, Prime Minister of the Province of Rakhine, instead accused the world media of waging a "smear campaign." Of course, we must not forget here that since the Rohingya are not regarded as citizens, they have no identity documents; therefore, if they die or disappear there are no official records to prove their existence or otherwise. So if the allegations are true, witness statements and the presence of corpses are the main evidence that can confirm the incidents. It is reported, however, that officials have covered up the evidence of the slaughter as quickly as possible, for which reason the world is unaware of that evidence of the massacres.
Yes, the Muslim Rohingya people are in dire straits. The United Nations needs to go into action and the necessary steps need to be taken to guarantee all the rights to life of the Rohingya people if they are to be saved. If the events in the Maungdaw region are to be prevented from growing and if the truth of the slaughters is to be determined, it is a matter of the gravest urgency for an international investigation team to go in and conduct inquiries in the country before the evidence is all destroyed. After that, permanent measures need to be taken so the people removed from the embargoed village can return to their homes and a safe environment can be provided for them. The main steps needing to be taken are putting a halt to the torture, rapes, looting, illegal arrests and killings, investigations to be conducted into those involved in such illegal practices and the appropriate legal measures to be taken, and for the international media to be given the opportunity to examine the scene of the events.
After that, it is vitally important for a U.N. Peace Force to be sent to the Rakhine region in order to guarantee the safety of the Rohingya people. The most important step after that is for the U.N. to take the requisite steps for the granting of citizenship rights to the Rohingya people and for the protection of those rights. Contacts need to be established with the Myanmar government so that they can benefit from public rights such as education, health, drugs and treatment like all other citizens of the country and so they can enjoy all human rights.
Every person of good conscience of course has a responsibility to take the requisite steps for the protection of this innocent and defenseless people trapped between Myanmar and Bangladesh. There is no doubt that it is also of the greatest importance for the U.N., which has assumed the mission of protecting peace, security and basic human rights and freedoms to lead the way on this matter without further delay.
This article was published in Harakah Daily:
What if you were living in a refugee camp?
Kuwait Times - 3 February 2014
Have you ever thought of taking to the streets on a cold winter day with no possessions, money, food or even an ID card? Can you imagine having your children with you and having nothing to protect them or keep them warm with? Six million Syrians had never thought of that either, but today they have all had to abandon their homes. For these people who have become refugees, the real problem starts now; dispersed families and poor and unhealthy living conditions, thousands losing their lives on the roads.
Syria was one of the countries with the most refugee camps even before the civil war. Some of those in the very worst conditions in Syria, which hosts two million refugees in camps, are the Palestinians living there as refugees. The population of the Yarmouk refugee camp, initially set up for Palestinians fleeing Israel – Gaza war in 1957, reached 600,000 with increasing waves of migration. Although some people have left the camp as the civil war went on, it still has a large refugee population. Life in the camp - which regime forces targeted then placed under an embargo, refusing to allow food and medicines in - is becoming harder by the day. So much so that when people were forced for want of food to try and live on tree leaves last year, Syrian religious scholars issued a fatwa saying that "dog and cat meat can be eaten." That is by itself sufficient to show the conditions the people there are struggling. The refugees in the Yarmouk camp need urgent humanitarian assistance.
This is of course only one of the most urgent situations but the word "refugee" now represents the same difficulty for almost everyone. There is no improvement in the lives of all refugees, particularly in the Middle East, not just those forced to depart from Syria. Increasing numbers of people are being forced to abandon the places they live in every year. Some of these migrate within the country concerned, while the rest move to either neighboring or more distant lands. Afghan refugees, 95% of whom have sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran, represent the largest part of the world's refugees; one in every four refugees in the world is an Afghan. Afghanistan is followed by Somalia and Iraq. There are 450,000 UN-registered refugees in Lebanon. These refugees, living in 12 settlements under very harsh circumstances, are trying to survive in poverty. Their fundamental rights are denied them and they lack even symbolic political rights. In other words, these people are still living as refugees with no citizenship rights after 66 years. New generations are being born and growing up in refugee camps.
So how can this problem of refugees be solved? The first requirement for people forced to migrate because of troubles at home is the right to enter countries where they can be safe and can move around freely. In this way, they will not be forced to wait at border crossings after long journeys, and at least the first step in the journey will be made easier. There is an urgent need for a union of Muslim states, resembling the European Union, to be set up to resolve this problem and the growing refugee question in the Middle East. In this way, citizens of countries that enjoy free rights of movement into one another, like the EU, will have a way out when troubles arise and will be able to find a humanitarian corridor. Rights such as dual nationality and the right to work without visas will put an end to conditions that restrict refugees and prevent them from living under humane conditions and provide a solution that all people of good conscience can be comfortable with.
Even when we look at the implementation of a more humane phase by improving the lives of refugees, we still see the need for the Middle East to have its own union. In order for there to be a rapid solution to this emergency situation without lengthy political and bureaucratic procedures, everyone who espouses freedom and equality should call for such a union.
This article was published in Kuwait Times:
The crime against humanity in Yarmouk must be ended as a matter of urgency!
Islam Online – 27 February 2014
In the 21st Century, a time of advanced democracy when human rights are recognized across the world, people in Syria's refugee camps are facing death under the most terrible conditions. One of these camps, where there is such suffering and where some people have not eaten for months, is Yarmouk near Damascus. Human values in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp, which has been blockaded by forces loyal to Syrian regime for the last six months, are being brushed aside. The refugees under blockade in the camp are hungry and thirsty, reduced to mere skin and bone.
The Yarmouk camp was set up out of a desire to protect Palestinians in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war in 1957. Today, however, the purpose serves a diametrically opposed end. The camp is about to turn into a graveyard for the thousands of innocent Palestinians living there.
The global public has thus far remained silent in the face of nearly 100 people dying of starvation and poverty, and has literally turned a blind eye to what is going on. The Islamic world has utterly failed to react.
UNWRA aid teams affiliated to the U.N. managed to finally get aid to the region a few days ago, yet that was a very limited amount of assistance. One of the activists in the region says, "Many people are sick due to starvation in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp. Specialist doctors need to go in for these people. People in the camp are fighting both hunger and disease."1
According to reports published in The Independent newspaper, there is a humanitarian drama going on in the Yarmouk Camp, even involving children. The reports state that people in the region blockaded by regime forces are living on salt water, animal feed and leaves. One of the victims who spoke to The Independent, Kais Said, said he had not eaten for three days, and that "people have begun eating grass, dogs and cats," thus revealing the dimension of the tragedy.2
Humane living conditions have still not been achieved in the camp. People are brought down by hunger and disease. According to reports from various agencies the number of people living in the camp has fallen from 600,000 to 20,000 as of the beginning of 2014.3 Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to abandon their homes and flee.
According to other reports in the media, refugees have been forced by want and hunger to start eating things they would not normally consume. Since there is no fresh water, they drink salt water. They have had to start burning the furniture in their homes for warmth. This picture is a disgrace for the whole world.4
Amnesty International has issued a call to the Syrian government for humanitarian assistance to be brought in to people living under blockade in Damascus, including the Yarmouk Camp. A statement by the organization said that the Syrian government was preventing supplies from being brought in.5
Some Western countries are highly sensitive when it comes to human rights; many Western countries react very harshly when human rights and freedoms are restricted anywhere. Yet we see no noticeable efforts on their part when it comes to Yarmouk, which is in a far worse plight.
The Western public, which brings the whole world to its feet when there is a threat to the environment, that employs all the means at its disposal to save a beached whale or dolphin and that is most scrupulous when it comes to maintaining green spaces display an exemplary act of conscience. It is expected from them to behave far more sensitively when it comes to human life.
The Islamic world must also exhibit a spirit of unity for a solution to this problem and extend a helping hand to our needy brothers there. The Assad regime must be prevailed upon to lift the blockade as a matter of urgency. No Muslim can ever accept his brothers dying before his very eyes. Islamic countries need to behave punctiliously on this matter and pressure the Syrian regime to lift the blockade at once.
Russia is without doubt the state that most has the ear of the Syrian regime. It is essential for humanitarian aid to be got through to the refugees in Yarmouk and for the sick to be brought out to hospitals where they can be properly cared for; otherwise more people will die by the day. Russia must therefore use its influence with Syria and take steps that will be instrumental in liberating the innocent people there.
The problem of Yarmouk cannot be dismissed as a local one. No person of good conscience can accept innocent people having to live without electricity, water, food and medicines. When a natural disaster such as a flood or an earthquake happens anywhere in the world, all countries rush to get as much aid as they can to the victims. We have seen numerous examples of this in the past: Even countries with problematic relations extend the hand of friendship to one another under such circumstances so it goes without saying that people and states can behave in this manner when they so wish. Now is the time to exhibit another example of such assistance and solidarity.
When people, organizations and institutions and states raise their voices as one, the Assad regime will immediately step back, entirely lifting or loosening the blockade. The much-needed aid can then be got through to the people living there. We all have a duty to assume this responsibility to our fellow man and demonstrate the requisite sensitivity to bring this about.
This article was published in Islam Online:
Behind the persecution in Myanmar
Harakah Daily & The Burma Times
14-17 April 2014
Burma, which means "the center", was once home to a mighty Kingdom even well into the European Middle Ages, and centuries later it is, in a way, still the "center" of Asia with its breathtaking beauty and richness.
Myanmar boasts rich zinc, lead, gold and silver resources as well as impressive oil and natural gas reserves and precious stones.
Despite all these positive qualities, Burma or Myanmar as it is called today, is also one of the poorest countries in the world. Other countries largely control its natural wealth and domestic conflicts have only served to exacerbate its poverty. Myanmar lacks the technology or the means to process its resources independently. And more importantly domestic conflicts, lack of democracy and abuses of human rights are only making the situation worse.
The country has a very strategic position in the continent as it sits right in the middle of important Asian countries like China, India, Thailand, Bangladesh and Laos. That is why it is critical in terms of international trade. In the north of the country lie the southern hills of the Himalayas, and on the east the teak woods, while on the west and south the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.
It was a British colony until 1947 after which she lived under military rule for years. During this period, it was almost completely alienated from the rest of the world. While Asia was developing in leaps and bounds, Burma was swamped with domestic problems. The world's response to this was economic and diplomatic isolation and Burma was renamed Myanmar in 1989.
China, which has been searching for a way to the Indian Ocean and has been strengthening relations with Myanmar for a long time, has used the fact that the global community stays away from Myanmar to advance its own strategic interests. They rolled up their sleeves to build highways, railroads, harbors, and pipelines to connect South and West China to the Indian Ocean. However, China's motivation to invest in Myanmar was not only commercial; China also considers Myanmar as a country of vital importance to ensure its own safety and enhance China's regional power.
An important point to take into account is the energy agreements signed with China. China's energy deficit and sensitivity regarding its energy security is a known fact. In this sense, Myanmar is a country that China attaches importance to in terms of energy assurance. Myanmar's offshore natural gas sources and oil -even if low in quality- play an important part in China's policy of diversification of its energy sources.
A total of 1.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves and 2.1 billion cubic meters of oil reserves were detected in the territorial waters offshore from the harbor city of Kyaukpyu, 120 kilometers to the south of Sittwe (Akyab), the capital of Rakhine Province in Myanmar and China subsequently made major investments in both oil and natural gas projects in this area. In this region, two separate pipelines, which will ultimately transport 12 billion cubic meters of gas and 22 billion cubic meters of oil to China, were built. These pipelines are along the coast of Myanmar and 2.4 kilometers long, and in October 2013, they went online. These pipelines and the territory surrounding them were taken under the protection of the Myanmar government after being declared a military zone. Myanmar was to position 13,500 soldiers here and the villages where the pipelines passed through were to be evacuated and nationalized.
China-Myanmar natural gas and oil pipelines - which begin in the capital city Sittwe (where Muslims are a majority) and enter China from the province of Yunnan - are a very important factor in evaluating the Rakhine problem. This pipeline, which reaches China from the harbor near Kyauk Phru along the shores of the state of Rakhine, and also reaches India from Sittwe Harbor, not only carries Myanmar's energy resources to China but also will become a harbor where tankers traveling from the Middle East to China can offload with a planned deep sea port slated for construction at Sittwe. This is considered an alternative to China's dependence on the Malacca Straits and thus reliance on Singapore and Malaysia.
This strategic data illustrates the importance of the Rakhine region for China's energy security. Since the Rakhine Muslims are seen as having a potential to destabilize the region, they are also considered a threat to China's energy security; therefore from China's point of view, it is viewed as a positive development if they leave the country or are expelled from the region. Even though the policy of oppression going on in the region is a problem of post-colonial nationalism, when looked from this perspective, it can be seen that this latest crisis is actually more of an extension of regional power competition.
This is one of the most important reasons why Muslims in Rakhine are going through so much suffering; real geopolitical and economic interests play an important role in the steps taken by Myanmar. Behind the conflict in the region lie the interests of so-called Burmese Buddhists and the Chinese to secure more land as well as oil and gas investments respectively; thus, a harsh policy of oppression is being implemented to encourage the Rakhine Muslims to leave and evacuate the area and there is no interference with these ongoing attacks because of these reasons.
Most recently, the Myanmar government banned the activities of Doctors Without Borders, claiming that the group favored the Muslim minority. The truth is that the Muslim minority doesn't even have access to state health-care centers and without this humanitarian group, they will have no medical attention whatsoever, no matter how urgent the situation might be.
This is just one of the many examples of shocking human rights violations we hear of from the region.
So what could be the solution? In point of fact, the Muslim community, which lives in Rakhine Province, is not a threat either to the Buddhists of Myanmar or to China's energy security. The Rakhine Muslims are a mild and peaceful people; the only thing they want is to live safely in their own lands and to take advantage of citizenship rights like everyone else in Myanmar. The onus here falls on the government of Myanmar, a nation that harbors scores of different ethnic and religious groups in the same lands. The only proper thing to do is to ensure that rights and freedoms are given to everyone equally and to reassure the Rakhine Muslims of the same. When these democratic steps are taken, China, the Myanmar government and the Rakhine Muslims will all be comfortable. Trying to establish safety and solidarity in the region through oppression and coercion is difficult and morally unjustifiable, particularly when a far easier and more just way of doing so is a more effective and equitable solution.
This article was published in Harakah Daily & The Burma Times:
How does it feel to be a Rohingya?
The Burma Times – 15 April 2014
Since 2012, the Rohingya Muslims living in various parts of Myanmar in Southeastern Asia has been grabbing international headlines, with reports of people being hunted down and killed, villages being put to the torch, and refugees being stranded at sea after neighboring countries refused to let them in.
So what's going on in Myanmar?
The Rohingya Muslims are a minority in Myanmar that once ruled the region with a kingdom that lasted for 350 years. Later, the tide turned and the Rohingya became a minority in their own homeland. Today, they are known as the most persecuted people in the world, stateless and seemingly unwanted by anyone.
If you are a Rohingya you have two choices:
1) You can stay at home. But that means;
Being forced to live in dismal camps with no freedom to leave, frequent attacks by extremist mobs, which includes being burned to death, and your house being burned down. Also you will be denied citizenship rights and you cannot rely on the security forces, as what happened until now make it clear.
From 1942 to 1996, two million people were forced to flee their homes, 15,000 settlements were razed to ground, 300,000 people were slaughtered and 20,000 women were raped. 5,000 mosques were destroyed and in 2012, the attacks flared up with 330 villages burned down with their residents in them. Moreover, if you choose to stay, you cannot go to state hospitals, own a motor vehicle or even a telephone. If your house, which by the way can only be wooden, burns down by mistake, you will face up to six years in prison.
2) Migrate somewhere else. But go where?
Bangladesh, although itself a Muslim country, chooses to close its doors in the faces of these traumatized people crammed onto makeshift boats, leaves them stranded in the ocean and most of the time, those boats sink with everyone onboard. What are the other options?
Go to Thailand, and if they accept you (though unlikely), risk being captured by human traffickers and sold as slaves (Reuters recently uncovered a massive human trafficking scheme that involved Thai immigration officers.) However, most of the time Thailand doesn't accept these people and leaves them stranded at sea. There is even footage of people being handcuffed and pushed into the sea from behind by Thai officials. Malaysia graciously offers a home to these poor people, but it is a distant land to reach with such unreliable boats. The USA has recently offered shelter to some and although the act is highly laudable, the numbers are incredibly low and therefore far from being a real solution to the ordeal of the world's most persecuted people.
As hard as it is to believe, these painful incidents are happening as you read these words, or as you watch your favorite TV show. Most recently, Doctors Without Borders were banned from working in the country as they were accused of favoring the Rohingya; sadly, DwB were the only medical treatment the Rohingya Muslims could obtain.
Again, recently Du Chee Yar Tan village was the scene of fresh attacks by Myanmar security officials and radical Buddhists. The village was closed off, but five Muslim men snuck into the area to find the severed heads of at least 10 Rohingya in a water tank and some of those were children.
Extremist Buddhist groups on the other hand continue to spread hatred of Muslims, by traveling the countryside with motorbikes.
These are actual human beings and just because they are living in a remote part of the world, or simply because they are from a different religion, does not change the fact that these are innocent civilians. They are not statistics; they are someone's mother, father, husband, child, or wife. Yet, they face isolation and are left to deal with their pain alone.So what can be done to put an end to these horrible scenes?
First of all, the Myanmar government and the Buddhist majority must overcome their irrational fear of being taken over by Muslims. The abhorrent human rights violations of the Rohingya should be immediately stopped and they should be treated as human beings.
It is known that Buddhists are peaceful people by nature. A national campaign targeting both sides, appealing to their Islamic and Buddhist background, as both are based on principles of love and forgiveness, can help overcome the resentment. A country-wide intellectual campaign, educating people about the peaceful moral values of Muslims, how the true Islam preaches love and compassion for all, and how the different ethnical groups can harmoniously co-exist with examples from the past could help move on to a more peaceful stage for the country.
The UN, the EU and the USA and others keep issuing statements explaining how concerned they are with the situation, but it is obviously not enough. And more importantly, Muslim countries should put an end to their embarrassing silence and attitude of general indifference. Without further ado, they should come together, form an alliance and union of love, cooperation and peace to help and defend the rights of the oppressed, wherever or whoever they might be. No economic concern, material interest or past hostility can be more important than the opportunity to help people in need.
This article was published in The Burma Times:
One of the Dozens of Problems facing Yemen Is Immigration
National Yemen - 30 June 2014
Every year, thousands of people leave their homes and migrate to Yemen from other parts of Africa, or else abandon their homes, friends and relatives in Yemen and go to other countries. Some do this because of poverty while others out of fear for their lives. Whatever the reason, migration is one of the greatest problems facing Yemen. Whether it stems from domestic or external conditions, a solution needs to be found because uncontrolled migration can bring about significant problems.
In April of 2013, the Yemeni Department of Immigration (YDI) announced that the number of people who had left their homes because of conflicts and fled to different regions within the country had passed half a million. Set up in 2009 to provide migrants with food and housing assistance, the department said that migrants are now in much worse condition. Due to the World Food Program (WFP) stepping up its assistance for Syrian refugees, the amount of food aid reaching migrants within Yemen has fallen by half.
Another problem concerning migration for Yemen is the migration overseas of an educated work force seeking a better income. More than one million have emigrated for that reason. Although losing well-educated and qualified people is a problem for Yemen, it is also not without its benefits; Yemenis who migrate overseas contribute indirectly to the country's economy by the foreign remittances they send home to their families. These migrants may also take part in voluntary activities on behalf of Yemen in the countries they live in.
The number of those fleeing to neighboring countries due to conflicts or poverty is quite large. There are estimated to be 900,000 Yemeni migrants in the Middle East and various African countries and some 700,000 in Saudi Arabia.
When the civil war in Somalia broke out, some 60,000 Yemenis returned home, but that was not the sole source of migration to Yemen from Somalia. The instability in Somalia led to an explosion in the number of migrants from Yemen to Somalia. Various authorities now say there are 700,000 Somalis in Yemen.
Ethiopia is another source of migration to Yemen in East Africa. There are an estimated 10,000 Ethiopians in Yemen. However, it also needs to be said that these figures are not entirely reliable, since they are not confirmed by official bodies.
According to a U.N. report published in 2008, 50,000 migrants reached Yemen from Africa a year.
Migrants generally reach Yemen from East Africa by sea, under very difficult conditions, and usually fall into the hands of human traffickers. Most migrants, who give their last few pennies to the traffickers, are brought to Yemen in rickety boats. These boats are very frail and lack even the most basic amenities, and are of dubious seaworthiness.
In order to avoid being apprehended by the security forces, the traffickers prefer to drop the migrants off in remote areas rather than in harbors. Indeed, they sometimes throw them into the sea miles from shore, or else sink the boats. The boats that carry the migrants often deliver them to their deaths; many migrants drown at sea.
Reaching the Yemeni shore does not mean salvation for the migrants. Even if they are legally admitted to Yemen, they still have to live under very difficult conditions in the country, where unemployment is very high.
Somalis generally work for very low wages doing jobs that Yemenis are unwilling to do. A Somali migrant in Yemen earns an average of $50 a month. In addition to the hard work they do, migrants are generally despised.
Such behavior is totally unbecoming of a Muslim. In verse 83 of Surat al-Baqara, our infinitely merciful Lord commands us that in order to establish social peace, the poor should not be despised, but treated well.
No Muslim must forget that the Muslims of Medina embraced the Muslims who migrated there in the time of our Prophet (saas) with sincerity and love. Muslims must adopt them as role models.
The Islamic world now needs the solidarity personified by the spirit of brotherhood among the pilgrims and the Ansar. Feelings such as hatred and ruthlessness must be purged from people's hearts, and replaced by brotherhood, compassion, love, affection and positive thoughts.
Believers have a responsibility to treat other believers with enormous compassion and modesty; any other behavior is incompatible with the Qur'an. Arrogance, jealousy, intolerance, rude speech and quarrelsomeness are features of deniers, not of Muslims. Therefore, a believer who has fallen into such a disgraceful state because of his lower self must immediately pull himself together, seek shelter in God and behave like a true believer.
This article was published in National Yemen:
Refugees: Stopping the Madness
The Burma Times, Dhamir & Fair Observer - 1 September 2014
Widespread violence around the world has caused millions of people to suffer and live in poverty.
Muslim countries are rocked by war, hunger and poverty. The cries for help of people who live amid death, injury and destruction are heartbreaking.
In the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, thousands of homes were demolished and damaged in Gaza, while tens of hospitals and health centers were affected by the war. The United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) says that 300,000 Palestinians have sought shelter in UN schools. The number of injured exceeded 10,000. Gaza urgently needs assistance in food, health care and housing.
Palestinians live in difficult conditions, not just in Gaza, but also in refugee camps in neighboring countries. About 18,000 Palestinians are struggling to survive in Syria's Yarmouk camp, due to widespread hunger as a result of a year-long siege. It is impossible to forget the images of people who starved to death in Yarmouk.
Palestinians who fled the Arab-Israeli wars over the past six decades sought refuge in other countries, including Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Numerous diseases have spread inside camps due to unsanitary conditions. It is becoming harder to treat the injured. Almost 2 million people are internally displaced in Gaza and the West Bank. The total number of Palestinian refugees is nearly 5 million. This is approximately the same as the population of Palestine.6
In Iraq, Christians, Turkmen, Shiites and Yazidis fleeing attacks by the Islamic State now represent a new wave of refugees. Children are the worst affected by the harsh conditions.
Syrian refugees are also faced with a humanitarian catastrophe. According to the United Nations, over 191,000 people have been killed and several hundred thousand injured. In total, there are approximately 9.5 million internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugees — 6.5 million within Syria and 3 million in neighboring countries. It is totally unbecoming of any Muslim to turn a blind eye to these facts, be unwilling to assist and fail to help find long-lasting and deep-rooted solutions. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that because of climate conditions and high food prices, 33 countries, 26 of which are in Africa, require external food aid. According to the FAO, 870,000 people are in need of food aid in Somalia, 3.5 million in South Sudan and 5 million in Sudan.7
The problems in Muslim lands are by no means limited to Syria and Palestine. Many Muslims, including Uighur Turks, Iraqis, Afghans, people from Rakhine, Somalis and Sudanese, are looking to people of good conscience for help. UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator for South Sudan Toby Lanzer states that the situation in South Sudan is as dangerous as that in Syria. Are we really unable to provide enough aid for people who are suffering?
Professor Per Pinstrup-Andersen, a leading figure in the FAO campaign against food wastage, states that 100 million tons of food is thrown away in Europe every year. According to the most optimistic FAO estimates, one-third of the food produced for human consumption in the world is either past its sell-by-date before it can be eaten or simply thrown away.
In conclusion, the data shows that there is enough food resources to feed all of the 7 billion people in the world. In that case, the most pressing matter is to get these resources to areas where they are most needed, and then to establish systems to ensure that nobody in the world goes hungry.
Food is only one aspect of waste. The greatest waste is the amount of money spent on weapons made for fighting and the bombs built to devastate cities. Since love is imprisoned in the world today, countries are arming themselves in an insane frenzy; hatred results in destruction and more suffering. When waste of all manner is prevented, and when mechanisms of distribution are set up for God's sake, these problems will be eradicated.
The real sickness in the world is lovelessness. There is a profound lack of love behind hatred and conflict. It is lovelessness that underlies disagreements and violence between different communities on the basis of race, sect or belief. The world is now waiting for people of love to govern, bring justice and put an end to the bloodshed.
This article was published in Fair Observer, The Burma Times and Dhamir:
The safety of our Syrian refugee brothers is entrusted to the hospitable Turkish people
Voix Magazine – 15 September 2014
According to the United Nations, there are some 50 million refugees in the world. Muslims constitute a large portion of these refugees; a full one-third of the Palestinian people are refugees. There are large numbers of Iraqis following the American intervention, Muslims from Rakhine who had to abandon their homes due to oppression in Burma, some two million Afghans, Kashmiris, Somalis, in short there are millions of refugees and Syrians have been added to these in recent years.
The civil war in Syria has entered its fourth year. The number of people forced to migrate because of the ongoing civil war has reached into the millions. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the migration in Syria is the largest observed since the foundation of the organization. Half of the Syrian population, which stood at 22 million before the civil war, has had to migrate to other countries. Seventy-five percent of those Syrians living as refugees are women and children. The great majority of Syrians are internally displaced within Syria itself while 97% of the 2.5 million fleeing Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Among those neighboring countries, Turkey is the one receiving the highest number of immigrants.
This is the first time in Turkish history there has been such wide-scale migration; 1.2 million refugees entered the country in the last three years. Some 250,000 of the Syrian refugees in Turkey are living in camps, and the rest are in various cities. That number is expected to reach 1.4 million by the end of 2014.
Looking back in time, we see that Turkish territory has embraced refugees for hundreds of years. Russians fleeing the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, Jews fleeing Nazi persecution, Armenians, Iranians in the wake of the 1979 Revolution, Afghans, and Iraqis fleeing Saddam have all sought shelter in Turkey. The conscience, compassion and hospitality of the Turkish people have always kept the country's doors opened to the wronged and stranded. Even in times of the worst economic suffering, this fine virtue of the country has remained unchanged.
The hospitality of our country has also been confirmed in the international arena. The refugee camps in Turkey were described as "perfect" by the New York Times. Every official visiting the camps has expressed great appreciation. As material and logistic support to the camps continues, better-off refugees are settling in cities. It has been reported that the number of Syrian immigrants in Istanbul alone has reached 67,000. However, there are also those not so well-off and living in poverty in the big cities. Those living in tent cities are facing difficulties like being colder in winter and hotter in summer. They are facing problems regarding security and infrastructure, food and water difficulties, problems with cleanliness and hygiene. State authorities have announced that measures will be taken accordingly in line with Turkey's means.
However, some troubling voices have recently begun being heard regarding our Syrian brothers and guests. Some people who think of our relations with these brothers solely in terms of politics or the national economy, hiding behind such concepts as "conjunctures, geopolitics and realpolitik", are issuing disturbing statements about their being sent back to their own country. In truth, such statements are totally incompatible with the Turkish people's traditional sense of hospitality, good conscience and compassion.
On the basis of these alarming reactions that seem to be emanating from a cover, ruthless and selfish community, those who say that "The doors to refugees must be closed and the refugees must be sent back home," because they regard the refugees in the country as a burden, or because they fear they will damage the country's demographics, should put themselves in these people's position for one moment. Remember that many of these people had jobs, cars, homes and resources of one kind or another; yet the oppression in Syria became so terrible that they had to flee to a neighboring country in fear of their lives. They preferred being refugees to being bombed, raped or beaten to death with truncheons. They sought refuge in our lands to protect their families, without thinking about their lives they worked so hard to build over the years. Do not forget! Nobody abandons his country, home and family to live in poverty on the streets of a country he does not know, not unless he is in the most dire need. It is therefore a violation of good conscience and shameful to slam doors shut in the faces of people fleeing death, or to supinely wait for U.N. approval before letting them in or to demand sending them back.
The Turkish people will never accept such ruthlessness by saying "Great, now we can keep everything to ourselves" after closing the door on those fleeing for their lives. Those who say, "Let us not admit any more refugees, and send them all back" need to make what it is they are proposing clear. Will these people have food to eat in the place they return to? Will they have a place to stay? Most important of all, are there places ready for them to live in safety? Or do they simply want to send them back to a hell on earth? Have they found a solution for their problems or are they simply being heartless? First of all, those calling for repatriation of our Syrian brothers must give the Turkish people the answers to these questions; otherwise, those who send them back will be responsible for their deaths. Telling a refugee to "go back home" means nothing less to hand him over to murderers and say, "Here you go, kill him at your earliest convenience." If that happens, those who say "let us send them back" will have blood on their hands. No pretext can justify handing someone over to a murderer; that is an indescribable hollowness of the soul.
It is even worse if that mindset is present among people in charge of running the country. Someone who does not have mercy for others in difficulty will not have mercy toward his own people, either. Someone who does not protect the innocent in times of need will not protect his own people. A spirit without compassion is the same everywhere, regardless of the circumstances.
No matter what their numbers are, the Syrian refugees are the brothers and sisters of Turkish people. They become our citizens the moment they seek refuge here and we have a duty to protect them. We will happily undergo difficulties for that purpose. We will not hand people over to killers, because we are their protectors. We do not forget that the guests of God bring goodness with them. Therefore, those loveless and ruthless voices raised against the refugees will find no support in our country. On the contrary, they will spur the conscience of the Turkish people and strengthen their hospitality. Throughout history, Turkey has shown great care and love to the refugees, no matter what their religion, ethnicity or race. Our Syrian brothers need not be alarmed; a mindset that would compromise that system and send them back into a charnel house has no place in this country.
The Turkish people will continue to keep their doors open to our wronged brothers, and will continue to take care of them and protect them. However, it is also very important for Turkey not to be left to do everything alone in this matter. The best thing to do would be for Muslim states to form a union like the European Union, in which the citizens of the member countries will be bestowed the right to move freely within the union, just as the citizens of the EU do at home. People will thus have a way out and a humane safe corridor in times of such difficulties. Rights such as dual nationality and the right to work without visas can be granted in times of need, and obstacles restricting refugees and preventing them from living under humane conditions will thus be eliminated. Let us not forget; it is not industry, great wealth or ethnocentric attitudes that bestow well-being on a country, but rather, a nation's human decency that is the true measure of a country's greatness.
This article was published in Voix Magazine:
Buffer Zone: A Safe Haven for the Syrians
Arabian Gazette - 2 October 2014
Wars are not solely military phenomena; they involve civilians, women, children and the elderly, raze cities and destroy the infrastructure of countries. The worst evil is that people treat one another with lovelessness and hatred. In the absence of love – the food of life – only destructive violence and suffering prevail. The civil war in Syria that began in March 2011 continues to cost thousands of lives and create devastated 'dead' cities.
As the jets of the regime destroy whole towns with barrel bombs, various opposition groups are fighting among themselves for territorial advantage. To that has now been added the bombs of an international coalition initiated to destroy ISIL.
More than three million buildings in Syria have been destroyed and more than 200,000 people have been killed, 160,000 of them civilians. At least 6,000 people have been shown to be tortured, while increasing hunger, thirst and poor health conditions are worsening living conditions. Bearing in mind that 18,000 of the civilians killed were children, and 16,000 were women, we can obtain a better picture of the scale of the horror in the country. Some 10 million innocent Syrians have abandoned their homes in a bid to escape the slaughter; around four million of these have had to seek safety as refugees in other countries.
Turkey has begun playing host to some 1.5 million refugees by opening its 911-km long border with Syria. Turkey has built 24 tent cities for these people, each one the size of a municipal district, spending $3.5 billion in the process. The number of refugees is expected to reach two million by the end of the year.
One hundred seventy thousand Syrians only recently fled from Syria to escape attacks by ISIL and took refuge in Turkey in a very short time. Indeed, 138,000 of our brothers came in an intense wave to our country in just three days: That figure is equivalent to the number of refugees accepted by Europe in three and half years. It would be unacceptable to keep two million people fleeing from Syria for their lives waiting at the border because death is nipping at their heels. It is also very difficult to check the people coming when the border is in such turmoil. If the arrivals include internationally wanted terror suspects then there is no means of detecting them. If the people entering wish to return to Syria, it is very hard to establish why people want to go back to their country. The existing insecure border therefore results not only in slaughter, but also in a spiral of violence that threatens the whole world.
People fleeing war, conflict and death need a region where they can be safe. The most correct international decision in the name of humanity is the establishment of a 'secure zone' along Syria's border with Turkey. The most urgent need is to establish an area where people fleeing the Assad regime, ISIL, the PKK and all other gangs can all live in safety along with the local inhabitants. A buffer zone established via a U.N. decision will represent a place where millions can leave in peace and security. People will see that love has not departed the world, and that love overcomes hatred. This will be a decision that satisfies the entire world.
U.S. Chief of Staff Dempsey says that a buffer zone might be a possibility at some point, but it is not a part of the present campaign. Following his visit to the Turkish-Syrian border, Adam Kinzinger, a member of the US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee and a Republican Party Congressman, expressed the need for a 'no-fly zone' due to humanitarian reasons. Actually this is the rational and pressing step to take. Now is the time to show the Syrians our love and affection, and to show the wicked that the world is not alone.
This article was published in Arabian Gazette:
A secure zone must be established at once on the Turkish-Syrian border
News Rescue – 14 October 2014
The Syrian Civil War is one of those events with the highest numbers of people forced out of their homes since the Second World War. Syria, in which according to UN figures, some 200,000 people have died, tens of thousands have been tortured in the prisons of the Ba'ath regime and millions more have been injured, has literally become a ghost country. It is known that some seven million people have had to leave their homes. Some of these have relocated within Syria, while a great many have fled to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The scale of the human tragedy in Syria is terrifying. Ever since the first day of the fighting, we have been speaking of the need for a secure zone for civilians and a no-fly zone. The current position makes establishing a secure zone a matter of the ultimate urgency. A secure no-fly zone must be established without any further delay, and the Syrian people must be given the means to live in peace.
1. A Secure Zone is not a military operation. It is a strategy with entirely civilian ends that aims the protection of women, children and the elderly.
It means protecting those who cannot protect themselves. It means offering people who have left behind their homes, jobs and schools the opportunity to rebuild their lives, instead of suffering for long years under primitive conditions. It is the responsibility of the entire world to procure a safe place to live in peace for people who have suffered for three years and for those whose homes have been burned and whose places of worship have been destroyed. If the world is unable to provide a place of refuge for these homeless, hungry and suffering people, that means there has been a collapse in the collective conscience of mankind. People who fail to follow the path of good conscience may one day, may God forbid, find themselves expecting others to follow that path as well. All bureaucratic obstacles must therefore be done away with and a security zone be established at once.
2. A Secure Zone will mean refuge and protection for the Kurds.
Reports of Turkey assisting ISIL and abandoning the Kurds under difficult circumstances do not reflect the truth. First of all, Turkey's concept of Islam is totally incompatible with ISIL, and Turkey is absolutely against all kind of violence and it is in fact the antidote to radical terror. One of the main aims of the black propaganda carried out by the PKK and its sympathizers is to ensure moral and material support of America and the West for the PKK. Yet it is Turkey that is the protector of the Kurdish people, not the PKK. During ISIL's attack on Kobani, the PKK fled, leaving Kurdish mothers, children and old people behind, while the Syrian Kurds found safety in Turkey. The PKK that fought with unconventional war tactics up in the mountains grew strong only by shooting Turkish soldiers in the back. Down on the plains, however, it suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of ISIL, which used the same unconventional warfare tactics. The myth of 'heroic Kurdish guerrillas against ISIL' thus also came to an end. If the USA and the West want to protect the Kurds, they need to support Turkey, not the Leninist, Stalinist PKK who wants to build a new North Korea in the region. Establishment of a secure zone will represent a guarantee for the Kurds, especially those living in Kobani.
3. A Secure Zone is not a policy of occupation.
Turkey has never adopted an aggressive policy toward its neighbors. The Turkish Army is known for its mercy and compassion. It has never taken any step that is in conflict with justice and law towards neighboring countries, despite the fact that they nourished the terror organization who pointed guns at it. When a secure zone is established, the Turkish Army will naturally be its protective force. Turkish troops, who have proved their compassion and notions of service in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Somalia, will also represent the finest means on the Turkish-Syrian border for people taking shelter in it by fleeing for their lives.
4. The whole world has a responsibility to establish a secure zone in which people fleeing from Syria can live.
The number of refugees accepted by all EU countries put together in 2013 entered Turkey in one day just last week. The number of our guests coming to Turkey solely from Kobani has exceeded 130,000. The total number of Syrian refugees admitted by Turkey is estimated in the region of two million. The money spent on these Syrian refugees has exceeded seven billion Turkish liras. That is more than the total budgets of many ministries in Turkey. We, as the Turkish nation, are delighted to host our neighbors as they flee from suffering. However, the fact that this is an international problem must not be ignored.
When it comes to human life, peace and security, it is unacceptable to waste even a single minute. The building of a secure zone must not be delayed any further by meaningless arguments and artificial bureaucratic obstacles. The protection of innocent Syrians is a humane responsibility, one which the whole world must assume without any further delay.
This article was published in News Rescue:
The conundrum of Libya's refugees and migrants
Voix Magazine - 27 October 2014
Just assume you are in your home; suddenly, due to the violence and hatred instilled in people based on the worldly greed of power, conflicts arise within the community that lead to mass murder and a massacre of the innocent. In fact, this is what we see in many parts of the world, particularly in Syria, Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, Libya and elsewhere. This ruthlessness aims at destroying people by targeting innocent women, men and children.
So, when that persecution comes at your door, the only solution is flight from that insecurity to save your lives. You would take whoever could come with you having hopes for finding a secure shelter for your loved ones. Yes, in those circumstances, you would become a refugee or an internally displaced person, and this would not be an arbitrary decision, but the only way out of a dire situation that would only bring death and misery.
And this is what we see in Libya; thousands of refugees and migrants have fled from their homeland and crossed the borders of the country to look for a better life with hopes for safety, income and a future. These are refugees from Eritrea, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan and Syria, and since 2011 there are an increasing number of people who have sought protection in Libya; some of them have special needs as they have encountered savagery in their countries and had to leave behind their families and all their belongings. As of April 2014, a total of 9,240 refugees and 26,298 asylum seekers were registered with the UNHCR in Libya and still, a significant number of migrants continue to enter the country using irregular channels. Yet they are in a conundrum right now as the violence in the country is escalating.
In the past months, due to clashes which have disrupted social integrity and security, most diplomats as well as foreign workers in Libya have evacuated the country through assistance from their governments or employers. But there are tens of thousands of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers in Libya who are in the hands of people smugglers that promise them a route for escape in return of at least $1,000.
Migrants are moved across Libya's Sahara Desert by gangs and at the coast they are handed over to agents who find them boats from smugglers. Even during the time of Gaddafi, Libya was already a hub for the human trafficking trade. For asylum seekers who flee persecution in their countries, Libya is like a point of departure with hopes to cross the Mediterranean to reach southern Italy and from there, safe passage to other cities in Europe. The number of boats now departing Libya for Europe has increased from about five a day prior to the current conflict to 15 a day. Now, thousands of people – mainly sub-Saharan Africans – are trying to escape war in their adopted homeland Libya by getting on overcrowded and leaking boats. Many of the passengers perish during the journey, and over 1,000 people have died in the Mediterranean this year alone. Others arrive exhausted from the high seas journey and according to estimates, one out of ten people die during the sea journey from Libya. Those migrants and asylum seekers who have to remain in Libya because they cannot afford to pay smugglers to get them on boats are vulnerable to the threat of violence, kidnapping and arrest. These are the tens of thousands of migrant construction workers, service staff, care-givers and employees that have found no means of escape and stay in Libya despite the bloody conflict. Even though some make their choice to stay and work, others are willing to leave but they receive no assistance from their consulates or support from their employers. Migrant workers have also been part of the ongoing conflict and have been subjected to kidnappings, physical and sexual violence. They are not only at risk of grave security threats, but they can also find no way out of the conflict zone or passage to a safe shelter. Almost 37,000 migrants are registered with the UNHCR's offices in Tripoli and Benghazi, and they are living in badly destroyed areas but are unable to leave to safer areas due to the ongoing clashes.
Internally displaced persons is another concern in Libya as 550,000 people were displaced during the revolution: Even if the large majority have been able to return to their homes, some 59,425 people still face a situation of displacement waiting for their homes to be repaired or rebuilt. They are kept in detention centers in extremely poor conditions that are overcrowded; food and medical assistance are inadequate, and there is serious lack of sanitation. There are political reasons for their displacement, since many were forced to desert their towns and villages because of their perceived support for Gaddafi and alleged crimes committed during the conflict; different armed groups hold them as prisoners and subject them to ill treatment and exploitation for labor.
Another issue standing in the face of the internally displaced persons and migrants is discrimination even if many of them have lived in Libya for several years and established homes; their situation is similar to the refugees. Owing to their settlement and ties, they would like to remain in Libya, but they face increased risk to their personal and family security in an atmosphere of fear. At the end of the day, refugees and migrants live in very difficult or dire situations throughout Libya, persecuted either by armed militias or criminal gangs and smugglers.
Hence, there is an urgent requirement for law and order to be established in the country as different groups are committing a wide variety of crimes in Libya, but these are not being investigated or prosecuted properly because of a lack of a stable judiciary system. The Libyan people should take the major role of acting in unison to establish peace in order to overcome this and the many other crises currently afflicting their country. Libya will not return to any semblance of stability until unity is achieved first.
This article was published in Voix Magazine:
Drowning migrants is a blot on humanity
Arab News & The Burma Times
7 November 2014
This week a terrible tragedy shook Istanbul and brought an important question once again to the fore, perhaps with a much greater intensity. A cover overloaded boat carrying 46 migrants sank off Istanbul. Only six people could be rescued. They were all Afghan nationals mainly women and children, set out in search of a safe haven away from the violence that has wreaked havoc on the poverty-stricken country.
It was only last month that Great Britain left many shocked when the Minister of State with Responsibility for the Commonwealth Office, Joyce Anelay, announced that Britain would no longer be taking part in the European Union's search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean on the grounds that they "create an involuntary attraction factor." Anelay explained that every migrant who is rescued would attract others to follow suit. So if they are abandoned helpless in the sea, others will not be encouraged to set out and the arrival of migrants will thus be prevented.
This shocking justification is actually just an excuse given by EU countries to avoid receiving more migrants or people seeking refuge in those countries. However, migrants reaching Italy and Greece from North Africa in particular, or Bulgaria from the Middle East, can easily make use of the right to free movement within the EU. Following a tragic accident in October 2013 in which 500 people lost their lives, Italy set up a rescue operation called Mare Nostrum, which rescued more than 150,000 people in one year. The average daily number of people rescued by Italy from that operation was 400.
Italy, however, citing financial constraints halted the Mare Nostrum rescue operation as of Nov. 1. The new operation to be set up to replace it within the borders of the EU is Triton, with a budget just one-third the size of Mare Nostrum. It would be a mistake to regard Triton as a rescue operation, as it merely provides protection up to 60 miles from the EU coastline, using maritime police. No interest will be taken in migrant boats approaching that border in difficulties.
Commenting on the UK's decision, the British writer, Robin Lustig, said: "No, we won't help to fund an operation that rescues drowning migrants, because it might encourage others to embark on equally perilous journeys. As in: No, I won't rescue a child running across a busy road, because it might encourage other children to do the same." Lustig then goes on to add, "I understand why politicians need to win votes - but by deliberately letting people die? I'm not easily shocked - but I do find that truly shocking."8
As a matter of fact, there are many other equally shocking measures in place with regard to the migrants. People who rescue those on sinking migrant vessels are regarded as criminals in many EU countries. Italian fishermen who rescued migrants have been put on trial in recent years and their boats confiscated. Those welcoming these people into their homes or renting property to them have also found themselves guilty of offenses.9
No individual with good conscience can obstruct the rescue of a migrant, no matter what the sanctions. One example of the terrible consequence of these measures occurred during the initial days of the Arab Spring. A boat ran out of fuel and drifted for 16 days on the Mediterranean, and although many ships in the region saw it and were aware of the situation, they just looked on. Even NATO helicopters aware of the situation failed to assist. Seventy-two migrants starved to death before the eyes of the world in that incident as the world just sat back and watched.
The weakening of conscience in the EU countries on this issue needs to be especially emphasized. The subject of discussion is not, of course, the fine people of Europe, but a political mentality that regards financial and racial interests as all-important. It is precisely because of such attitudes that national governments become apathetic and soulless capable of abandoning people to die out in the sea.
There is no difference between abandoning someone to drown and willfully stabbing a person. If someone who takes a life is a murderer, then so is a person who abandons another to die. The price of heeding our conscience may sometimes be very high. One may end up being injured in attempting to rescue someone else, or lose out financially or end up facing huge legal difficulties. Yet heeding the conscience means being prepared to risk all that. The peace and joy that comes from doing the right thing cannot be compared to anything else.
Countries have fallen in the grip of a style of politics infused with anger and considerations of realpolitik. Some politicians may have been misled into losing their moral sensibilities. It is easy to devise laws based on calculations of self-interest in air-conditioned rooms with no knowledge of the difficulties being faced by others. It becomes difficult to grasp as to why people flee their countries under extremely difficult conditions. Yet nobody would leave his country packed into a tiny boat, knowingly facing the risk of death, unless he genuinely feared death or faced the threat of war or starvation. They would not sell everything and give the money to some human traffickers. The reason why these people risk their lives to flee is not because of the excellent benefits provided by Great Britain and the EU. These people merely wish to live as human beings, free from dangers.
The real question is: What kind of logic and conscience do people, who abandon others to die in the dark realms of the sea, possess? How could they sleep at night knowing they have been instrumental in another person's death, in other words they have participated in killing them?
Although they try to ease their consciences by blaming human traffickers, it is unbecoming of EU countries to become part of a tragedy in which more than 3,400 people died just last year. An ethical Europe can only remain ethical if it does not regard those migrants on those boats as African, Middle Eastern, poor or wretched but as "human beings." Europe can only be regenerated through altruism, not selfishness. Great Britain in particular must immediately withdraw this shocking decision about migrants being abandoned to die. It should not be forgotten that once atrophy of conscience has trickled down from the administration to the people, difficulties, degeneration and tragedies are inevitable. Europe should avoid creation of an infrastructure that will open the door to such disasters.
This article was published in Arab News and The Burma Times:
Are the boat people a burden for Thailand?
The Malaysian Insider & The Burma Times
30 November 2014
Recently ten thousand Rohingya Muslims, a stateless and plagued ethic minority, fleeing from Myanmar on illegal boats en route to Thailand, did not reach their destination. At the same time about 4,000 Bangladeshi and Rohingya people heading for Malaysia left Bangladesh across the Bay of Bengal, but only 460 people arrived, raising concerns over the whereabouts of the rest, which are still unknown.
A similar event took place in 2008 when many such boats went missing in the sea. Later, a few hundred Rohingya people were found starved and dehydrated in Indonesian and Indian territorial waters while others were lost at sea.
An unwilling home
Thailand, the country that so many immigrants hopefully aim to reach and start new lives, is not welcoming the boat people, who live under very harsh conditions in their own countries and venture the risk of losing their lives at the sea.
Thailand has so far been an unwilling home to some 13,000 asylum seekers and 82,000 registered refugees (as of June 2013). It is one of 20 countries in the Asia Pacific region that shelter a great number of refugees.
Thailand is the world's third-largest exporter of seafood and the country is the second largest economy in the Southeast Asia according to ASEAN figures. Despite the country's economic well-being, Thai authorities are pushing the people coming by boats back to the sea. Recently, the Thai military government announced that it will send 100,000 refugees living in camps for many years in Thailand back to the country they came from. Thailand claims to have the right to block the boats.
Thailand may be facing many challenges regarding the great flow of refugees. However, sending the immigrants back to the sea literally means signing their death sentences and being accomplice in murdering them. In the words of Colonel Banpot Phupian, a spokesman for the military's Internal Security Operations, "Taking care of them is a burden for Thailand and we have to use a lot of money to look after them."10
These words come from the dark and cold heart of Asia, a continent that has largely been under the influence of military traditions and communist China. Though an ally of the US, Thailand is one of the countries that is most influenced by China in terms of the economy, military and politics and the words of Colonel Phupian indeed confirm this.
Another Police Colonel, Sanya Prakobphol, added, "If they come in then we must push them back ... once they have crossed the sea border into Myanmar then that's considered pushing them back. What they do next is their problem."11
Endangered lives on one hand, profit on the other
While the Thai junta is either deporting refugees or leaving them at sea, the human-smuggling in the country is a growing business. It is so profitable a job that fisherman are converting their boats in order to carry as many boat people as possible.
Moreover, human-trafficking gangs hold thousands of boat people in jungle camps until their relatives pay a ransom to secure their release. Thailand is known as one of the worst human-trafficking centres of the world.
The recent military coup and the imposition of martial law have intensified concerns over lack of rule of law in the country. Yet while the Hollywood film 'Hunger Games' keeps being an inspiration to Thai youth with the three-finger salute becoming the anti-coup symbol in the country, Thailand's martial law remains indefinitely intact.
In our world, where terror sweeps through countries leaving only destruction and death behind it, wronged people find no other way but to seek shelter in many countries. In democratic countries, all people have the right to escape persecution. Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."
Hence, boat people are not illegal immigrants and seeking asylum is most certainly permissible by international law. However, Thailand has not signed the Refugee Convention and has no domestic legislation regarding refugees. This gives the current military government space to act on its own, without any regard to international law or communities.
Exploited and vulnerable
Right now over 120,000 Myanmar refugees who have fled from persecution and ethnic violence are living in the ten camps allocated to them on the Thailand-Myanmar border. According to Thai law, undocumented refugees found outside of the camps are subject to arrest and deportation and refugees have no legal right to make an income; they are also at constant risk of arrest and detention. These vulnerable people often encounter harassment and discrimination. For them, human rights abuses are almost no different in Thailand than in Myanmar. They are even sold for a couple of dollars to work as slaves on fishing boats.
Refugees throughout the world
On the other hand, with the onset of the Syrian Civil War, the number of Syrian refugees has surpassed the number of refugees of other nationalities and reached a climax (over three million as of November 2014). In Central Africa some 485,000 people have been displaced within the country and over 421,000 people have fled so far. Hence, as the world's attention and resources are focused mainly on Syria and Central Africa, something frequently mentioned in the media, much more needs to be done regarding the issue of refugees on the whole.
Perhaps the problem of refugees will never go away. But Thailand, a country with a comparatively better prosperity in the Asian Pacific region, is the hope of many who live under persecution, and it certainly has to find a way of keeping these people within its borders until the international community or countries with higher GDP hear the voices of these people.
This would be a very positive step in the eyes of the world since respecting universal human rights would represent good progress towards democracy and Thailand surely needs that. Otherwise, the dark and cold aspect of Asia will surround it leaving it with China as its only ally.
Besides, the world needs to pay more attention to the stories of refugees and assist the countries that host them. Camps are no place to live for families and children; they should only be used for temporary purposes. There are about 375,000 migrant children in Thailand and the country holds thousands of them in detention, causing them physical and emotional damage, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
Nevertheless Thailand should not be immersed in the communist, artificial, loveless swirl of Asia. It should respect human rights and protect those in need. This is the prerequisite of being a decent human being.
This article was published in The Malaysian Insider and The Burma Times:
Deafening silence over Rohingya issue
Arab News, Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) & The Burma Times
29 November 2014 – 1 December 2014
Despite the atrocities being committed against the Muslims of Rakhine, better known as Rohingyas, the international community has so far done nothing to protect these people. The world appears to be sitting on the fence, as these people are being systematically persecuted.
This minority Muslim community in Myanmar — termed the most persecuted people living on the face of the earth — has been turned into refugees in their own country. The Rohingyas are a people with no civil rights and from time to time subjected to indiscriminate violence. The world became slightly acquainted with these people following the violent attacks and acts of arson of 2012.
Last month, the government of Myanmar submitted a plan to the United Nations appeared to be aimed at restoring peace, ensuring justice and creating communal harmony. Several countries welcomed and approved the plan thinking that Myanmar was ready to roll back its policy of discrimination against the Muslim minority.
So, what's the plan? The Rohingya Muslims have been given two options. The first one is that they should obtain the citizenship of neighboring Bangladesh in the first phase. Then only they would be eligible for the citizenship of Myanmar provided they are in possession of various documents as required under the country's 1982 citizenship law. In the event of refusal to accept this option, the Rohingyas will have only one option left i.e. to live in camps as detainees under horrendous condition and finally face expulsion from the country of their ancestors.
The first option appeared to have a silver lining making it possible for the Rohingya Muslims to obtain Myanmar nationality. However, that is not the case. The real purpose is to officially declare these Rohingyas migrants, who have already lost all their rights under the 1982 law.
We know that a great many Rohingyas who enjoy alien status in their own lands will be unable to provide the documentation concerning their histories required in order to assume Myanmar citizenship again. All documentation about these people's pasts, together with everything else they owned, was destroyed in the horrifying uprisings that targeted the Rohingyas in 2012. Therefore, those who cannot provide those documents will be stuck as Bangladeshi citizens in their own country, with migrant status, in other words. The Myanmar government will soon send these people to camps on the pretext that they are "aliens," or else will expel them from the country. These people will also not be recognized by Bangladesh because they were not born there. This law is not binding on Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, those who refuse to obtain Bangladeshi citizenship will be taken from towns and villages where they live and sent to refugee camps as detainees. Under the new plan, these people will be swiftly expelled from the country, and the Myanmar government may apply to the UN to send these people overseas as refugees. The problem is that the UN does not recognize these oppressed people as refugees. Under the plan, one million Rohingyas will face that terrible end.
Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch, says:
This plan is profoundly troubling because it would strip the Rohingya of their rights, systematically lock them down in closed camps in what amounts to arbitrary, indefinite detention.12
The world's superpowers and member countries of ASEAN are known to have imposed no sanctions on the Myanmar government and to merely watch matters from afar because of the energy corridors that pass through Myanmar and out of concern that this might harm their commercial relations. It is true that crimes against humanity are being perpetrated across a wide area and in the most barbaric manner. Yet this silence concerning the Rohingya Muslims, one of the subjects that the countries of the world could easily take measures over and resolve, is inexplicable. The possibility of the deceptive appearance of this proposal by the Myanmar government convincing some countries and the UN will make the situation even more horrifying.
There is a reason why violence, anger and war are spreading in this time when realpolitik has superseded humanity, when politics is perceived as oppression and when countries ally themselves around self-interest rather than love. The reason is that people and countries do not regard love as a solution. The people of a country have for years been living under persecution and facing genocide before the eyes of the world, and the world knows this, but still says nothing. This means the problem is one of conscience, not evidence.
The human drama going on in Myanmar for so long is no secret. Covering it up and and turning a blind eye on this persecution will just strengthen the troubles afflicting the world. Countries of the world must therefore prioritize justice and love, rather than self-interest, first in the name of mankind, and then in consideration of this horrifying scenario. The world must therefore extend a hand to the Rohingya Muslims who have been systematically persecuted for so long. It must not be deceived, but must find a solution for this wronged people. It is a fact that countries that hold meetings all over the world that sign oil and natural gas treaties and that buy arms from and sell missiles to one another are also strong enough to protect a handful of victimized people and to convince the Myanmar government on this issue. To that end, countries must turn away from calculations of realpolitik and show that their consciences have not atrophied. Let us see if they are ready to do that!
This article was published in Arab News, Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) and The Burma Times:
What can European countries do against the tide of Migration?
The Daily Mail - 8 December 2014
Dozens of hungry, thirsty people in a tiny boat in the middle of the sea…
Lives lost trying to cross a river or get through barbed wire…
The humiliation they encounter when they finally think they have made it.
These sentences summarize the experiences of people trying to reach Europe to claim asylum in recent years. Europe has been exposed to an unprecedented wave of migration of late. The reason is sometimes economic and sometimes a question of security.
When economic troubles in their homelands combine with concerns over security, people want to migrate to – and live in – places they regard as more prosperous and safer. Most of the time, such migration tends to take place within the affected country, but factors such as the Arab Spring and the global economic crisis have led such migrations to involve crossing borders more and more.
Spain, Malta and Italy are exposed to migrants from North Africa; Greece over the Aegean Sea and Bulgaria and Germany over the Balkans. Turkey on the other hand has received record numbers of migrants from Syria and Iraq.
Although Turkey is a less developed country than Spain, Italy, or Germany, it does not reject refugees, but instead offers them many greater opportunities. Angelina Jolie, the U.N. goodwill ambassador who recently visited refugee camps in Turkey, expressed her approval with the words, "I am really grateful for the open-door policy of Turkey in allowing these people to enter and the assurances that there will be no forced returns."13 Pope Francis also praised Turkey's attitude during his visit to the country at the end of November and called on the international community to give Turkey assistance.
It is almost impossible to see a similar picture in other countries. Italy has declared that she will no longer provide rescue operations for boats carrying migrants in the open seas, while Greece plans to hinder migrants with walls and obstacles along its border with Turkey. Germany, on the other hand, has amended its law on refugees and conditions of admission in order to prevent migrants coming from the Balkans; a similar amendment has been made to the Swiss asylum law. The Swiss law has been tightened up and received 78.5% popular approval.
Reducing applications and the acceptance process of asylum are not the only problems experienced regarding refugees. The problems facing refugees who encounter tremendous difficulties in crossing seas and borders do not end once they reach a European country. Many European countries are indeed struggling to cope with a wave of migration that simply exceeds their capacities. However, this does not justify the human rights violations that take place.
Many refugees are subjected to maltreatment, insults and contempt in European countries. In a presentation film prepared by Amnesty International, a refugee approaches the camera and says that Europeans treat animals very well and asks them to treat them as well as they treat their animals because they are dying.14 These words summarize the situation very well.
The European Court of Justice sentenced Malta to pay compensation to a Somali national refugee last July. The reason for the decision was that the refugee had been subjected to extreme hot and cold over several months in prison where he was held for deportation, and that he had not been allowed outside. The Court of Justice declared in its verdict “…that the cumulative effect of the conditions complained of diminished the applicant's human dignity and aroused in her feelings of anguish and inferiority capable of humiliating and debasing her and possibly breaking her physical or moral resistance."15
Another example of what migrants face in Europe appeared on the EuroNews website under the title "Migrant crisis in Europe getting worse."16 The report was based on images obtained from a refugee reception center in Germany. The images showed two security officials stamping on the head of a handcuffed Algerian migrant. The migrant shouted at them not to hit him, at which he was dragged onto a filthy bed.
This state of affairs, far beneath the standards of democracy and human rights in Europe, can be eliminated thanks to rulings made by judicial bodies. Both national courts and international courts such as the European Court of Human Rights can issue decrees that help improve this situation of migrants. For that to happen, of course, national courts need to function in a just and unbiased manner.
Another solution is for cover countries like Malta to be more adequately supported by other EU countries. The EU must finance accommodation for migrants that befits human dignity and open monitoring stations. Women and children and refugees that are in need of care must be appropriately dispersed among EU countries. In addition, instead of closing borders to refugees, supervised legal crossing routes must be established. In this way, the deaths of hundreds of people as they cross the seas or rivers can be prevented. Furthermore, detention should not be the first thing refugees face. Laws and regulations therefore need to be altered. However, a fundamental solution to the problem is only possible through reinforcing such material measures with an ethical education. The mindset that selfishly considers only its own comfort and interests must be replaced by one based on sharing and self-sacrifice, by a mindset that treats people with love and affection. For that to happen a major responsibility is incumbent upon the state, civil society organizations and the media. Reviving moral concepts such as love and solidarity through a multifaceted campaign will be the most important step toward solving the refugee crisis.
This article was published in The Daily Mail:
The Rohingya Muslims are being exiled in their own lands
The Burma Times - 20 March 2015
Islam first came to Rakhine, part of the Far East and inside the borders of Burma (Myanmar) through Muslim travelers to the region in the 8th century. When Bengal adopted Islam in 1203, Rakhine came under Muslim rule. Between 1430, when the region was conquered by Muslims, and 1638, with a few exceptions, the rulers generally chose to live by Islam. The Muslims settled in Rakhine are therefore the descendants of Sulayman Shah, who was placed on the throne by the Bengali Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammed Shah.17
History confirms that the Rohingya Muslims who are now being persecuted in their own lands, whose homes and villages are being burned, whose mothers and daughters are being tortured and whose men are being slaughtered, are the rightful owners of that territory. In addition, Muslims have occupied important positions in the governing of the country and in its political and cultural life for more than 350 years. They have even provided such senior officials as five viziers, along with governors, army generals and ministers.
However, following the killing of the Muslim Sultan Shah Salim II in a conspiracy in 1638, the empire entered a period of decline and collapse. With its invasion by Burma in 1784, the Muslim people living in the region suffered great oppression. Many of them were forced to flee to Bengal, which was under British rule. According to East India Company records, in 1799 35,000 Rakhine Muslims fled their lands because of persecution by the Burmese. The records tell us this; “…in one day soon after the conquest of Arakan the Burmans put 40,000 men to Death: that wherever they found a pretty Woman, they took her after killing the husband; and the young Girls they took without any consideration of their parents, and thus deprived these poor people of the property…"18 Some of the Muslims fleeing Burmese violence left the country and had to migrate to India.
After the withdrawal of the British who had been in control of the region, in 1824, there was soon a considerable increase in the number of attacks on Muslims. During the Second World War and the Japanese occupation the pressure on Muslims increased still further, culminating in Muslim men, women and children being barbarically murdered by swords and spears in the village of Chanbilli in the township of Minbya in 1942. After the slaughter the district was pillaged. All gold, silver and valuable items belonging to Muslims were seized, and their animals were confiscated. In the attacks that started in this village and spread across Rakhine, 307 Muslim villages were wiped off the map, more than 100,000 Muslims were martyred and some 80,000 were driven from their homes.19
Restrictions on the movements of Muslims were imposed following Burmese independence in 1948, the aim being to eliminate the Muslim population of Rakhine entirely. A military regime that took power following a coup in 1962 entirely rejected the identity of the Muslim people and began using propaganda to depict them as foreigners. They were removed from their posts in the police and the civil service and were prohibited from moving freely in the province of Rakhine.
Muslims, to whom Rakhine actually belongs, have been living under very harsh conditions again since 1990. There has been systematic pressure intended to reduce the population. They are unable to engage in agriculture or raise livestock because of arbitrary local taxation. Their lands are being taken into public ownership. Other examples of the persecution of Muslims include arrests, torture, the destruction of mosques and cemeteries, Muslim girls being taken away from their village under the pretext of 'development of the status of women,' and their being deprived of their rights to education.20
The Rohingya Muslims have been forced from their own lands, their true homeland to migrate to other countries in search of safety. The people to whom these lands really belong are today abandoning their roots, culture and history and struggling to survive under harsh conditions as refugees in other countries. More than 240,000 Muslims in Burma are living as refugees inside the country, and citizenship rights are denied to more than 810,000 Muslims living in the country. There are 120,000 refugees on the border with Thailand.21 There are also Rohingya Muslims with refugee status in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh and some European countries. One and a half million Rohingya Muslims are living at the hunger threshold in Bangladesh alone, trying to survive in the jungles and valley margins.
Every person whose conscience and heart are not totally atrophied, wherever in the world they may be, has a responsibility to defend the rights of these innocent people, to maintain justice and to strive to eliminate wickedness. A sentence appearing in the social media, an article shared, a word spoken at a meeting or making people aware of this blatant persecution, and every step taken for the sake of unity of public opinion against tyrannical regimes and evil people will constitute a barrier against such crimes against humanity and help prevent their reoccurrence.
This article was published in The Burma Times:
Syrian refugees in the fourth year of the crisis
Arabian Gazette - 21 March 2015
The Syrian civil war that began in March 2011 is now in its fourth year. During the crisis, more than 200,000 people have lost their lives. More than 11 million have had to leave the homes and lands they have spent their lives in; of these, some 7.6 million are living in exile inside Syria, while 4 million have had to flee abroad to save the lives of themselves and their families. The lives of these people, which were perhaps not so very different to those of the people reading these lines five years ago, have been completely ruined by the tragedy that has struck them. Those who have managed to flee the horror are having to start all over again.
The climate of suffering and uncertainty that has lasted four years
Millions of Syrians living in exile for four years are struggling to survive another freezing winter in hunger and poverty. These wretched people are only able to survive with aid from the U.N. and humanitarian organizations.
Under the increasingly harsh conditions of winter, the refugees are facing major difficulties in terms of housing, as well as hunger. Many refugees, the majority of them children and babies, are losing their lives under the harsh winter conditions for lack of food, fuel and clothing.
Today, some 95% of Syrian refugees, meaning 3.8 million people, are trying to survive in five neighboring or regional countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced that 380,000 people in these countries need to be resettled.
The disgraceful behavior of the EU, the advocate of human rights, over taking in Syrian refugees
The number of Syrians admitted by countries other than the five listed above is very low, less than 2% of the total refugees. The number of Syrian refugees admitted by countries of the EU is a terrible one – a mere 5,000.
In the face of this humanitarian disgrace, some 30 leading humanitarian aid organizations issued a joint statement last December, demanding that rich Western countries admit at least 5% of the Syrian refugees, or some 160,000 people, by the end of 2015. Germany, which leads the way in terms of resettlement, has promised to accept 28,500 refugees through the humanitarian application of individual support programs.
Of the $3.74 million requested in the scope of a U.N.'s call to regional aid for refugees, only 53% had arrived by November 18th, 2014.
International interest in the Syrian crisis is completely inadequate
Today, 10.8 million people in Syria and in exile need emergency humanitarian aid. However, international support and sensitivity to the Syrian crisis is quite inadequate. The contribution made by wealthy countries to the suffering people here is negligible at best; only 79,180 promises of resettlement have come from countries with a high level of prosperity, just one-fifth of the number needed.
Amnesty International has started a campaign under the heading #OpenToSyria to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in the region. The campaign is intended to put pressure on prosperous countries to admit more Syrian refugees through resettlement and other programs by raising world public opinion.
Within the scope of this campaign, a new report has been published concerning the struggle to survive of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict in the country and are living in neighboring countries. The report is titled “Hardship, Hope and Resettlement: Refugees from Syria Tell Their Stories."
The report describes the lives of eight unfortunate families in order to emphasize the humanitarian dimension of the crisis. The report is regarded as a positive move in terms of drawing public attention to the humanitarian dimension of the Syrian crisis.
Sherif Elsayed-Ali, head of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International, said, "This report tells the stories of the real people behind the numbers, in their own words."
Turkey's historic and pioneering role in supporting refugees
Comparing domestic populations, it becomes evident that Turkey is home to the largest Syrian refugee population. The number of refugees in the country is estimated at more than 1.6 million.
220,000 refugees are housed in 22 camps erected in Turkey. Even when the camps are working at full capacity, 85% of Syrian refugees still live outside them. The number of Syrian refugees in Istanbul alone is around 330,000.
Compared with examples from around the world, conditions in the camps are very good. Of the $497 million set aside for Turkey in the U.N. call for regional funding for Syrian refugees in 2014, only 28% had reached Turkey by November 5th 2014, or some $140 million; yet Turkey has spent more than 30 times that, around $4 billion, from its own budget on Syrian refugees.
In October 2014, Turkey published a Temporary Protection Decree securing the legal status of Syrian refugees. However, this has not yet been implemented.
The important role assumed by Turkey in this historical tragedy is plain for all to see, as is the strain it has placed upon Turkey. However, it is crucially important for the whole world to see this fact, and for all those people sitting in their warm homes with full stomachs in peace, calm and comfort, to think that the same tragedy may one day befall them; they should thus display the requisite sensitivity.
This article was published in Arabian Gazette:
Syria: The downward spiral of desolation
Middle East Monitor - 31 March 2015
The fifteenth of March this year marked the beginning of the fifth year of the civil war in Syria. With all the brutality that we've witnessed over the last four years, we might have lost track of the causes of this civil war, horrifying in every sense of the word.
The people of Syria were initially inspired by a desire for change and political reforms under the influence of the Arab Spring. In their quest for a better future, they engaged in largely peaceful demonstrations against the decades-old and oppressive Ba'ath regime. Their motive was to reject the Ba'ath regime that had long denied them any of the freedom and dignity that every human being deserves.
In this quest, what started as a spark of hope for a better future turned into a nation devastated by war and reduced to rubble. Today Syria has become a wretched country of ruined cities, towns and desperate people.
As the Syrian war has now entered its fifth year, almost every news outlet ran stories covering the misery of the country and the ineffable human suffering it has witnessed. These are the horrific stories of people, even children, who have to spend their daily lives under the shadow of sniper's bullets. In the cities we live in it is hard to imagine a child being shot dead in the nursery school where he is taken care of; but in a city like Aleppo, it is not a remote possibility to witness a five-year-old being killed while playing in the nursery playground.22
The children of Syria have experienced what no child in this world should ever have to. Helicopters hovering around, explosive-packed barrel bombs, fighter planes, missiles, artillery; these are the things they see on a daily basis instead of toys or playgrounds. Little babies' sleep is disrupted by falling bombs. Sometimes their parents grab them in frantic haste, being forced to flee on foot to nearby villages.
In most cases, there is no escape from a barrel bomb, a rather crude improvised explosive device. It is constructed from large oil drums, water tanks or gas cylinders filled with scrap metal, nails and high explosives.
Regime forces routinely carry out barrel bomb attacks during which an average of 250 kids each month lose their lives. In the Cobar region of Damascus, medics have had to operate on little children with no anesthesia. In the cities, there are tens of thousands of homeless crammed into the rubble of bombed-out buildings.
Every statistic, every figure, every photograph of Syria and its people are heart-wrenching. Across Syria, there are scores of missile strikes and bombings on a daily basis. Around 210,000 people killed, 1.5 million civilians seriously injured, at least 200,000 detained, 2400 reportedly missing: 10.9 million people have been displaced.23
What was once a home to a texture of cultures, ethnicities and faiths has been entirely shattered in these past four years. On these lands, the Sunni, Shiite Muslims, Christians, Kurds, Alawites, Yazidis and many other communities making up the social fabric of the country used to co-exist in peace for centuries. However the war has torn apart the various sects and communities and turned once-friendly groups against one another, making things even more complicated and difficult.
There is also another aspect of the Syrian conflict. Outside Syria there are three million refugees who try to survive in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. In these camps, each day brings a fresh challenge to making ends meet.
After having gone though unspeakable afflictions they could only make it to these camps where they now live virtually destitute in difficult conditions. Meanwhile a generation of young Syrians has grown up unschooled with only minimal access to information, thus leaving them susceptible to being radicalized.
Syria has become synonymous with human tragedy in the early 21st Century. However, until stability is established, the international community must recognize its responsibilities. In this sense, at least our conscience must not fail us in providing the necessary aid to those affected by this brutal, ongoing war.
This article was published in Middle East Monitor:
Only a statistic in Europe
Morocco World News & MBC Times
9 April 2015
Many of these people cannot or do not want to be identified – they are a potential security threat to the whole of Europe in terms of terrorist and criminal infiltration, besides the economic concerns.
These words belong to Italian ambassador Alessandro de Pedys. And 'these people' are the illegal immigrants who are fleeing to Europe hoping to get away from the immediate danger to their lives. Amongst them, there are very vulnerable children, women and the elderly.
But should we really be surprised at this behavior? Regrettably, most governments in Europe see illegal immigrants as a 'bothersome' issue, not as real human beings that genuinely need help from their fellow humans. For instance, Italy recently has decided, with the pressure from the European Union, to halt its rescue operations for illegal immigrants stranded in the sea.
They replaced their extensive search & rescue program 'Mare Nostrum' with the EU's Triton mission, which according to UNHCR Southern Europe head Laurens Jolles: “… doesn't have as its principal mandate saving human lives and thus cannot be the response that is urgently neede." This change, naturally, resulted in disaster and a couple of weeks ago, 300 people who took off from Libya in open, rubber boats perished in the sea, the youngest being 12.
Many people were shocked that a government would officially leave people to die just like that, especially after a very difficult 2014 when over 3,000 refugees died trying to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe. But not so long ago, the British government also said that they would no longer take part in search and rescue operations for illegal immigrants, shockingly claiming that such operations simply encourage more immigrants. Another display of this approach became clear when pictures and videos showing the abuse of Algerian immigrants in a refugee center in Germany surfaced. In these pictures, two security officers were pinning an Algerian refugee face down, with one officer stepping on his head while the other was stepping on his legs. Are these isolated cases? Definitely not.
In the notorious 'left-to-die boat' case, NATO refused to help a stranded boat full of refugees from Libya for 15 days and as a result, 63 people died of hunger and thirst, including one baby.
Yet as certain officials and governments in Europe adopt this approach, one local British council spent £19,000 for a 'motivational magician' while the Arts Council splashed out £95,000 on a skip covered in yellow lights. Ministers and officials ate £3 million worth of biscuits, and in the meantime, again through EU funds, €£300,000 was spent on cocktail parties, including one blowout €£75,000 night in Amsterdam. Surely, there is nothing wrong with buying art or providing amenities but if there is enough money for such activities, there must be funds to save, help and improve the life conditions of the illegal immigrants. The plight of human beings is of top priority.
But these helpless people are treated brutally. Is it the country that they are born in that decides how much they should be valued? All human beings are created equal. The three Abrahamic religions prohibit racism and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights make that simple principle very clear. Yet when these under-privileged people, who are born in poorer countries, wish to have the same dignified life as their European counterparts, they are rudely turned down.
But do those who see illegal immigrants as a burden ever think that every one of those people, who are only seen by many as an irritating statistic, is an individual with a soul, with a life, with regular hopes and dreams? Almost every individual has a family, possibly people expecting him to take care of them? And then there are those who are running for their lives, as their countries are battered by constant wars, clashes and turmoil. Or maybe he simply wants a better life, to which he is perfectly entitled according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Just for a moment, put yourself in these people's shoes: Would you like to be denied shelter when you are running from gun-wielding men chasing you and your family? Would you like to be insulted and abused because you want to make money for your family? Would you like to be left to drown in the sea because merely the European governments 'wish to send a message'? How would you feel if you were insulted, mistreated and denied a dignified life only because you were born in a less privileged country?
Let's not forget: We are responsible for our individual actions and responses. Others failing to show the necessary respect to human life do not mean that we should. Every human being is valuable and deserves our utmost respect and if we fail to do that, we alone will be responsible for our own actions. Once we remember this basic principle, the world will start turning into a much better place.
This article was published in Morocco World News and MBC Times:
Syria’s human tragedy
New Straits Times, The Daily Mail & Indian Muslim Observer - 9 April 2015
The Middle East, the scene of war and slaughter for hundreds of years, is the bloodiest region in the world. Instead of bringing with them peace and stability, the revolutionary movements that began with the hope of ushering in a 'Spring' actually led to greater bloodshed and violence and casting a pall of uncertainty over the region's future. The heaviest toll was without doubt paid in Syria.
Syria has been home to numerous civilizations throughout the ages. Today it is divided, its society has been torn apart and it is on the brink of collapse. Suffering dominates everywhere and the civil war, which has now entered its fifth year, has transformed into a full-blown regional war. And regrettably, it is once again the innocent Syrian people who suffer the most.
The sufferings of the Syrians struggling to survive in the fighting and bloodshed between fragmented groups as they seek freedom and democracy are ineffable. In the same way that they are deprived of a free democratic life, they are also losing their lives, their children, their homes and their belongings. Moreover, there is not the slightest sign of any military or political solution in the near or distant future, or of peace returning and their country being restored to its former state. U.N. Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura says that the situation is growing worse by the day; "I think everybody including Bashar al-Assad and everyone else in their own heart realizes that there is no military victory here. They may pretend, they may hope but they know that it cannot be done. The proof is four years, 220,000 people killed, 1 million wounded."24
In addition to the large numbers of dead and wounded, some 4 million people have had to flee the country, while 7 million are living as internal refugees. According to the latest report by the Syrian American Medical Society, some 650,000 people in Syria are today living under conditions of siege.25 More than 10,000 Syrian children have lost their lives and thousands are fighting hunger and diseases. Many have joined gangs or been forced to perform military service. Some 2 million Syrian children under the age of 18 risk becoming a lost generation.
One of the places worst affected by the fighting is the Yarmouk Refugee Camp some 10 km from the center of Damascus. Home to Palestinians since 1948, the Yarmouk Camp was the largest and most developed Palestinian camp until the war.
The refugees in Yarmouk lived lives not so very different to those of Syrian people until the war broke out. They lived quiet lives in the camps, equipped with thousands of homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, bakeries and coffee houses, as well as beauty salons for women and Internet cafes for youngsters.26 But things changed very quickly and very grimly for them, just like the other residents of Syria.
Today, it is the latest symbol of Syrian suffering. With 18,000 civilians trapped in the area, the camp is scene to some of the worst incidents of hunger and illnesses. More than 200 people27 have so far lost their lives due to starvation and diseases. People eat grass and drink melted snow in order to survive. Increasing diseases caused by water, electricity, fuel and drug shortages cannot be treated, because all health and first aid units in the area have closed.
UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl's words following a visit to the camp give an idea of conditions inside it: "The first thing I see when I stand here in Yarmouk is a reminder of what war does to people. Meeting with the families that are here at the distribution point is a reminder of the extreme suffering that people have gone through. And I think here the loss of life, the loss of livelihoods, the psychological traumas that people go through, and the fact that you have so many health problems from diabetes to jaundice, to lack of water and to lack of electricity. The situation is extremely critical and the situation in Yarmouk somehow symbolizes what Palestine refugees are going through, of course many Syrians also in this conflict."28 Robert Turner, director of the same organization, describes the conditions in Yarmouk camp with the words: "It is impossible not to be touched by the apocalyptic scenes emerging from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, besieged and cut off for months. The images are at once epic and personal. Row upon row of gaunt faces, serried ranks of grimy, raged figures; the delicate, hunger-ravaged features of children waiting in line for an UNRWA food parcel; the face of a mother creased in grief for a deceased child; tears of joy as a father is reunited with a long-lost daughter; these are the vignettes of inhumanity that have become the regular fare of nightly news bulletins."29
Although the humanitarian drama is unfolding before the eyes of the world, it has not elicited the reaction it should. Everyone of good conscience can do something on behalf of suffering people; all institutions and civil society organizations fighting hunger and injustice can use social media and communication technologies to create mass interest. A major campaign can be initiated in the press and on TV aimed at putting a stop to this suffering. It is essential for all good people not to merely sit back in the face of suffering but to unite together to build a bright future.
This article was published in New Straits Times, The Daily Mail and Indian Muslim Observer:
Yarmouk cries for help
Arab News & Jefferson Corner
25 April 2015
The world of advertising is strangely self-contradictory. We are bombarded daily with commercials or ad films luring us to consume a variety of foodstuffs including different kinds of chocolates and other mouthwatering foods. On the other hand, the same channels of communication are used to offer us help against temptations, diet programs, products claiming to be less fatty yet tasty and workout programs to shed the extra pounds.
The world of news media is also not that different. We see pictures of babies who could live a bit more if provided with milk; pictures of people who could survive their gunshot wound if they had access to basic antibiotics. Unfortunately, these pictures are only treated as top shots and end up as mere statistics. Yes, I am referring to the people in Yarmouk, who are left high and dry to fend for themselves in the Syrian war theater.
Yarmouk had been home to 160,000 Palestinians in Syria since creation of Israel in 1948. It never was Paris for them but things were fine and people had normal lives without having to live in fear for their lives every waking hour. But when the Baath regime decided to go on a rampage against every citizen of their own country in December 2012, the people of Yarmouk were trapped in what became world's largest open-air prison.
Claiming that rebels were using Yarmouk, regime forces laid siege to Yarmouk, leaving the residents without food, water and medical supplies. One particular picture became especially famous. It was a picture showing wave upon wave of people, all hungry and looking despondent, like a scene from the Middle Ages, filling up an alley waiting to get to the limited humanitarian aid available.
But there were other scenes that never found their way to the mainstream media; bodies of frozen toddlers in boxes, babies that starved to death, toddlers forced to walk barefoot on ice. Or the moving BBC video showing a brave 10-year-old boy trying to put on a brave face while he described the situation. He tried to downplay it and said, "Yeah, we are hungry" but couldn't hold it anymore and started crying, completely ashamed of himself for breaking down like that.
The difference between Yarmouk and the affluent parts of the world that are struggling with obesity is so vast, the divide so stark, it's like there are two different worlds. It is almost like one of those films depicting two societies where one uses the other for amusement, watching their struggle for life. The villains of today are worse than the villains in those movies; worse yet is the fact that world watches it like a movie.
Brutality, hunger and murder are now common sights to people in this part of the world. And for the others, living with the news of these things, but carrying on with their lives unaffected, is an accustomed sight.
Today only 18,000 people are left in Yarmouk. In an unexpected twist of events, and to make matters even worse, the self-ascribed Islamic State (IS) seized 90 percent of this area and started its own campaign of violence as a manifestation of their skewed interpretation of Islam. The UN has urged immediate evacuation and according to the latest news, some 2,000 had already been evacuated.
Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General for the United Nations (UNRWA), is visiting Yarmouk to hear from refugees affected by the crisis, and consult with leaders on how to send aid to people in need. These are good news but clearly not enough. So what should be done?
Before we start talking about the real solution to the problems in the Middle East, including those that gave rise to the IS, we have to talk about short-term and quick fixes to this very urgent humanitarian crisis. It is imperative that the UN immediately swings into action to evacuate all the civilians trapped in the area. The Security Council has already convened an emergency meeting on Monday but they need to be quicker. Cooperation with the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups could be a way to help the civilians, which include some 3,500 children. The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Pierre Krähenbuhl, calls the situation "beyond inhumane" amid reports of Syrian regime forces dropping barrel bombs on Yarmouk.
Under another scenario, a unit of Russian army could supervise the evacuation of civilians out of the area, with the help of humanitarian groups. Regime forces wouldn't oppose Russians doing the job; neither the IS would want to open a new front.
Another problem these people face is the fact that they almost have no place to go. Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt have banned Palestinian refugees from Syria, and they cannot go to Iraq as most of it is under IS control. Fortunately there is always Turkey, ready to welcome people in need. An urgent statement from Turkish officials, confirming the welcoming attitude of Turkey would be a great move at the moment.
The world needs to immediately start the process of getting the innocent civilians out of there. Do not forget: there are children, women, sick, injured people, old people and they need our help. Put yourselves in their shoes and do your best to help them.
This article was published in Arab News & Jefferson Corner:
The world refugee problem can be solved with love
Scientific Research Volume 131
✓Hundreds of hungry, thirsty people in tiny boats in the middle of the sea…
✓Lives lost trying to cross a river or get through barbed wire…
✓The humiliation they encounter when they finally think they have made it…
✓Refugees risking death to escape harsh conditions and live a human life are one of the world's most important problems...
So how can this problem be solved?
Refugees are people who are forced to leave their own countries due to oppression because of differences of language, religion or political opinion or because they belong to a specific social group. When economic troubles in their homelands combine with concerns over security, people want to migrate to - and live in - places they regard as more prosperous and safer. Most of the time, such migration tends to take place within the affected country, but factors such as the Arab Spring and the global economic crisis have led such migrations to involve crossing borders more and more. These people are afraid to return to their countries.
The number of people fleeing from areas of conflict is growing by the day. Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya and Burma are the countries where the refugee problem is most severe.
Spain, Malta and Italy are exposed to migrants from North Africa; Greece over the Aegean Sea and Thrace; and Germany over the Balkans. Turkey on the other hand has received record numbers of migrants from Syria and Iraq. Although Turkey is a less developed country than Spain, Italy, Greece or Germany, it does not reject refugees, but instead offers them many greater opportunities. However, European countries in particular have recently begun to change their behavior toward refugees. European countries' behavior toward refugees contravenes human rights.
The real sickness in the world is lovelessness
There is a profound lovelessness behind the egoism, hatred and conflict in the world. It is lovelessness again that underlies disagreements and conflicts between different communities on the basis of race, sect or belief. The world is now waiting for people of love to govern with love and justice and put a stop to the bloodshed. May God send us the fine days of the reign of love without delay.
Why does the EU not want refugees?
Tens of thousands of people are risking their lives to get to Europe, by land or sea. Research by Amnesty International reveals that they first need to breach the barricades set up by the Fortress Europe. The majority are violently repulsed by the police and coastguards or detained for weeks under harsh conditions. Refugees trying to get to Europe by sea are subjected to repatriation operations. These can be totally inhumane. The report cites one refugee as saying this about Greek officials: "They put all the men lying on the boat; they stepped on us and hit us with their weapons for three hours. Then at around 10 in the morning, after removing the motor, they put us back to our plastic boat and drove us back to the Turkish waters and left us in the middle of the sea.''30
According to the report, Europe, which has admitted 12,000 of the 2.3 million defenseless refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria, has opened its doors to only 0.5% of all refugees. The significant thing is that when Germany, which has granted refugee status to 10,000 refugees, is removed from the equation, the remaining 27 EU countries have admitted a total of 2,340 refugees. Striking sections of the Amnesty International report 'Fortress Europe: Syrian Refugee Shame Exposed' are as follows:
France has allotted 500 places for Syrian refugees, and Spain just 30, while 18 EU member states, including the United Kingdom and Italy, have not proposed any places at all. To date, 55,000 refugees have reached Europe and requested asylum, that number representing just 2.4% of the total number of refugees. Another point of criticism in the Amnesty International is that despite human rights violations against refugees in Europe in 2012 and the border policies imposed, the European Union was still awarded the Nobel Peace prize. Thorbjoern Jagland, head of the Nobel Committee, said that the EU had been considered worthy of the prize because of its contributions to human rights, peace and democracy over the last 60 years.
It appears that Europe, which espouses human rights, liberty, peace and democracy, is unwilling to provide these people who have no right to life in their own countries with the means for a free and safe life. Why is the European Union so insensitive to this humanitarian drama? Why does it fear and turn its backs on people who come to seek asylum?
The main cause of this fear is that people do not live as true Muslims in the Middle East and many places. The true Islam possesses highly advanced conceptions of democracy and liberty that European societies can be very comfortable with. However, circles that abandon the essence of Islam and live by fanatical ways of thinking impose a form of Islam that is conservative, fanatical, restrictive and opposed to art, science and very nearly life itself. People therefore imagine that Islam restricts freedoms, modernity, fields of art such as music, sculpture, painting and theater, and a democratic life style. Therefore, this conception held by those who misrepresent Islam being diametrically opposed to Europe, which regards itself as a leader in terms of art and democracy, strengthens that fear.
It is also in the power of Muslims to prevent this fear. They must put an end to nonsense that has no place in Islam forthwith and live by the essence of Islam. Only in this way can we correct the false image being given in Europe. Once Muslims are highly modern, cultured, high-quality and educated, and when they value beauty and art, then the fear felt by Europe will also disappear.
However, it is unacceptable, no matter for what reason, for Europe to turn a blind eye to everything that is going on while living in such prosperity. What they are doing is a total violation of human rights. If they claim to be defenders of human rights, then they must behave accordingly.
The problems that refugees face in the countries where they live
The forced migration taking place in the civil war in Syria has been described as the largest in the history of the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Almost half of the pre-war Syrian population of 22 million have been subjected to forced migration. Seventy-five percent of displaced Syrians consist of women and children. The great majority of Syrians have relocated inside the country, while 97% of the 2.5 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries.
Afghans represent the largest refugee group in the world, with 95% of Afghan refugees seeking shelter in neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran. One in every four refugees in the world is an Afghan. Afghanistan is followed by Somalia and Iraq. There are 450,000 refugees registered with the UN living in Lebanon. The refugees in 12 settlements resembling concentration camps are struggling to survive in great poverty. Their basic rights have been denied and they are deprived of any political rights, even symbolic ones.
Most of the refugees in Lebanon were exiled from Palestine in 1947-48. For 66 years, these people have been living as refugees, and still have no citizenship rights. Muslim Uighur Turks fleeing Red Chinese persecution in East Turkestan, Rakhine Muslims deprived of citizenship rights under oppression by the Myanmar regime and hundreds of thousands of refugees in dozens of other regions are all struggling to survive. This picture is a brief summary of the harsh conditions that needy people across the world are living in. Have you ever wondered why these people decide to risk their lives, put all their money into the hands of human traffickers and set out on such dangerous voyages?
The impact of helping others and guardianship on perfection of faith
Helping the refugees is the means for one's purification of his lower self from egoistic desires and selfishness. Therefore, just like at the time of our Prophet (saas), the faith of those who help the refugees and provide them with moral and material support are perfected by God's leave and they attain maturity.
For that reason guardianship for the refugees will be an important opportunity for gaining profundity in faith. God informs us of this superior morality in the Qur'an with the following verse:
Those who have faith and have emigrated and striven with their wealth and themselves in the Way of God, and those who have given refuge and help, they are the friends and protectors of one another. But as for those who have faith but have not emigrated, you are not in any way responsible for their protection until they emigrate. But if they ask you for help in respect of the religion, it is your duty to help them, except against people you have a treaty with. God sees what you do. (Surat al-Anfal, 72)
Everyone has a responsibility for the lives of refugees
There is but one reason why people in various parts of the world migrate and become refugees; the fear of death. These people living in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria or Rakhine risk being killed at any moment. They therefore set out on these dangerous journeys that often end in death in the hope perhaps being rescued. Since these people have no other option, the priority issue is for countries to review their refugee policies. European countries in particular must immediately stop ignoring the refugee question and adopt the idea that "everyone's life, be he Afghan, African or Syrian, is valuable."
The priority in the search for a solution is not to close off the routes by which refugees arrive, but to take measures to ensure their lives are not endangered on the trip. Last year alone, more than 3500 people lost their lives while trying to cross from North Africa to Europe. The details in the headlines were chilling.
Hundreds of people on the open seas in tiny boats at risk of sinking…
Boats deliberately sunk by human traffickers after taking the refugees' money…
Boats from which all wireless and radar equipment has deliberately been removed to prevent the refugees being rescued...
Every year, hundreds of people die while trying to cross the Mediterranean. Some 650 refugees and migrants are estimated to have died in October 2014 when three boats sank while trying to cross from North Africa to Europe. Such losses are still continuing.
On 16, February, 2015, calls for help from 12 illegal migrant boats 120 miles to the south of the Italian island of Lampedusa and 30-50 miles of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, again attracted attention to the refugee problem. With the help of teams from the Coastguard, 2100 migrants, including women and children, were saved from death at the last moment.
Readers will remember that in October 2013, 363 refugees drowned when a rickety boat sank off the island of Lampedusa. The rescue mission known as Mare Nostrum was set up in the light of international public pressure following that tragedy. However, since the rescue operations were costing Italy 10 million euros a month and no help was forthcoming from other EU countries, the mission was terminated. Yet during it, the lives of more than 100,000 refugees had been saved.
Rather than rescuing them, Triton, the lower-budget mission set up in its place, has actually prevented many refugees reaching EU countries and resulted in them being sent back to the countries they set out from. Many politicians in Italy, a country with a moral responsibility, and especially Prime Minister Renzi, called on EU countries to shoulder the burden together since Italy was being left to face the refugee problem alone.
Giusa Nicolini, the mayor of Lampedusa, says that they feel abandoned and that the government needs to step to a new mission in the Mediterranean. Concerning the latest incidents, he says:
The people who froze to death after they were saved would still be alive if they'd been taken onto Mare Nostrum ships, which were always stationed well to the south of Lampedusa. ... If the aim was to have more boats and fewer survivors, then they've achieved it.31
Karl Kopp from the Pro Asyl refugee organization says:
When it was set up, Mare Nostrum was an absolute emergency measure in terms of European sea rescue," Kopp explains. However, he says that Europe has now deliberately taken a step back from sea rescue. Triton has a cover operational area, and the distances its boats have to cover are too great. Kopp says this means that mass death in the Mediterranean is consciously being taken into account. "The EU is deliberately trying to scare people off coming to Europe with the deaths of asylum-seeking migrants," he says. Kopp says this begs the question of what a human life is worth to those in authority in Brussels if an essential rescue mission cannot get EU funding.32
Remarks Concerning Refugees on A9 TV
16 November 2014
Telling Syrian refugees to 'Go away' means to abandon them to death
"There are people fleeing out of a fear of being killed and abandoning house and home to save their own lives. These people used to live normally. They were not poor or anything. They had normal lives. But they fled because of the effect of this scourge. That is no good. It has happened; these guests are now here with us. That war has happened. We cannot behave in any other way.
As you travel around, may God forbid, you may see injured people, covered in blood. Of course you get out of the car and try and help. You may have new clothes on, and they get covered in blood. You go to hospital with the person. Then the police detain you. They want information about that person. You wait in the emergency department all night to see what happens to that person. You do that for God's approval. Many things may happen. You may be exposed to numerous difficulties. But what would you want if it were you? That is what we are doing. For example, someone is there covered in blood. He is freezing cold and on his way out. How can you say, 'This is none of my business'? That would be terrible immorality. How could one sleep at night?
How could we possibly tell our Syrian guest, may God forbid; 'Go back to your own country. Two million of you are causing us problems. We cannot bother ourselves with you. You have eaten our food. We have had enough of you. Go back home.' Let us imagine that we sent refugees back home and they were killed or injured by barrel bombs or something. May God forbid. How could anyone sleep at night after that? Terrible things are happening in the region. A terrible scourge is there. These things are the natural consequence of that, and we must not shame our guests. A guest's worse fear is to think, 'Am I being a burden?' The host has a duty to set his guest's mind at rest. That is just good manners.
"That is no good. You are a guest from God. You have brought prosperity with you, and we are delighted by you. You must never think you are a burden. What's mine is yours. Remember how the Qur'an praises Ansar (Helpers) and Muhajirun (Migrants). We must do the same thing."
Measures needing to be taken to resolve the refugee problem
A person's life is infinitely valuable. EU countries must therefore reinstate the Triton mission and initiate other operations to expand Mare Nostrum to save the refugees from death. It is a complete violation of its mission for EU countries, regarded as the pioneers of human rights, to turn a blind eye to the deaths of hundreds of people in the middle of Europe every month.
As the world public witnesses such suffering among refugees, the response must not seem to be so feeble as to fail to assist these people in such difficulties. Indeed, another report came out the other day. Prof. Per Pinstrup-Andersen, a leading figure in the FAO campaign against food waste, stated that 100 million tons of food is thrown away in Europe every year. According to the most optimistic FAO estimate, one-third of the food produced in the world is either lost before it can be eaten or simply wasted.
In conclusion, the data shows that there are enough food resources to feed all of the seven billion people in the world. In that case, the most pressing matter is to get these resources to the areas where they are needed and then to establish systems to ensure that nobody in the world is hungry or homeless.
Food is only one aspect of waste. The greatest waste is the weapons made for fighting and the bombs built to devastate cities. Since love is imprisoned in the world today, countries are arming themselves in an insane frenzy; hatred results only in destruction and more suffering. When waste of all manner is prevented, when mechanisms of distribution are set up for God's sake, these problems will be eradicated.
The importance of the founding of an Islamic Union in the resolution of the refugee crisis
The first requirement for people forced to migrate because of troubles at home is the right to enter countries where they can be safe and can move around freely. In this way, they will not be forced to wait at border crossings after long journeys, and at least the first step in the journey will be made easier.
There is an urgent need for a union of Muslim states, resembling the European Union, to be set up to resolve this problem and the growing refugee question in the Middle East. In this way, citizens of countries that enjoy free rights of movement into one another, like the EU, will have a way out when troubles arise and will be able to find a humanitarian corridor. Rights such as dual nationality and the right to work without visas will put an end to conditions that restrict refugees and prevent them from living under humane conditions and provide a solution that all people of good conscience can be comfortable with.
Even when we look at the implementation of a more humane phase by improving the lives of refugees, we still see the need for the Middle East to have its own union. In order for a rapid solution to this emergency situation without lengthy political and bureaucratic procedures, everyone who espouses freedom and equality should call for such a union.
Europe must step up for humanity
Tehran Times & Weekly Blitz - 12 May 2015
Everyone has a dream. Some have big dreams, some have cover dreams but we all have one. It is a motivation to survive and to be happy. The world we live in is not a place of peace anymore; there are conflicts and natural disasters everywhere. Being born in the undeveloped countries, some are living a more difficult life than those living in more civilized countries in Europe or the United States. These poor people are mostly from third world countries like Burma who either live under severe oppression or flee from war zones like Syria and Libya. Having their lives at risk everyday, they seek ways to flee their homelands just to breathe the air of freedom and liberty. They have no other option but to leave everything they have behind for the sake of their families and children.
This is where the human traffickers show up like vultures circling over their prey and take advantage of this situation. They deceive these desperate people and take everything they possess in exchange for a dream. No, you did not read it wrong; these smugglers say they sell dreams claiming they are trustworthy people offering the only way to leave oppression behind. Having no other option, the helpless sell everything they own and pay for their dreams to come true.33
The journey does not start as soon as they pay the smugglers. They have to be fortunate enough to receive calls from them to get a date and reach the boats to attain their dream.
When they receive the call, the difficult journey to a new life begins. They are not all healthy adults; many children, pregnant women and the elderly in poor health are among them. The sea journey itself is like a floating prison with conditions no human should suffer, according to one Syrian asylum seeker.
Regrettably, during the last two years, of the asylum seekers who fled their countries by boat trying to reach the European countries, many lost their lives to the sea: In the first three months of 2015 alone, the number of people who lost their lives on these trips is ten times more compared to the same period last year.34 What's worse, these months were supposed to have the lowest demand from asylum seekers due to winter conditions on sea journeys; the numbers are very likely to increase in the coming months.
A similar incident happened last Saturday and this time the Italian and French navies succeeded in rescuing 1,400 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.35 It is pleasing to see such successful rescue operations after encountering the deaths of 800 migrants in the Mediterranean36, which is considered to be one of the worst seen in decades. Sarah Tyler, a spokeswoman for Save the Children in Catania, Sicily, said “... that is almost as many as died in the Titanic, and 31 times the number who died when the Costa Concordia sank."37
This human catastrophe is happening before the eyes of the world. In 2014 alone 3,000 migrants have perished or gone missing trying to reach Europe to have better living standards. The reason for the increase in the number of casualties over the last two years is the decrease in search and rescue operations by the European states; they believed the demand of the asylum seekers to reach Europe would diminish that way. In 2013, the Italian navy used to run rescue operations called Mare Nostrum (Our Sea), which cost $10 million per month. Due to its expensive cost, Europe started new rescue operations called Triton, which amounts $3 million a month.38
Each member state of the EU has a great responsibility for the sake of the lives of asylum seekers. They should act in unity putting aside their own interests. What the world is facing here is an immense persecution, which is wholly unacceptable in terms of human rights. Since members of the EU come up with different perspective in terms of the proposed solutions, they are not likely to put forth a concrete solution for the migrants anytime soon.
Regarding the responsibility of Europe, Judge Pinto De Albuquerque of the ECHR stated that, "Refugees attempting to escape Africa do not claim a right of admission to Europe. They demand only that Europe, the cradle of human rights idealism and the birthplace of the rule of law, cease closing its doors to people in despair who have fled from arbitrariness and brutality. That is a very modest plea, vindicated by the European Convention on Human Rights. We should not close our ears to it."39
Human life must be considered as the most valuable matter in this world and each of us has to do our best to protect others and make sure they can live the life they deserve. European countries claim they do not have enough resources to accept these migrants but it is high time for some of them to step up and act as pioneers for these desperate people. Precautions are necessary for every step like what should be done before these risky sea journeys take place and after the arrival of these hundreds of people. They should never make them feel like outsiders. They should welcome them and make them feel at home. There are many free places in many parts of the world and these can be turned into safe havens where asylum seekers can reside. New job opportunities can be created for these newcomers and schools can be built in these special areas. The choice they make is not easy and they are facing enormous difficulties to make their dreams come true. Let's join forces and give them the life they have dreamed of.
This article was published in Tehran Times and Weekly Blitz:
Nobody to wipe Rohingyas’ tears
Arab News, The Frontier Post & The Daily Mail - 24 May 2015
This past week, we witnessed a horrifyingly sad display of international indifference toward hundreds of people stranded aboard rickety boats. Photographs circulating in the world press show these unfortunate people pleading for mercy and tears rolling down their cheeks. Struggling with starvation aboard makeshift boats, these poor souls weren't allowed entry to various countries and turned away to meet their inevitable fate out in the ocean.
One wonders what could be the reason behind this callous attitude. How could the world become so indifferent to the plight of others? What could possibly be the cause of this frosty behavior? How could the humanity stoop to this level of cruelty?
While some people went to work as usual, some attended feasts, some welcomed their guests for dinner and some spent hours on various social media platforms, in a far corner of the same world, a group of refugees on makeshift boats belonging to human traffickers were left to rot, out in the ocean.
After much reluctance, a few countries have finally agreed to offer refuge to some of these poor people. Malaysia and Indonesia have decided to provide these stateless (around 7,000 to 8,000) people with shelter. This is a temporary solution and more efforts are required to resolve the issue once and for all.
Otherwise, nobody considered Rohingya Muslims, who were about to starve to death, worthy of taking in. They didn't want to give them shelter. They didn't want to spend money on these poor people, but thought it to be expedient to spend money on sports events, parties, expensive clothes, cars, stadiums, shopping malls, or tourist attractions. Instead of asking, "how can we help these poor people?" they started looking ways to "get rid of them."
Needless to say, not every leader or officer thinks this way. Surely, there are nations and there are good people who are trying to help the Rohingya. However, the final decisions of the policymakers once again brought to the fore the cruel trends in the world of politics. The situation is so dire for Rohingya Muslims that they accept risking their lives aboard rickety boats despite knowing that countries of the region will turn them away and despite the "death" lurking in the sea. What could possibly drive huge numbers of people to such a desperate act?
No one should think that now that Indonesia and Malaysia have accepted some refugees, the problem is solved. Although the discovery of mass graves in Thailand, the hotbed of human traffickers, led to a clampdown on traffickers, the problem is far from being solved. Currently, the boats that set off from Myanmar and are now adrift at the sea are home to some 8,000 people. Traffickers now charge the final installment not when they land, but while at sea and then abandon the ships. While the people of some Muslim countries wish to do everything they can to help the refugees, their respective administrations have finally decided to take a few steps in this regard. Most of the countries are blaming the Myanmar government in an attempt to convince the world that it is not their problem. But it is the problem of the Muslims, and the problem of the world. Considering the fact that we live in the same world with these migrants in need, how could it be not ours?
It would be pertinent to mention here that the Malaysian foreign minister consulted his Bangladeshi, Indonesian and Thai counterparts to find a solution. It is also heartening to note that UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon talked to Malaysian and Thai premiers and called for the rescue of these refugees. Another good news is that the US' Holocaust Memorial Museum stated that Muslim minority in Myanmar are being subjected to genocide, as it shows that the world has begun to notice the Muslim Rohingya after a long period of silence. But the truth is, despite the calls from the world, it looks unlikely that Myanmar administration, which is still essentially under military control after the coup, could provide a solution. However, serious sanctions by ASEAN members could prove convincing for Myanmar, as they had refused all calls for solutions and didn't attend meetings held for that purpose. Yet, as long as there is support of giants like China, which is in the process of laying a natural gas pipeline through Myanmar, such options look far-fetched.
For this reason, it is important that Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia consider the situation as a problem of their fellow Muslims, of their own citizens, rather than that of Myanmar and produce solutions accordingly. The solution is simple. Just like Turkey, which welcomed more than 2 million refugees without questions, without foreign aid, and with love. Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands and some of those islands are partially or completely empty. They can easily provide tents or containers, which could be used for settlements and give these people some means for agriculture, few cattle for breeding and treat the Rohingyas like their own citizens that would contribute both to themselves and to their country's economy. In countries like Malaysia, which are in need of labor force, the presence of Rohingya will prove to be a blessing. Expecting foreign aid is meaningless and futile. These can be done easily without extensive costs, using the current resources of the states.
Let's correct a misconception, which is the result of the cruel ways of politics of today: A refugee in difficulty is not a burden like many bourgeoisies like to think, but instead, he is a guest from God. And a guest from God comes with blessings from God and those who welcome them will definitely be rewarded with gifts in return for doing something that would please God. This is God's justice. And the decisions of the politicians or the international laws are invalid in the face of God's justice.
This article was published in Arab News, The Frontier Post and The Daily Mail:
Asylum seekers: A problem of humanity or security?
Morocco World News - 29 May 2015
A few years ago he fled Aleppo, Syria and came to Libya. When conflicts started here as well, they reminded him of what he had been through in Syria. When gunshots in the streets were heard inside his house and when his house was robbed, he became certain that he and his family was not safe there any more. Someone who he had been introduced to by a friend promised to take him and his family to Europe. The money he had wasn't enough; he could come up with the necessary amount only after selling the furniture in his house and borrowing some more.
After being kept waiting in a sizable warehouse with hundreds of people, one night he sailed in a ramshackle boat in which people were piled on top of each other; his wife and daughter sat apart. He was inside the boat in a few square meters of space with scores of other people. It was very hot inside and it was very difficult to breathe. As they sailed away from the shore, he suddenly heard loud screams. He reached the deck at the risk of stepping on other people. When he saw that their boat was taking on water, he realized that his wife and daughter did not know how to swim. Saving them was the first thing he thought about. However it was so crowded that he couldn't even head towards them and the boat rapidly sank. In the darkness he held on to a piece of wood in the sea and screamed out the names of his wife and his daughter with all his might but his voice faded out between the screams of those asking for help. As day broke he was taken into an Italian boat. Along with their sunken boat all his dreams about a safe life were destroyed. Moreover he had lost his wife and his daughter.
Similar stories have been repeated with distressing frequency in the last two years. Many people from Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea and Sub-Saharan African countries are looking for salvation by going to Europe. According to Public Prosecutor of Palermo, Maurizio Scalia, more than one million asylum seekers are waiting, ready to go to Italy from Libya right now.40
A part of those trying to go to Europe take off with the hope of achieving a better life and better earnings. In many European countries, asylum seekers are considered as outsiders wanting to exploit their riches.
The action plan prepared by the EU Ministers of Internal and Foreign Affairs reveal that Europe considers the problems of asylum seekers not as a problem of humanity but as their own security problem.
Actually a similar plan was prepared in 2013 by another commission and was submitted to the approval of member countries. On the Voice of America website, the old plan is compared with the new one and the following evaluation is made:
The most striking aspect of the plan that has a feel of a previous plan which was submitted for approval on 2013 and was rejected by 24 of 28 member countries, is that it has an even lower human dimension.41
The Euronews website, on the other hand, presents an even clearer view on the approach of Europe regarding the asylum seeks with the heading "The EU failed the class in aiding immigrants."42
The main reason why policies about aiding and protecting asylum seekers receive harsh opposition in the European countries is the self-serving philosophy that prevails throughout the union.
The most current reflection of this philosophy can be observed in the fierce reaction shown towards the suggestion of distributing the asylum seekers between the EU countries according to a pre-defined quota. Stating that it is absolutely not acceptable to say "we should not let asylum seekers be drown at the sea but that they should not be brought to our countries as either,"Vice President of EU Commission Frans Timmermans criticized this situation.43
The fact that every member country primarily looks out for itself in the face of political and social developments profoundly undermines the spirit of unity. Catalonia in Spain, Padania in Italy, Scotland in the UK are all looking for an opportunity to leave, thinking that they will thus generate greater wealth for themselves: While that is the case, it becomes meaningless to expect people who cannot even stand their own poor, to extend a helping hand to those who come from abroad and are in need.
On the other hand, there are also those in the UN, like Italian Prime Minister Mateo Renzi, who approach this problem more humanely. Mr. Renzi does not approve the security precautions developed to keep refugees away from Europe. In answering a question, the Italian Prime Minister noted that 91 of 100 immigrant boats coming to his country come from Libya and said, "The hypothesis of a military intervention in Libya is not on the table," and added that it is impossible to create peace in North Africa with the use of force.44
Indeed, the exact solution to the influx of asylum seekers the EU is being subjected to lies in clearing away the causes of this immigration. According to statistics in the report prepared by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the primary reason behind immigration is because those people are in genuine fear for their safety and security as disorder grips the MENA region.
The report prepared by the Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), shows further growth in forced displacement in the first half of 2014. The report states that 5.5 million people have been forced out of their homes in the first half of 2014; 1.4 million of those passed through international borders and became refugees after fleeing their home countries and the remaining 4.1 million have been forcefully displaced within their own countries. In his assessment about the report, stating that the refugee problem is a result of conflicts going on in the world, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said, "As long as the international community continues to fail to find political solutions to existing conflicts and to prevent new ones from starting, we will continue to have to deal with the dramatic humanitarian consequences."45
When a threat to Europe or to their own people presents itself in the Middle East or in Africa, instead of immediately bombing or invading that region, Europe should consider resorting to more reasonable methods based on knowledge and education. For instance, starting from childhood, members of all faiths can be taught that unjustly killing or displacing people, stealing their property and inflicting torture upon them is a grave crime. In order to stop the influx of immigrants to Europe, a struggle must be given not against the asylum seekers from North Africa but with the underlying conditions that oblige them to seek asylum.
This article was published in Morocco World News:
It is no economic loss to help Syrian refugees
Diplomacy Pakistan – 03 June 2015
With globalization, migration has become one of the most important issues facing the world today. More people than ever are leaving their lands of origin and migrating elsewhere. There are two main reasons for these large population shifts – security and economic worries. In particular, the Arab Spring, which began as totalitarian regimes turning to democracy but soon turned the Middle East into a battleground, has led to a rapid rise in numbers. The majority of people in Syria have sought refuge in neighboring countries in order to escape the fighting inside it.
Turkey has received the greatest share of this migration. According to the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry Directorate General of Migration Management, some one million people living in Syria took shelter in Turkey because of Syria's domestic turmoil between April 2011 and May 2014.46 The figure today is estimated to exceed 2 million.47
A 72-page report drawn up by one political party in Turkey has evaluated the impact on Turkey of the crises taking place in Syria and Iraq. The report says that Turkey has spent $5.5 billion from the public purse for Syrian refugees. According to the same report, Turkey has suffered losses of $16.7 billion in four years because of the crises in these two countries. The figure represents expenditure on Syrian refugees, potential export losses and decreased tourism revenues.48
The report evaluates Syrian refugees in strictly economic terms, and regards it as a serious mistake to admit them. However, it is impossible to consider the Syrian refugees who have come to our doorstep, fleeing the terrible humanitarian drama and death in Syria, in terms of statistics and numbers only. The tragedy is a serious one that requires all people of good conscience to help.
It needs to be made clear that Turkey's hospitable attitude toward the Syrians is not the result of any domestic policy or sectarian approach. The greatest proof of that is the fact that Turkey recently admitted Yazidis fleeing from ISIL and previously, Kurds fleeing from Saddam Hussein. Turkey's admission of those in need is therefore nothing new. Similar incidents can be seen in Turkey's more distant past, as well.
Waves of migration that began with the Crimean Tatars in the 1850s were followed by people living in the Caucasus, particularly Georgians and Circassians, as well as people from Dagestan, Chechens and Laz people moving to Anatolia.49 The migrations of the Crimean Tatars that occurred when Tsarist Russia seized the Crimea in 1783 represented the largest wave of migration. Sporadic wars between the Ottoman Empire and Russia until 1890 were the determining factor in Tatar migration.
The Circassian migration was another mass movement that had results at least as dramatic as that of the Crimean Tatars and that influenced the demographic make-up of Anatolia. Some 2.5 million Circassians were forced to migrate in intervals up to the eve of the First World War. A large part of these migrants, however (approximately one million) lost their lives en route.
Many migrants began arriving from Azerbaijan from the early 19th Century onward. Migration was particularly intense during the years 1877-1878. During the First World War alone, some 10,000 more people migrated from Azerbaijan to Anatolia.50
Georgian migration, which began after the 1828–1829 Ottoman-Russian war continued until 1921. The Albanians first came to Anatolia in 1468, and these migrants were adopted by the Ottoman Empire without being exposed to the least discrimination so much so that 35 of the 215 appointed grand viziers in the Ottoman Empire were Albanians. Today, there are thought to be some five million people of Albanian origin in Turkey.51
Migrants to Turkey do not solely consist of those with close ethnic or religious ties to it. Some 100,000 people migrated from Poland from early 1831 onward following the Kingdom of Poland being made part of Russia, and some of these people reached the Ottoman Empire. The Russians and Austrians vehemently demanded the return of the Polish migrants, but the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmajid rejected these demands, saying, "I would rather give up my throne than ever send back those who have sought refuge in my state."52 The Jews also became Ottomans after they were forced out of Europe.
The 18th Century and afterward, when migration became most intense, was also the time when the Ottoman Empire was suffering from particularly serious economic difficulties. Yet even then, the state never said the migrants were a burden and turned them away. Even in the most difficult of times, the Ottoman people and state tried to help migrants as much as their means allowed.
Migration to Anatolia continued after the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, sought shelter in the Republic of Turkey from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Tatarstan, Chechnya, Kazakhstan and Iran. Even though relations at the national level far from optimal, there are still some 12,000 Armenian migrants living in Turkey today.53
Turkish history is full of examples of exemplary behavior toward refugees. Migrants have never been looked down on or despised. It is, quite bluntly, inhuman to turn migrants away on the grounds they represent a burden. There is no difference between that and telling someone who is running outside because his house is on fire, "Why are you running away? Go back inside!"
No matter what their numbers, the Syrian refugees are the brothers of the Turkish people. From the moment they reach Turkish territory they will all be treated as citizens, be they Sunni, Alawite or Kurd. The Turkish people have a moral responsibility to look after them. The Turkish people will put up with any difficulty, if necessary, in that cause. Turkey will not hand anyone over into the clutches of murderers, because such behavior has no place in Turkish history, in Turkish culture, or in the moral values of Islam.
This article was published in Diplomacy Pakistan:
A heart for helping refugees
Arab News, Pakistan Observer & The Malaysian Insider – 27 June 2015
For people sitting comfortably at home, refugees are always the "other people. Five years ago, Syrians might have looked at refugees as the "other people." You never know that maybe within a few years those who treat refugees with contempt will find themselves in the same position. Maybe they will be left with nothing in their hands only to be amazed by the world's insensitivity. Of course we pray that God protect every country from such a tragedy but we also need to remember that none of the 59 million refugees in the world were born that way.
The world marks the World Refugee Day on June 20. This year the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released statistics for 2014, which showed that 59.5 million people in the world are refugees. This is the greatest global refugee crisis since the World War II. The international community has left the host countries to handle the crisis on their own. Only 23 percent of the UN's practical assistance target for Syrian refugees has been achieved. In Africa, only 11 percent of the money needed for refugees has been collected. Africa continues to be regarded as unimportant, and therefore without a solution.
The most effective solution to the refugee crisis would at present seem to be the establishment of safe zones under UN supervision — albeit on a temporary basis — in countries experiencing conflicts. However, the fact that the UN will be unable to transfer money to those regions makes that idea impractical. One solution is for several developed countries to act as guarantors for those safe zones in countries with refugee problems and to help meet their needs. The problem at this stage, however, is to find an upstanding country of good conscience capable of doing that.
It is wrong to imagine that the refugee crisis is limited to people living in tent cities. The numbers and plight of those leaving their homelands for an uncertain future, with no shelter anywhere and facing a terrible humanitarian crisis are astonishing. As of May 31, 1,865 people lost their lives seeking to cross the Mediterranean this year. In Southeast Asia, some 300 people are estimated to have died on boats in the first quarter of 2015. Causes of death include hunger, thirst and violence on the part of the crews. According to the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) officials, women are raped on boats, men are tortured and thrown into the sea and children are abused aboard rickety boats.
Although the international community does not appear very keen on resolving this crisis, some recent measures taken in this regard have raised hopes — Operation Triton being one. Fortunately, the Rohingya crisis has also been recognized as an issue for the first time.
It was German President Gauck who said, "Countries in Europe have a moral duty to save refugees from death in the Mediterranean. We will lose our honor by abandoning people on the waters in front of the gates to our continent."
Currently, the country housing the most refugees, according to the UNHCR report, is Turkey. Outsiders might consider this a huge problem for the country. Yet playing host to our Syrian and Iraqi brothers is an honor for us. God has given us the opportunity to help the persecuted, wretched people. We experienced that same honor when we welcomed Jews fleeing from Spain, Russians fleeing from Stalin and Kurds fleeing from Saddam. That is why we still enjoy those communities' love and prayers. Communities never forget such good deeds as long as they exist. That is because the numbers of those giving them such opportunities have always been very few.
Turkey, a country still striving to develop, has managed to set aside $5.1 billion for refugees. Yet the United Nations, consisting of 193 countries including 7 richest ones in the world, cannot find any money for refugees. Countries are trying to solve the refugee problem, which they could do in a number of ways, solely through military laws intended to deter human trafficking. Instead of finding solutions to the core issues forcing people to abandon their homelands, members of the international community are trying to prevent these unfortunate people from reaching their territories.
A refugee is not a burden, but a guest from God. They are source of pride for Turkey, which is currently housing 2.5 million such guests according to unofficial figures.
This was published in Arab News, Pakistan Observer and The Malaysian Insider:
When conscience fails, children suffer
Middle East Monitor - 3 July 2015
Arthur is a boy living in the West. Arthur is healthy and his family looks after him very well. Even if he gets ill, there is a hospital near their home from which they can get support. His mother takes care of him, ensuring that he eats a proper and balanced diet. He has lots of toys. Even though his life passes by between home and school like many children, he enjoys the time he spends with his friends. He can go outside and play games freely whenever he wants. The biggest dream of 9-year-old Arthur is to be a fighter pilot like his father.
Safi is a boy from Latakia. He is the same age as Arthur; however, his living conditions are very different to Arthur's. While Safi was at school one day, a barrel bomb was dropped on the school building from some airplanes belonging to Syrian regime. A month prior to this incident the windows of his home were shattered from the shockwaves of bombs dropping nearby. Pieces of shrapnel from the bomb at his school have disfigured his face and some remain embedded in his back. He says that among his friends there are some who do not want to play with him because they are scared of the shrapnel wound on his face. Contrary to Arthur, Safi wants to be a doctor. He explains that one day he would like to be able to "help injured children and adults and to save their lives."
This is an extract from the real life story of a Syrian child living in Latakia. Dozens of stories of Syrian children like Safi have been published on the Turkish website of the UN Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).54 In these stories, there are heart-wrenching details about the oppression, exile or massacres these children have experienced.
The number of children orphaned as a result of the civil war in Syria is increasing day by day; the war leaves a very devastating impression on children. According to the last report of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF, the number of children negatively affected by the wars in Iraq and Syria has reached 14 million.55 The number of children remaining in Syria who continue to suffer and need help is 5.6 million; 323,000 of them under the age of five.
More than one million Syrian refugees who escaped from their country consist of children under the age of 11. Antonio Guterres, the high commissioner of UNHCR, recently expressed how serious this figure is in a report in which he claimed that as many Syrian children have been uprooted from their homes or families as the number of children who live in Wales, or in Boston and Los Angeles combined. "Can you imagine Wales without children? Can you imagine Boston and Los Angeles without children?,"56 said Gueterres.
In Syria, 11,525 children under the age of 18 remain in custody. According to the Centre for Documentation of Violations in Syria, 98,823 children have been orphaned as a result of the ongoing conflict.57 According to a report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), 9,500 children are currently imprisoned in Syria.58 The same report also states that 94 children have died as a direct result of torture.
Not only in Syria, but also in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and in many other countries, children and their parents are dying and the number of children being orphaned in war continues to increase. Millions of children cannot go to school, cannot be properly nourished, do not have access to medical services, and live in constant fear for their lives. Even for those children who somehow escaped from the battlefield, many difficulties await them. Most of the children who took refuge in neighboring countries no longer have a home. They do not have any clothes. Nor do they have any personal belongings, toys, schools or friends. Most importantly, they do not have anyone who can show them sincere love, affection and attention.
"These children cannot be protected. They are exposed to sexual abuse, child labor and child marriage. Their future is being stolen from them,"59 says UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt.
The situation of Syrian children has been reduced to a mere footnote in mainstream news stories. People are seeing burned-out and ruined homes, the bodies of bullet-riddled children with bleary eyes. Even if they see the news and photos revealing the misery of war on the Internet, most people do not look at them very often. When they do look, they quickly forget about them; they want to forget about them. That is because for some, there is no problem as long as their own comfort and their own safety are intact.
To post a few sentences on Twitter, to share one or two photos on Facebook, or to write a condemning message is considered entirely adequate. The number of individuals who have made donations to help Syrian refugees has been far less than expected.
People should think about Syrian children as much as they fuss over their own children. Had these people stood up from their chairs, gone to Syria for a couple of days and experienced the terror and horror of the war there, would they still be able to remain this insensitive? Everyone should put selfishness aside and strive to relieve the problems of oppressed people in the world. We should make a great effort to extend love, peace, brotherhood, justice, affection, and compassion all over the world.
Above all else, we should realize that ideologies and ambitions that render the conscience so blind as to let them torture children to death should be silenced intellectually – yet instead the powers attempt to wipe them out with drones, bombs and missiles. We should appeal to people's consciences by explaining that no matter how important personal or national interests are, they simply cannot be more precious than human life, especially that of a child.
This article was published in Middle East Monitor:
Events of global shame
Arab News – 3 July 2015
Two important events in June are reminders of two genocides. The first is the Rwanda massacre, which has gone down in history as the worst documented genocide, and the second is the drama of Srebrenica.
World leaders remember both with their heads bowed. 'We should never have allowed it,' they say, but it happened anyway.
Let us travel back in time. On April 7, 1995, the Rwandan Army, largely made up of Hutus, embarked on the genocide of the Tutsi minority in the country, and the world sat back and merely watched one of the worst slaughters of the century. The concept of a 'superior race,' one of the major obsessions and worst frauds of materialist thinking, was applied to the people of Rwanda, who had lived together in peace for many years.
Sections in Europe who produced ideas based on race claimed that the people living in the area of Rwanda were an intermediate race between the Aryan race and an inferior race. For that reason, the Hutus began regarding the Tutsis as not true Rwandans and to think of them as related to the colonialists from European countries who constantly humiliated and exploited them. We all know what came next; rarely has history seen such ruthless and ghastly slaughter. In just 100 days, 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were ferociously slaughtered. During the slaughter, which came to an end in July, the UN Peace Force was withdrawn on the pretext of death of 10 soldiers, and even the former colonial powers in the region just watched this genocide everyone knew was coming. It was followed by Francois Mitterand's disastrous statement that he gave to French daily, Le Figaro, on Jan 12, 1998, saying, "Genocide in that country is not so very important."
Another terrible act of genocide happened on June 11, 1995.
During the Bosnian War, the city of Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina was declared a safe zone by the UN. People in the war zone flooded this 'safe zone,' and a city with a pre-war population of 20,000 came to house 60,000. Dutch troops charged with protecting the region handed over to the Serbs the city and 25,000 people who were seeking their protection at the command of Dutch General Thom Karremans, commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force. The slaughter that went on for a week left behind the most awful picture of genocide, one in which no allowance was made for women or children. To date, 64 mass graves connected with the massacre have been identified. The search for more is still going on.
This massacre, which took place before the eyes of the 400-member Dutch Peacekeeping Force charged with protecting the region, is commemorated every July with declarations of apology from officials from European countries and UN representatives. The UN was too feeble even to protect this 'safe zone' under its control.
Could the worst genocide in history, that in Rwanda, not have been prevented by the secret forces in charge of the region? Was the UN, represented by 193 countries, really too feeble to protect the little region like Srebrenica with two F-16s and a commanding officer who handed over the local people to the Serbs? Of course, not. That is why they hang their heads as they recall these scenes of savagery.
Back to the present day. History is clearly repeating itself. A similar genocide is now taking place on an even larger scale in Syria. Some 300,000 people have died there in the last four years, 1.2 million have been injured and 11 million people have been forced from their homes. Although some European countries have reported the use of chemical weapons, torture and deliberate bombing of civilian areas, many countries are just watching what is happening. The place the reports are delivered to is again the UN, where 193 countries are represented. Yet UN is unable to find a solution to the refugees fleeing the country or to establish safe zones, let alone find a solution to the genocide in the country. Of course it would be wrong to blame the US, European countries or the UN directly when it comes to Syria. However, it still appears that in some people's eyes, 'Genocide in that country is not so very important.'
Were it not for self-interest, and if such materialist obsessions as 'superior races' were not still prevalent in European countries in particular, and if 'humanity' were a matter of greater urgency than political maneouvering, then there is no doubt that the picture in Rwanda, Bosnia and Syria would be very different. In that event, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council would be quite capable of taking a joint decision over each tragedy, and the billions spent on fun or just frittered away would be spent on the refugees instead.
Safe zones would be set up at once and a global deterrent force against the threat ravaging the country would be established. Maybe the problem lies in expecting the UN or the super powers to do everything. In order to avoid seeing further genocide and heads bowed low in the future, rational people need to come together and constitute a force whose voice can be heard, rather than leaving decisions affecting the world up to just five countries.
This article was published in Arab News:
Will Europe pass the refugee test?
The Jakarta Post & The Malaysian Insider
3 September 2015
Last week we saw tragic images from Macedonia of refugees trying to cross the border. Thousands of poor people massed on the frontier maybe never imagined they would be met with violence from the Macedonian police or razor wire intended to stop them crossing. These people had fled countries where wars were taking place and set off on voyages of death on bow-up boats to Greece. The words roll easily off the tongue, but more than 2000 migrants have died on the Mediterranean, the main scene of this activity. Just as they were rejoicing at having made it, those refugees managing to complete the voyage of death never expected to be welcomed in such a way by an EU country.
We are speaking about Syrian, Eritrean, Somalian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees headed for Germany in order to guarantee their lives. They have left their countries, not for a better life or due to poverty, but to survive. The words of one young refugee from the Macedonian border town of Gevgelija clarify the situation: "Any country is better than my country. In my country, there is war and killings." Risking death to escape death is a huge statement of despair, yet sad to say, few people living in comfort may realize this.
Europe is now being tested on this subject. Although voices of good conscience are being raised and the great majority of European people rush to help the refugees, some European leaders still seem not to have realized that the 'refugees' are not a problem, but an obligation. The failure of Great Britain, France and Germany to agree on a solution and the rejection by European countries of proposed solutions from Brussels have made the situation much worse. Each EU country is determined to allow in only a limited number of refugees. The quota proposed by the EU suggested that the 28 member countries would receive numbers of refugees based on their own economies and populations. However, this has been shelved due to countries objecting to the numbers. While Hungary has been constructing a giant wall to prevent migrants entering the country, other countries, such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic, have again revealed the terrifying scale of the European refugee crisis by announcing they will only take limited numbers of 'Christian' migrants. Although Slovakia has since retracted this, these words from Slovak Prime Minister Roberto Fico, who rejected a request from the EU to accept 1100 migrants, is truly pitiful: "I have but one question. Who bombed Libya and caused the problems in North Africa? Slovakia? No."
It was the U.S. that started the Afghan war, and the Baath regime that started the war in Syria. Yet neither Pakistan nor Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan ever asked who started the war as they admitted almost 6 million refugees. Those countries were aware that they were looking at a humanitarian crisis. Turkey is currently the country that has admitted the most refugees in the world. This flow of refugees, 1.6 million according to official figures or 2.5 million unofficially, is without doubt a problem for Turkey, whose revenues are much lower than those of European countries. Yet Turkey never made that problem felt to anyone. Nobody ever thought about the great responsibility undertaken by Turkey as it spent $6 billion from its own budget on refugees and allowed 350,000 refugees a day into the country during the assault on Kobani. Yet the outcry in Europe now is all over just 107,000 refugees who have arrived in the area since July. Twenty-eight countries with some of the strongest economies in the world refuse to assume responsibility for looking after 107,000 people.
Readers will remember that this conflict also broke out of the dispersal of just 40,000 migrants in recent months, and no results were achieved. European Parliament Group Chairman Gianni Pittella said this on the subject:
The fact that Member States have failed to reach an agreement on the relocation of just 40,000 refugees after five months is ludicrous... While certain EU Member States bicker over whether to take 250 or 500 refugees, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have taken over 3.5 million. This is both a testament to these countries' humanity and solidarity and an indictment of Europe's lack of either. How can we still claim humanitarian leadership in the world in the face of such numbers?60
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi reacted in a similar manner: ''If you do not agree with the figure of 40,000 asylum seekers you do not deserve to call yourself Europeans. If this is your idea of Europe, you can keep it. Either there's solidarity or don't waste our time."61
Europe's fear that the flow of refugees in the world might also end in terrorists reaching it is certainly understandable. Yet there is a solution to it; it would be easy enough to establish refugees' identities and settlement. However, to forget that wretched people who have fled their own countries are human and to regard them as a burden, while demanding that others accept 'greater share of that burden,' may turn into a terrible tragedy that may debase Europe's own societies at any moment. Europe can only achieve true civilization when it regards refugees fleeing death as guests from God and looks on the subject, not as a problem, but as an opportunity to contribute to humanity. Lovely Europe, with its fine people, democracy and culture, must be a union of freedom and civilization that put humanity above all else, rather than a union of an elite focused on enrichment. The main way of achieving that is to abandon the primitive mindset that classifies people on the basis of their race, religion or way of life. One of Europe's worst historic errors was because of that mindset, and the time has now come to make amends.
This article was published in The Jakarta Post and The Malaysian Insider:
Condemning refugees to death
Arab News - 5 September 2015
Piles of human bodies in the back of a truck may be one of the worst signs of how humanity has atrophied for some people. Last week we awoke to reports that 71 migrants had suffocated to death in a truck. Nobody knows how those who crammed these people into boats or trucks were able to live their lives normally. Were these distressed people really that worthless in the eyes of those who only think about making money?
The public held a commemoration ceremony in Budapest following the death of those 71 people. The aim was to ensure the incident is not forgotten and to draw attention to the human traffickers. At that same time people found themselves speechless in the face of bodies of children being washed up on the Libyan shore. This time it was not the war but human traffickers who killed those defenseless people and that too before the very eyes of Europe.
Europe is facing the worst migrant crisis since the WWII and unfortunately, it is failing the test. Last year, Europe hit the headlines when it decided to cease helping refugees fighting for survival on the high seas. But now the refugee problem has become too great to permit such ruthless decisions to be taken. Last month, readers may recall, the 28 members of the EU struggled with each other to "not to" allow refugees in their countries. Members of the EU, with some of the world's largest economies must be acting out of the idea that "the fewer the refugees there are, the better I will grow and protect my own line," and regard sheltering large numbers of migrants as an ethical and economic burden.
The increasing number of people seeking refuge in Europe has forced EU countries to take steps in this regard. The establishment of a camp for refugees on the Macedonian border in the wake of acts of violence along the border last week and the German decision to admit Syrian refugees and not to deport them are of course reasons to rejoice. However, Merkel has also issued a warning: "If we don't succeed in fairly distributing refugees, then of course the Schengen question will be on the agenda for many," she says. The Schengen agreement allows freedom of movement among most EU countries. These words may appear quite justified bearing in mind that most refugees and migrants seek to go to Germany. Yet one cannot refrain from asking, did Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon, which have currently admitted more than four million refugees, insist that they be fairly distributed among the countries of the Middle East? Of course, not. The people seeking shelter behind our borders are wretched people seeking to save their lives in the face of war. And we have a responsibility to take care of them for God's approval. Contrary to what some Europeans think, we regard this as an opportunity to grow and improve ourselves and acquire depth.
Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, is one of the harsh critics of Europe's refugee policy. It was Schulz who said, "Some Europeans are making a grave error as the Mediterranean turns into a mass grave."
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius described some European countries' refusal to accept refugees as a scandal. Fabius also criticized Hungary's decision to put razor wire along the border to halt the flow of refugees as "incompatible with the values of the EU." But what are those EU values? Are they based on growth and development, or on humanity? If humanity is more to the fore, then Europe should never have initiated this fight over refugees, which is surely a blot on its perceived reputation. Of course, we need to exclude some European politicians and most of the people of Europe from this. Many politicians have stood up for the refugees, and the people of Europe are making efforts to protect them. Although anti-migrant incidents have taken place in Germany, the great majority of people have condemned these, and thousands are known to have attended "welcome to refugees" activities.
Of course, the difference between migrants and refugees, which has been much discussed of late, needs to be considered. People fleeing wars and oppression and unable to return to their own countries are defined as refugees. These people are protected under international statute by a convention dating back to 1951 and cannot be forced to return home. Migrants, on the other hand, are people who are not persecuted in their own countries and who head to other countries in search of a better life. At this time of great upheaval, it is of course natural for countries to give refugees priority over migrants under these definitions. Indeed, the regulations in some European countries already ensure that. But when it comes to Europe, the position of the Balkan countries, which are sending on the greatest numbers of migrants, cannot be ignored.
The first stage in the resolution of this problem is to consider the requests on the part of some Balkan countries to speed up EU negotiations and for various measures to be adopted accordingly. Because what we want to see in Europe, is not countries wracked by poverty, but Europe growing and developing together. We must not forget that this is the true aim of the European Union.
There may be those who are thinking, "How can the EU possibly do all that?" The EU does have the means to do it. Anyone who is interested can have a look at Turkey, a country in a far weaker economic position as compared with many European countries and which has assumed the responsibility for taking care of all refugees' needs. Such sacrifice would also return to European countries in the form of a fine moral value. Europe just needs the will to take some concrete measure to help these refugees.
This article was published in the Arab News:
The European refugee crisis: Only if there were some empathy
Albanian Daily News - 7 September 2015
On August the 28th, the world opened its eyes to a truly heart-wrenching tragedy. This was an unprecedented incident that became a milestone in the refugee crisis striking the Europe for a while: a total of 71 Syrian refugees - 59 men, eight women and four children - including a young one-year-old girl among them – were found dead in a truck abandoned on an Austrian motorway.
71 people who had to leave behind their homes, neighborhoods, jobs, relatives, dreams and hopes only to be crammed into an air-tight truck used for frozen chicken. A misery that makes you feel a tug on your heartstrings when one thinks of those mothers, grandfathers and toddlers who genuinely deserve an honorable and safe life, as befits any other person in this world. However the war-torn countries in the Middle East leave these desperate people not a lot of choices other than opting for a perilous journey in the hope of reaching Europe.
With this gruesome incident, the refugee crisis in Europe took a new turn with the European leaders' immediate attention turning to it. At the Vienna Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a personal remark saying that she was deeply shaken by the awful news. She stated, "This reminds us that we in Europe need to tackle the problem quickly and find solutions in the spirit of solidarity."
However, the way in which some European governments handled the surge in migrants thus far has presented an overall offensive portrait. Some governments have refused to accept refugees while others declined to agree to European Union proposals for a common plan to overcome the crisis.
The practices of some governments, on the other hand, were "inhumane" in the truest sense of the word: The Hungarian police fired tear gas at refugees trying to overcome the barriers and enter the EU-member state. On the Greek Island of Kos, on the other hand, police sprayed fire extinguishers at migrants and hit them with batons. In a stadium where up to 2,500 migrants were locked for 24 hours with no – or very little – food or water, the riot police used sonic grenades to maintain order among mothers with children and elderly people waiting for immigration papers. The UN refugee agency called the way the Greek government responded the migrants "totally shameful." The International humanitarian-aid organization Doctors Without Borders [Médecins Sans Frontières] also confirmed that the majority of migrants do not have access to basic hygiene facilities and are subjected to abuse by police.
The practices of the governments were not only criticized by the humanitarian-aid organizations. The French Foreign Minister Laureant Fabius raised his voice against the policies of the eastern European states, and particularly slammed Hungary for having a "scandalous" migrant policy. He said Hungary was going against the values of the European Union by the fence it's building along its border with Serbia to prevent migrants from gaining access to the passport-free Schengen Zone.
The only thing these desperate people, compelled to flee their war-stricken countries, expected was a welcome. What they faced instead was abuse and ill-treatment by their host countries' police officers and border guards.
While addressing the refugee crisis, the host countries must keep one important fact in mind:
This world is not a safe haven for any one. No matter who he is or where he lives, every individual in this world is vulnerable to any ordeal at any time. Be it natural or man-made, a disaster or an unexpected accident may wreck havoc on a person's life at any moment. When faced with such an ordeal, a person who is in the position of extending a helping hand can suddenly find himself in a state of need. That is why 'the spirit of solidarity' that Chancellor Merkel spoke of is one key value that will overcome the refugee problem that Europe has faced today.
Rather than any material or financial power, it is love, kindness, cooperation and empathy that will drive people and nations to offer help to the needy. Love sees no obstacles. Empathy does not excuse any pretexts when helping the needy is the issue.
All the crises in the world can be overcome, only if we have some love for other human beings in this world.
This article was published in Albanian Daily News:
The priority in Libya must be to establish love and affection between the blocs: consensus will then come naturally
Diplomacy Pakistan - 18 September 2015
Libya is one of the most critically important countries on the African continent. It possesses significant natural gas, oil and underground water reserves. It is also in the middle of the continent's trade routes. When conflict began in 2011 the country had no foreign debts and enjoyed a decent economic state of affairs.
Libya, which gained importance due to its tribes, is now endangered by the same tribalism today. Tribes on the African continent extend right down as far as the South African border: Tribal conflicts therefore affect a large number of countries, from Senegal to Chad and Sudan. The overthrow of Gaddafi triggered an eruption of tribalism and regionalism in the country. Several countries that share borders and interact with Libya are today looking at Libya with grave concern.
The UN played an important role in the birth of the Libyan problem in 2011. Although the Arab Spring might appear to be the reason for the current state of affairs, the truly significant date for Libya was March 18th, 2011. It was on that day that the UN Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya and agreed to permit military operations against the country. The UN intervention brought about the end of Gaddafi's regime and led to a bloody domestic conflict between the tribes that would persist for years.
Libya today is wracked by civil war, conflict, radicalism, political instability, inter-tribal fighting and economic problems. No healthy government has been established since Gaddafi, and the governments that have been formed have existed largely on paper, contributing nothing to the country.
A violent civil war is today raging in the country. There is one administration in Tobruk and another in Tripoli, while numerous independent forces such as ISIL, Fajr Libya and the Misrata Military Council act as local authorities in Benghazi and the surrounding area.
Two main blocs emerged from the June 2014 elections in Libya, where political and military turmoil are a part of daily life. These have their own parliaments, governments, armies and economic forces. The balance of power and positions within the country of both sides are essentially equivalent to one another. A more detailed examination, however, shows that no one can win this struggle and that it will ultimately be Libyan society that loses and of course, the ISIL factor must also be added to the two forces striving for supremacy in Libya.
The continuing instability, conflict and political infighting in Libya have strengthened those who draw power from war as well as radicalism. With the addition of warlords and radical groups, the situation in Libya, already difficult to solve, has become even more intractable.
The groups supposedly fighting on behalf of the country routinely target Libya's strategically important oil pipelines, airports, roads and ports. Through their attacks on town centers they are also destroying infrastructure such as water and sewage disposal, of vital importance to the people. Civilian deaths have begun rising as a result of ongoing armed fighting in the city centers.
Sad to say, oil and natural gas production in the country, which is in fact quite resource-rich, is almost at a standstill. Despite their resources and wealth, some regions have even had to begin importing oil and natural gas.
It was the UN decision to intervene in 2011 that has brought Libya to the position in which it is today. The UN has now bestirred itself and is trying to unite the different sides because the surrounding countries are now being affected, and particularly Europe owing to the impact of a wave of migration, the biggest mass movement of people since the Second World War. But how successful can it be in doing that?
The UN wishes to bring together the two main powers in the country, the House of Representatives in Tobruk and the General National Congress in Tripoli; these two are the most settled of the various administrations in the country. However, since they lack full authority, even in the areas which they control, their impact on the local tribes and militias is minimal at best. That raises the question of what the other groups will do even if these two come to an agreement.
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya held a series of meetings between the sides in Skhirat, Morocco, as a result of which 18 of the 22 groups in Libya signed a political agreement on July 11th, 2015. Although the Tobruk House of Representatives signed this agreement, the General National Congress did not. However, the fact that it comprised 18 of the 22 represented a ray of hope for the UN.
The people of Libya cannot see a way ahead now. They possess some of the richest resources in the world, yet they face widespread poverty and hunger. Ordinary people trapped in a conflict between the 22 groups are risking death to flee to neighboring countries, and particularly to Europe.
Another noteworthy factor in Libya is that radical Islamists are going stronger by the day, especially in Benghazi.
The UN hopes that the talks it initiated in Morocco will bear fruit by October. Yet it is questionable how permanent any result achieved by the UN will be.
Peace has never come to any country in which the UN has supposedly brought about a complete cessation of conflict. No country in which peace is only established on paper can grow and develop unless peace is also established in people's hearts. The clearest example of this is Bosnia during the disintegration of Yugoslavia. We cannot forget the role of the UN in what happened in the past in Bosnia and in its current troubles.
The UN's endeavors to bring peace to the country are supremely well-intentioned, and for that, they should be praised; but the failure to produce any ideas or projects for a lasting peace remains a glaring deficiency. Bringing representatives of different tribes and different authorities together by giving them rank and titles and positions will do nothing for the country, as we saw in the example of Bosnia, and will simply make the running of the country impossible.
If peace and tranquility are to be established in Libya, it is essential for the different sides to relinquish their desire for authority and hegemony, and to think of the country and the people instead. Instead of thinking "I must not lose what I have got," they must start thinking along the lines of "We can live much better together if we do this or that."
If the tribes, who lived for so long devoid of love during the Gaddafi era are to blend, then a concept of mutual love and affection must first be constructed in the country. Written agreements will be useful only when mutual understanding and friendship is built among the tribes.
The UN's priority in Libya must therefore be to build love and affection among the blocs. The rest will follow naturally.
This article was published in Diplomacy Pakistan:
Refugees with no great expectation
Tehran Times - 21 September 2015
The whole world was shaken as the image of a cute little boy named Aylan appeared and circulated through social media in the past weeks. His little body, found by a Turkish soldier on the shores of Bodrum, made a profound impact upon the whole world. Some governments or peoples who were indifferent to the civil war in Syria and who largely turned a blind eye to the poor refugees escaping from this horror finally focused on Syria after a long time. Aylan was a symbol of humanity; everyone felt empathy imagining that Aylan could have been their own child. His cute photo haunted everyone, and even government officials who were ignoring the demands of refugees accepted the Syrian refugees with tears and applause. This tragic event is not something one would ever want, yet this cute little boy showed once again that there is still humanity left in this cruel world we are living in.
The conditions in the neighboring countries
95% of the people fleeing the warzones in Syria took refuge in its three neighboring countries: Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, all of which embraced them even though their economic situation is not very developed. They believe it is a humane and religious obligation to welcome those in need. However, as the war is still continuing and indeed, escalating, families keep on leaving their homeland by the thousands. Yet the problems of these people who sought refuge in other neighbor states do not end by only leaving the war. Some begin to live in refugee camps that are in very harsh conditions and others live in other unstable and unsafe environments.
For example, refugees in Jordan can't find aid due to the fact that the UN has run out of donations. If refugees can't find the necessary funds to survive and to feed their children, then they will move to other areas. Thus, they are forced to make very tough decisions, not with great expectations, but with the hope of finding food and a shelter for their families. If they get a sufficient amount of assistance and have a stable life in these countries, they would never leave. But they are crossing the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas on a deadly journey to reach Europe as the ultimum remedium. Additionally, some families prefer to return back to Syria at the potential cost of their lives and the figures returning to war zone doubled since the cuts began in Jordan.
Difficulties refugees face in Europe
The difficulty does not end for these people who decide to move to another country. They have to start a long journey with no guarantee of reaching to the European shores alive. It is very disturbing to note that during the last two years, of the asylum seekers who fled to Europe by boat, many lost their lives to the sea. The fortunate ones who are able to put their feet on the European shores are not always welcome by some of these European countries.
We have all seen many disturbing videos about the way these innocent people are treated by some Westerners in the social media lately. In Hungary, a camerawoman kicked and tripped a Syrian refugee carrying his child; this caused great anger in the public and the camerawoman had to apologize for her actions and was ultimately fired from her job. It is not the only embarrassing footage we saw in the media; hundreds of refugees have forced their way through police lines near the Serbian border with Hungary where they were forcibly held in camps and were fingerprinted by the police, even though all they wanted was to cross the border to reach Germany or Scandinavia, where assistance for refugees is considerably higher. What's worse, the Hungarian officers were filmed throwing sandwiches over the crowd of refugees and forcing them to scramble for food. It is injurious to contemplate the mistreatment shown to these needy people.
To crown it all, some states in Europe, namely Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and France, are building razor-wire fences to prevent the refugees from entering their countries. Keep in mind that these refugees are not dangerous terrorists or vicious criminals, and all they want is to stay alive. We have to put ourselves in their own shoes. They are running away from war zones with the hope of surviving in other countries but what happens when they get there is unacceptable. Even though a very cover amount of refugees compared to Germany and other nations were asked to stay in some of the Eastern European countries, they are not pleased with this decision. While Hungary's Prime Minister Victor Orban calls this crisis a "rebellion by illegal migrants", Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico says they would only accept Christians. It is surprising how the Europeans easily forget the refugee crisis they experienced over history owing to the wars in Europe. They faced the same problems these poor, innocent people experience now. For instance, in the Thirty Years' War, probably one-third of the population of the Czech lands fled to other parts of Europe and certainly during the World War I and II vast number of people was internally displaced.
An amicable solution for the refugees
An amicable solution is necessary for this problem; building walls and razor-wire fences trying to keep people out will not generate a positive solution. It is important to form public consensus because people at the grassroots level can make an enormous difference now through social media as we saw in the example of England. At first, the government did not want to take in any refugees but due to the influence of public opinion, it changed its policy very swiftly. Nowadays people can influence their politicians in democratic ways and use their rights to protest in a positive way. Thus, it is essential to raise awareness in the public. The international asylum act seems quite reasonable - theoretically - but it is not as it seems when it is put into action because every member state of the EU does not act in the same way and when there is no cooperation, we cannot have a sound result.
There is no doubt it is essential to hold official meetings and discussions in order to formulate the laws in terms of refugees to provide them the proper assistance and protection. But what is more important is to remember that it is a human duty. Refugees should never be considered as a burden but rather as guests from God. They have no other option but to leave behind everything they possess simply to save their lives.
Furthermore, it would be a great contribution to make donations to the UN so that those taking refuge in neighboring countries will indeed get the aid they need to survive. It is also important to allow them to get to work so that they may be able to carry on their lives in a positive fashion. We must bear in mind that refugees would not leave those neighboring countries they've sought refuge in if they had stable lives. Of course, beyond all that, if we join forces to stop this calamitous civil war and establish peace - especially in the Middle East - then none of these refugees would be experiencing any of these difficulties.
This article was published in Tehran Times:
Walls cannot be a solution to security issues
Iran Daily, Ahlul Bayt News Agency,
Islamic Republic News Agency & The Daily Mail - 23 September 2015
Horrible accounts of grisly murders, shocking stories of mass killings in different parts of the world, are heartbreaking for all. Millions of innocent people have to struggle on a daily basis to stay alive, while millions others face harsh persecution and oppression. Terrorism continues to claim the lives of thousands of civilians throughout the world every year.
One would expect the world to unite to stop this madness and bring peace instead, but quite surprisingly, the world seems to have pinned its hopes on more armament. The most important reason behind this interesting phenomenon is the personal, social and inter-communal moral degeneracy and a persistently hateful and selfish attitude that has begun to engulf the world. Even Africa, many countries of which are struggling with hunger on a daily basis, is spending all it has on weapons as a bitter reminder of this disturbing reality.
Today, security is a problem that haunts the entire world, for which countries spend billions of dollars. The situation is so grim that millions of refugees who are fleeing for their lives from wars, conflicts, fear, persecution, poverty and insecurity are considered a "security problem" in many parts of the world.
Walls built along the borders are amongst the measures taken by many to address the security issues. For instance, many European countries, the top destination for illegal immigrants due to its relative proximity, have already put up walls along their borders. It is estimated that by the end of 2015, more than one million refugees will have entered Europe. Many immigrants try to reach Europe via Turkey and Greece. Struggling with the needs of the increasing immigrants, Greece decided to put up wire fences along its border around Maritza; Bulgaria also put up a 160 km wire fence along its borders.
The reaction on the part of Hungary and Croatia to the migrants and refugees seeking to cross to Germany by train has attracted criticism from across the world. Hungary, which has already erected a wall to prevent migrants entering the country from Serbia, has now said it will erect a similar wall between it and Croatia. Thousands of migrants, predominantly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, are arriving in Hungary, by crossing first to Greece and moving from there to Serbia.
UN officials say that the flow of migrants to Europe will continue so long as conditions in Syria and Iraq are not improved, and that the essential solution lies in humanitarian aid. The UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, issued the following statement on the subject: "Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe."62
Then, there are countries that are using walls to protect themselves from terrorism in neighboring countries. For example, Saudi Arabia will build a thousand kilometer-long wall between towns of Turaif and Hafar el Batin. It will also put up walls along its borders with Yemen as a protective measure. Kenya began to erect walls along its border with Somalia to prevent the spillover of Al-Shabaab fighters.
Turkmenistan also announced that it would build a wall along its border with Afghanistan to keep the Taliban at bay and has begun the process of building a 745 kilometer-long wall.
In the ongoing crisis with Russia, Ukraine has decided to ensure its security through walls along its borders. Accordingly, it is going to erect a two thousand kilometer-long wall along its Russian border with 100 million Euro in financial aid from the European Union. This wall will be reinforced with barbed wires, mines and electric fences.
Israel has also built walls and checkpoints between the West Bank and Palestine on the grounds of security concerns. Remote controlled weapons are also in place to make sure that no one gets close to the walls.
The list can go on. The basic idea behind these walls go back to the giant walls erected by the Roman Empire in the First Century AD and the Great Wall of China - the longest defensive wall in the world - as well as the infamous Berlin Wall. However, attempts to achieve the much sought-after peace these walls were built for failed as well.
We should remember that the basic requirement for peace and security and order is love, compassion, friendship and brotherhood and that without friendship, without solidarity and love, there can be no peace, nor acceptance of different ideas or thoughts. In such a world, people will forget about love, compassion and understanding and will want to keep away from each other through walls instead of trying to understand and reconcile with each other. However, in a world of love, things will be different.
In that world, people will lovingly embrace different races, colors, faiths and cultures, offer safe shelter to refugees who fled for their lives while kindly helping them get rid of their shortcomings, if any.
The leaders of the world can play a great role in ensuring this. They can pioneer a unifying, peaceful, loving spirit while emphasizing love, compassion, unity, solidarity, friendship and brotherhood.
With this language of love, refugee crises, wars and conflicts, the global threats due to terrorism and violence will finally come to an end. It is high time that people understand that problems cannot be solved by erecting walls, by arming oneself to the teeth, or by deploying more troops; in other words, merely through military solutions.
These issues can be solved through educational policies based on love, compassion and humanity. We hope that this century will at long last see the end of hatred, tension and conflict as the light of love, peace, friendship and security shines through the darkness of today.
This article was published in Iran Daily, Ahlul Bayt News Agency, Islamic Republic News Agency and The Daily Mail:
Refugees not a threat, but an important asset for Europe
The Burma Times - 10 October 2015
The lifeless body of three-year old Aylan, a Syrian refugee that washed up on a beach in recent weeks, suddenly became the symbol of the awakening conscience of many European societies.
Right before the shocking pictures of Aylan went viral, many parts of the Western world, most notably Europe, were dominated by cruel, selfish and discriminative policies towards refugees that are impossible to reconcile with the spirit of humanity. Shameful remarks and disturbing practices targeting these downtrodden people had been commonplace before Aylan.
Some Central European countries, which pioneered this shameful attitude and that stood en route to the destination of the refugees, shocked the world with their outrageous behavior towards the refugees, which were regrettably reminiscent of the practices of tyrannies such as Hitler.
Immediately after Aylan's pictures were published around the world, a serious shift in tone towards the refugees became obvious in the Western world. Many media outlets, government members and politicians started condemning the poor treatment of refugees, reflecting this new sentiment.
The passage of refugees was facilitated and obstacles were removed to a large extent. Various countries said that they were ready to do their part in the acceptance of the refugees. The refugees and European societies grew closer as many people expressed their desire to host refugees in their homes.
Particularly Germany, while previously known for its rigid stance against refugees, in an admirable volte-face, announced that it would accept 800,000 or so refugees.
Regrettably, this positive picture didn't last long. The world was shocked by a video of a Hungarian camerawoman, Petra Laszlo, kicking a refugee girl and tripping another Syrian refugee man named Mohsen, who was carrying his seven-year old son Zaid.
As thousands of refugees fleeing war tried to pass through Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary to get to Germany and the North European countries, some Central European countries, in the words of the Guardian, 'turned ugly'.
According to the Guardian, Hungary sent armored vehicles to its border with Croatia and the Slovenian police sealed many crossings on its border with Croatia and stopped hundreds of Syrian and Afghan refugees, which included infants, toddlers, women and the elderly, by using 'pepper spray'.63
It was also reported that the number of Hungarian soldiers and police officers that tried to stop the refugees with pepper spray and water cannons on a border that had a 175 km, 4 m tall barbed wire fence, was actually higher than the number of the refugees.64
The Hungarian Parliament, after allowing the army to take action to stop the refugee influx, also allowed the use of plastic bullets and pepper spray against them if they tried to cross the border.
In other words, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government were treating these people like an enemy army; these people were actually nothing but wretched refugees that just wished to pass through his country while trying to get to their destination. These people were in a state of complete desolation and exhaustion, without any drink and food, were fleeing from barrel bombs, from drowning at high seas, with their children and families. Naturally, this behavior sparked huge outcry.
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic described Hungary's measures as 'incomprehensible' and said that sealing the border with Croatia would be the same as 'killing people'.65
Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic, criticized Hungary for being 'cruel' and 'acting in a non-European manner' and asked the EU to intervene. Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta also weighed in on the subject and said: "Barbed wires, dogs, police and guns… These remind me of the Europe of 1930s. Were we able to solve the refugee problem with these? No, we couldn't."66
Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, reminded Hungary of 200,000 Hungarians that sought refuge in Europe after WWII and said that Hungary should treat the Syrians the way they were treated back then.67
Ban Ki-Moon, the General Secretary of the UN, said that he was shocked at the way the refugees were being reated at the European countries' borders and said: "Every country has internal problems. But they still need to help refugees crossing through their lands. This is what international law requires. More importantly, humanity requires this."
It seems that 'practices required by humanity' is simply not amongst the top priorities of many EU countries. Inger Støjberg, Minister for Integration of Denmark, which was one of the first countries that objected to the plan of resettling 160,000 refugees across various European countries, said that they will not be a part of this plan and will not accept any refugees.68
At this point, there is a clear discrepancy between the compassionate and welcoming attitude of the majority of Europeans and most of the European administrations that act in a cruel, selfish and inhumane way reminiscent of the Dark Ages. It is vital that the European people elect leaders that will be their true representatives and that such representatives are sensitive to human rights and humanitarian values.
Given the fact that, despite its economic situation, Turkey welcomed more than two million refugees, the EU, with a population of over 500 million, can easily distribute a couple of million refugees across the continent in a controlled, simple and rational manner.
In fact, as Germany is getting ready to accept 800,000 refugees by itself; the only thing that needs to be done is helping these poor people that are trying to get there and facilitate their journey. And those administrations that refuse to do so should at least stop preventing them from transiting and causing them physical and mental harm.
The fact that Europe's 'employable' qualified youth population is dwindling by the day is a looming danger for Europe. Indeed, statistics reveal the fact if an urgent immigration boost doesn't come, the total population and workforce potential - especially in Germany - will fall dramatically by 2060.
It is important that EU countries take this important fact into consideration and see the refugees, the majority of whom are qualified, skilled, and university educated people, not as a problem, but as an opportunity and a blessing.
This article was published in The Burma Times:
What will election victory bring to the people of Rohingya?
New Straits Times - 14 November 2015
This column has frequently spoken of the drama of the people of Myanmar. It has many times described how in the wake of the clashes in 2012, Rohingya Muslims were exposed to genocide, abandoned on the high seas while trying to escape the country in rickety boats, had their Myanmar citizenship taken away and were deprived of their human rights. Those aware of the drama of the Rohingya Muslims will realize what the general election in Myanmar last week will mean to these people.
Myanmar has recently emerged from a junta regime lasting some 50 years. Although elections in 2010 in theory put an end to the military regime in question, the presence of a junta that backed the ruling party could still always be felt. Last week's elections, however, resulted in a major success for the NLD, under the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. However, that great success does not mean that the country is now fully democratic. While the people choose 75% of the deputies who will now enter parliament, the remaining 25% are appointed by the military. It therefore appears impossible for the leading party in Parliament to be able to get laws through Parliament or introduce reforms. It can be seen that every step toward renewal will be vetoed by the military.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a leader who in fact emerged victorious from the 1990 elections. Despite obtaining an 80% majority in Parliament, the junta refused to recognize the election results and sentenced Suu Kyi to house imprisonment. She spent 15 years imprisoned, until 2010.
Although the junta has now in theory come to an end, there are still worries that Suu Kyi's success will again be met by a coup. Although Thein Sein, who took over from the junta regime in 2010, says, "We must accept our voters' desire," many analysts still think that the military will hold Sein's moderate views responsible for this unexpected outcome and will make their displeasure felt.69
But what do these results mean for the people of Rohingya?
Let us go back to before the elections. Following the clashes that broke out in 2012 and ended in the deaths of hundreds of Rohingya people in the country, many Rohingya Muslims were forced from their homes and workplaces and taken into refugee camps. The Myanmar government prevented them from moving within the country and receiving services such as health and education. At the beginning of the year the government revoked their identity documents, alleging that the Muslim minority were not Myanmar citizens. The Rohingya Muslims were therefore unable to stand or vote on this year's November elections. As a result, for the first time, there are no Muslims in the Myanmar Parliament.
While the Rohingya people are pleased at the fall of the existing regime, they are also not entirely happy with Aung San Suu Kyi, of whom they had high hopes in the past. The main reason for this is the way that she avoided using the term "Rohingya" and refused to visit areas with Rohingya populations during the election campaign. It did not escape attention that she glossed over the subject whenever Rohingya was mentioned and described the question of minority rights as a 'sensitive issue' that should be treated 'very carefully.'70
Many Rohingya criticize that as a policy adopted in order to avoid losing the Buddhist vote. Looking at the general condition in the country from the outside and as a whole, this political maneuver can be interpreted in different ways.
It is always hard in a country ruled by a junta to keep the balance and advocate the rights of those the junta does not want. In countries such as Myanmar, where the junta has in practice not come to an end and that have no qualms about resorting to violence and torture, the most rational course is always to avoid risky moves that might incite further upheaval or sparks. Had Suu Kyi emphasized the rights of the Rohingya people before the election, that would probably have elicited a reaction from the military. Bearing in mind the conditions in the country it should not be regarded as unreasonable that Suu Kyi should have adopted a different pre-election tactic.
The only way of confirming these criticisms or otherwise is the course that Suu Kyi follows from now on. Although her party lacks the strength to act outside the military constitution and thus to bring in serious reforms, she has now a greater capacity to prevent injustice and genocide in the country and to bring the subject to the attention of the international community. By following a sensible policy, Suu Kyi can bring the matter of genocide in Myanmar to the constant attention of the international community. In practical terms, international pressure can bring about a solution in Myanmar.
Let us also add that very little changed in the lives of the Rohingya people up to the election. The U.N. says that 370 Rohingya people drowned in the sea between January and June this year. According to Amnesty International, however, the true figure is very much higher. Witnesses state that dozens of boats have set out from the shore, but that only a few have reached Indonesia or Malaysia.7 In other words, the drama of the Rohingya people is still continuing beneath the radar.
We hope that this new period will be an auspicious one for the people of Rohingya, who have been persecuted, deprived of their human rights and subjected to genocide. We will also continue to pray and to speak for them in these pages.
This article was published in New Straits Times:
Humans have rights on paper, but apparently not in real life
Harakah Daily & Morocco World News - 23 December 2015
December 10th was another World Human Rights Day. As known, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was prepared based on the principle that "all human beings are born free and equal" was accepted on December 10th, 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly.
The declaration aimed to prevent the repeat of disasters such as the WWI and WWII, during which millions of innocent people lost their lives, and to establish a mechanism that would stop authoritarian leaders determined to attain their political interests and agendas at all costs. It intended to stop those leaders that might regard any means, including violence, as acceptable in achieving or pursuing their inhuman agendas.
However, despite the 67 years that have passed since then, things seem to have developed in the opposite direction. Many countries of the world saw peaking human rights' violations, while Middle East became scene to some of the worst violations of human rights ever recorded. Human Rights activists are reporting inhumane practices in these countries almost on a daily basis.
In particular eleven countries are scenes to the worst cases of human rights violations ever and are frequently mentioned in reports. These countries, ranked beginning from the worst are Nigeria, Yemen, Myanmar, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, Pakistan, Congo Democratic Republic, Sudan and Syria.
These reports draw particular attention to the fact that the civilian deaths in these regions usually occur due to random use of rockets, barrel bombs, ballistic missiles and other weapons in residential areas. The report explains that tens of thousands of innocent civilians have died or become permanently disabled in the last two years due to such attacks on civil areas. More alarmingly, this number is increasing every single day.
Syria is one of these countries where civilian deaths are incredibly high, and more disturbingly, these attacks are happening before the eyes of the whole world.
In Syria, a battlefield consisting of conflicting interests and goals, more than 300 thousand people have lost their lives, in one of the cruelest and the most ruthless wars of all times. 7 million people had to leave their homes, 4 million of those have had to seek refuge in foreign countries and 14 million people became dependent on humanitarian aid in their own country. For the already downtrodden Syrians that have been forced to migrate, the Mediterranean Sea has turned into a sea of death and became a gravesite to thousands that drowned in its waters.
The US Senate has drawn up a 6000-page report on torture and war crimes carried out by CIA. According to the report, the disproportionate use of force, mistreatment of black population by security forces especially in recent years, made the US one of the offenders in human rights.
China's situation hasn't changed much over the last couple of years, and the disappearances at the hands of the military and security forces, unsolved murders, torture and extrajudicial execution continued especially in the East Turkestan region.
The same report also pointed to human rights' violations in Egypt which can be considered a country with an alarming humanitarian crisis in our modern day as well as historically. It is known that these violations are continuing at full speed. Thousands of people have lost their lives in Egypt after the military coup of July 3rd 2013. Arbitrary arrests of dissidents, extended periods of detention and cases of torture are still underway without showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.
The deplorable state of the Rohingya, who has been subjected to terrifying cruelty, pressure and discriminative practices for decades is also covered in this report. The report makes it clear that the systematic persecution against 140,000 Rohingya Muslims still continues at full speed. Currently about one million Rohingya in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships by the Bangladesh border continue to face restrictions on movement, employment, and religious practice.
Furthermore, the year 2015 saw shocking mistreatment of refugees by various European countries -reminiscent of the time of Hitler- and raised questions about the sincerity of the West that is claiming to be the pioneer of Human Rights and democracy. More alarmingly, France has made an official request to the Council of Europe, to suspend their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights because of the country's "state of emergency" in the wake of November 13th attacks in Paris.
Crimes against humanity, of which only a cover portion are listed above, are getting more common and more disturbing in different parts of the world. Today, millions of people have to live without homes, without food, without proper access to healthcare and other basic necessities, due to the negligence, indifference, apathy, cruel practices and sanctions.
As a matter of fact, in terms of total resources and economic wealth, our world can easily accommodate the entire world's population. Yet, selfishness, material ambitions, conflicts of interests, lack of love, compassion and kindness is causing the sufferings of millions of innocent people.
It is critical that the UN, the author of the Convention on Human Rights, should watch over these people and ensure that their rights are protected, especially during these days. It is unacceptable that the UN settles with remarks of condemnation when violence against civilians are reaching historical levels. There are even arguments that the UN has now become a rather symbolic institution, mostly focused on legislating the interests of a few powerful states. The world expects great things from this important institution. It is never too late to once again assume the mission of protecting human rights as an urgent and corrective step.
Our world needs a brand new system of love, compassion and peace. Let's take this opportunity to once again rise up and work for a world worthy of human dignity, for a world of peace, love and happiness; for a world of justice and perfected human rights.
This article was published in Harakah Daily and Morocco World News:
EU, Turkey find silver lining
Arab News – 24 April 2015
After the heartbreaking pictures of lifeless body of baby Aylan went viral in the western media, we had pointed out that it would be wrong to expect the shock caused by this incident to be permanent and had warned that no one should expect dramatic changes. The world will forget this and go back to its usual ways, just like it happened so many times before.
There is no doubt that Aylan's tragedy caused important changes in people's hearts but the truth of the matter is that the situation in the political arena remains unchanged. It is true that for a short time European powers tried to take some of the responsibility with regards to the refugees but they later decided otherwise. This was the main reason behind German Chancellor Merkel's visit to Istanbul last week.
Although Merkel came to Istanbul mostly for her own country, in a sense, she was also here as a representative of Europe in general. She wanted to find ways to curb the influx of refugees, as Germany was the main destination of these hapless people. To this end, she put various offers on the table. Let us remind at this point that Germany displayed the most admirable attitude in Europe and offered the most help to the refugees. The most important offer discussed during the visit was the possibility of keeping refugees in Turkey and repatriating those that had already reached Europe, back to the country they came from, within a Readmission Agreement to be signed. According to this, Turkey was going to be provided with financial aid close to 3 billion Euros, albeit the amount is not certain, along with some special rights with respect to the EU membership, which should have been given a long time ago anyway.
One of the most important rights was about visa exemption to Turkish citizens. It also provided that with the Readmission Agreement, Turkey would be a part of the Schengen Agreement from July next year. Turkey makes a friendly threat of not accepting the readmission offer if the promise is not kept.
When Turkey signs the Readmission Agreement Turkey-EU negotiations, which almost came to a complete halt seven years ago, will be resumed with new phases. In other words, European Union, after having frozen negotiations with Turkey for various reasons, will be restarting them "out of necessity."
Realpolitik refers to "a system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations." It was first developed and implemented by Otto von Bismarck (1866), the founder of German Empire. Today, realpolitik, supported by materialistic policies, which claim that civilizations can get stronger only through constant conflict and that national interests are above everything else, have turned many countries extremely selfish over time.
This possible treaty between Europe and Turkey is portrayed as a "win-win" policy and a success of realpolitik. As it will get Turkey back to the negotiation table with EU, Germany will no longer have to deal with the refugee burden, giving Merkel a boost for the coming 2017 elections. Although there are so many charitable and benevolent Germans, it is a known fact that 53 percent of the German population doesn't want the refugees.
Although it is a success in terms of countries' interests, we shouldn't forget that people who lost everything they had while running away from war are in question here. When other countries make deals over the life struggle of downtrodden people that had to flee their own countries, with an attitude of "I don't want them, you keep them," it raises one question whether Aylan has taught anything at all to the world in terms of humanity. From a realpolitik point of view, such a mindset might not have any problems, indeed, it might seem as a good opportunity to many. However, in terms of humanity, it calls for a serious reconsideration of moral values.
Surely, there are good sides of this situation. First of all, this treaty will hopefully curb illegal crossings to Europe over sea and help prevent new deaths like Aylan's. Furthermore this Readmission Agreement requires that the countries that refugees are sent back should be safe places where refugees' rights are guaranteed in an environment of democracy and good living standards. At the moment, this safe place is Turkey and ensuring such conditions with the support of EU is a great opportunity for Turkey. Turkey has already accepted 2.5 million refugees without any hesitation and gave an unforgettable lesson to the whole world in the process. That welcoming attitude will make us eternally proud of our country. However, it is true that Turkey was caught off guard by the sudden influx of refugees. Overcoming problems and providing necessary means and rights to the refugees, which they fully deserve, with the support of EU, is something we have wanted and expected all along.
Refugee issue, in addition to being a humanitarian problem, has shown two important facts to Turkey and the EU:
First is that although previously the EU had tried to push Turkey away with all its might, mostly for the reason that Turkey is a Muslim country, EU had to remember that Turkey is also a European country, too. European Union is clearly in need of a democratic, European Muslim country at the gateway to the Middle East. History has repeatedly shown its importance and makes its point one more time with the crisis in Syria.
Secondly, it is very important that Turkey develops a mindset and attitude that champion democracy, freedoms, women's rights, art, and quality if it really is a European country. It has to build all its policies and priorities based on this mindset. It should not give way to radical mentality that wishes to benefit from Europe's freedom and justice, while strictly opposing all its values.
The world is changing. We hope that this new era will be one our Syrian guests find more peace in our country.
This article was published in Arab News:
Refugees are the victims of the Paris attacks, not its perpetrators
MBC Times – 27 December 2015
They drown in the relentless waters of Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, see their babies drown and wash ashore, even sometimes have their dinghies intentionally sunk, suffocate in the back of trucks, chased away with pepper sprays and water cannons despite the presence of children and babies, struck with batons, dragged on the streets, shut in wire cages, and subjected to inhumane treatment, all of which occur in the European Union. A Union supposedly built on the principles of superior human rights and law. And now, as if all of this wasn't enough, some people try to blame them for the Paris attacks.
They are the refugees, whose ordeal is on TV everyday. They have a single goal in mind: fleeing their now-inhabitable countries, fleeing bombs, terror and war so that hopefully they can reach countries where they can live safely and peacefully with their families.
However, certain circles that have always been against the idea of accepting them to Europe, didn't hesitate to use Paris attacks as a pretense to do that. Marie Le Pen, the leader of French National Frontier, urged an immediate halt of intake of the migrants; her justification was that there was the possibility that there could be ISIS members amongst the refugees.72 Konrad Szymanski, the Polish Minister of European Union, said that in the face of the tragic incidents in Paris, it was no longer possible to accept their share according to the quota system by the EU.73
What would have Le Pen said, if countries didn't accept the war-torn French fleeing the Nazi army that occupied Paris during WWII, under the pretense that there could have been Nazi spies amongst them? Or what would Szymanski say, if the Western countries turned away the Polish refugees running from the Soviet occupation during the Cold War?
Thank God, there are Western politicians that approach the subject with common sense. German Internal Affairs Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that refugees shouldn't be linked to the Paris attacks.74 Jean Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission warned the European leaders and said that terrorists and refugees shouldn't be mixed up and the perpetrators are the ones that the refugees are fleeing from.75
Some media organs, knowingly or unknowingly show the refugees as terrorists which is directly making them targets, and creating more persecution for them. It is clear that it would be nothing but tyranny to blame these downtrodden people for the Paris attacks. Furthermore, the evidence so far suggests that all the militants that took part in the attack were EU citizens. Let's just assume for a moment that one of the perpetrators really had Syrian passport. This passport could be stolen or fake, could belong to someone at the crime scene instead of a ter rorist. There are countless possibilities. Countries doubtlessly have every right to take comprehensive measures for security, but closing the borders to the refugees is not a reasonable measure.
Clearly radical terrorist groups like ISIS definitely don't need refugees for their attacks. There are already thousands of ISIS affiliates or sympathizers living in Europe as French, British or EU citizens. For this reason, only detailed intelligence efforts can help make the distinction between the innocent and the criminals.
Needless to say, it is crucial that intelligence is managed so that it will not lead to more violence. Intelligence can only be a protective and preventive measure; not the real solution. The real solution requires a plan targeting the essence of the problem. Violent radical militants do not interpret Islam according to the Qur'an, but rather justify violence based on explanations derived from radical beliefs, fake hadiths and superstitions. Therefore, the real solution is education based solely on the real Islam and the Qur'anic morality. An education to be provided by approaching these people with love, compassion, mercy and humility will solve the problem. Other than that, they will never abandon their twisted ideologies and weapons.
Erecting barbed wires or high walls to stop the refugee flow will not solve anything. They are people fleeing violence and war and they risk everything, even death, to achieve their goals. Such measures will make the already very difficult life of the refugees unbearable, but will not turn them away, worse, it will cause mass deaths under harsh winter conditions. Such a prospect, which is disturbing even only as a possibility, would deeply wound the hearts and conscience and will shame Europe forever.
They are poor and needy people who had to leave everything behind, their homes, properties, and beloved ones. They are horrified, and don't know what to do or where to go. Most of them don't have anything other than what they are wearing, and what they are carrying in their plastic bags. Europeans must put themselves in their shoes, even only for a while, and think how they would behave if they, their families and beloved ones faced the same situation. They should try to understand the challenges the refugees have to deal with. This will help them approach the refugees with love, compassion and mercy.
The Western states are facing a very important test. They are able to offer an urgent solution to the refugee problem through their strong economic and technical capabilities. Hopefully, they will embrace the anguished refugees with love and rediscover the beautiful values they defend such as freedom, equality, brotherhood, justice, love and cooperation. Otherwise, any practices and measures to the contrary will only exacerbate the situation.
This article was published in MBC Times:
Being leaderless is the reason behind the oppression Muslims suffer
14 December 2015
Today, a lot of Muslims living in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and many other regions of the world are subjected to aggression, rape, forced emigration or genocide. And the majority of those who are forced to migrate perish on the way. We are still haunted by the images of the cover innocent children who drowned in the Aegean Sea because they had been forced to flee from their homeland. There is no doubt that a sincere Muslim would ever find that acceptable or come to terms with such a situation. A true Muslim would not turn his back on these events as if they are none of his concern. Every Muslim is responsible for saying 'stop' to these developments. God informs us in the Qur'an that it is a religious obligation of Muslims to protect and look out for one another in the first place, and unite together as quickly as possible against such oppressive methods and situations:
"What reason could you have for not fighting in the Way of God– for those men, women and children who are oppressed and say, 'Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper from You!'?" (Surat an-Nisa', 75)
If we look closely, we see that when a single person is killed in a European city, the whole world gets in an uproar, yet the slaughter of millions of Muslims are only met with complete silence. Muslim lives are regarded as insignificant by the majority of the world. In fact, there are times when the tenderness and affection that is shown even for animals is not shown for Muslims. So who should be blamed or held responsible for this? Why does no one say 'Stop' to the way Muslims are perceived and treated, and why does this persecution grow with ever-increasing speed?
Of course, we should find the reasons and the people that are responsible for the course of events amongst Muslims before all else. Although God informed Muslims that the only way to end the oppression is by "uniting", the majority of Muslims ignore this commandment of God. Some Muslim communities act as if they are the only community that is on the right path, while others go so far as to see each other as enemies. For that reason, none of these communities can truly unite. For example, many mosques in Europe serve under different Muslim groups. Therefore, a Muslim cannot visit any mosque he wishes; he has to visit the mosque that is visited by people who share the same belief as him, by the Muslim community that he himself is a part of. So, this painful fact alone is a clear testament as to why Muslims have been divided for centuries, and why they have been left weak and vulnerable. But above all else, because the dissent among Muslims, whom God defines as 'brothers', is morally unacceptable behavior, God does not bless or support divisions between Muslims, and dissension gives rise to agony and problems. God explains in the Qur'an the consequences of 'not being united' as follows:
Those who are unbelievers are the friends and protectors of one another. If you do not act in this way there will be turmoil in the land and great corruption. (Surat Al-Anfal, 73)
Unity aside, today in many parts of the world, the greatest enemies of Muslims are again certain Muslims. When we look at the number of the Muslims slaughtered on earth up to the present time, we realize that 90% of these Muslims are slaughtered by other Muslims. When we also look at the major zones of crisis and war, we see that all these zones happen to be in Muslim territories. Muslim communities ruthlessly wage war against one another and kill each other.
Today, there are 1.5 billion Muslims on earth. Muslim countries have quite extensive economic and military capabilities. Should Muslims cast their disagreements aside and unite as one, they would become the greatest world power in terms of both economics and spirituality. This power holds such a great potential that even if a fraction of it were to be utilized, there would be no poor, helpless Muslim left on earth. However, this vast power wouldn't be limited to only protecting Muslims and as required by the ethical teachings of the Qur'an, a helping hand would be extended to people of all beliefs, all opinions from all around the world. Through the power of this unity, all the sufferings and troubles that humanity faces could be solved.
To achieve such a desirable outcome, first of all, Muslims must cast their sectarian and dispositional differences including their sense of superiority aside, and carry out this great sacred duty given by God to unite. The misery people have endured up until today shows that the more this process is stretched out, the greater sufferings will increasingly become and its consequences will become even more horrible. The responsibility will of course be upon the Muslims who remain indifferent to this call and are occupied with disagreements among themselves.
All Muslims, who wish to refrain from being encumbered by such a big responsibility both in this life and the Hereafter, should first abandon their claims of 'greatness' and 'superiority'. Second, they should see the error in their dissent against their Muslim brothers and recognize that it is incompatible with the Qur'an. They should be intent on carrying out the command of God; they should avoid controversial ideas that would disrupt their unity and solidarity. Today, our top priority is 'to be united.' This is a direct order from God to Muslims. Therefore, there should be no obstacle in the path to unity. At the moment, the world is in a state of great turmoil. Millions of innocent Muslims are facing oppression. Just as people try to save lives instead of protecting the furniture during a fire, similarly Muslims should avoid all other issues and make it their priority to strive for and establish this unity in the face of difficulties and oppression the world faces today.
Under these conditions, the following question comes to mind: "But how will Muslims achieve solidarity?" By no means will this unity be a formal, nonfunctional one. In fact, similar attempts were made many times in the past and such organizations were unable accomplish anything useful, except that they were for a show. For example, during a solidarity conference held in Iran, Shiites and Sunnis performed prayers separately, behind the imams of their respective sects. This clearly shows their discrepancies in an environment where they were supposed to come together for so-called solidarity.
It should be understood that Muslims can only unite in an environment that is sincere, warm, far removed from formalities or ceremonies. Under these circumstances, the only path that should be followed to achieve Islamic unity is to appoint a non-affiliated, unbiased, righteous Muslim as a leader, whose words, sincerity, insight, love, fellowship, and knowledge can be fully trusted by other Muslims. That is because, there can be no solidarity or unity to speak about without a leader. That very person will be the leader of the great Muslim Union, and as a result Muslims will not be deserted and unprotected. They will hold this person, to whom they are deeply loyal, in high esteem and will follow his words enthusiastically.
What will happen when Muslims have a spiritual leader? Let's list the major primary points that come to mind first:
• When they have different opinions, Muslims will be able to easily solve all their problems among themselves without fighting and resorting to violence by consulting to their esteemed leader.
• There will appear a great atmosphere of love, trust and peace in which all Muslims will get along well with each other. The Muslim community will realize its great potential in every subject; science, art, economy will all improve immeasurably, and there will be an atmosphere of wealth and prosperity.
• As the level of quality, modernism, love, compassion and good manners among Muslims will come about, the relations with Christian and Jewish communities will improve.
• Nowhere in the world will anyone be able to violate the rights of Muslims seeing them as leaderless and unprotected; because on such an occasion, people will be aware of the fact that they will have to face a great, tight-knit power that will defend itself through law and justice.
• Foreign deep state agents will not be able to sow the seeds of dissent and war between Muslims that are united. All such attempts will be foiled by the spiritual leader of Muslims. Thus, war profiteers will be prevented from feeding on the blood of Muslims.
• No Muslim massacre can be carried out by wrongfully attributing any crime that is committed in the world to Muslims, because Muslims will not disobey their leader who is absolutely against crime and violence as required by the morality of the Qur'an. This way, no provocation attempt will come to fruition.
Now we can answer the question; "Is this possible?": Of course it is possible since this is an act of worship God commands in the Qur'an and heralds that upon the fulfillment of this command, He will make peace and tranquility prevail in the world.
The EU is in danger of taking Turkey for granted
Gulf Times – 16 February 2016
It seems that February 2016 will mark a new milestone in the Syrian refugee crisis. Assad's forces that have been advancing with Russian air support since November are now besieging the centre of the city of Aleppo. They have also closed the corridor between Aleppo and Turkey.
Tent cities along the Turkish-Syrian border are now filled with 50,000 refugees fleeing those attacks. The great majority of these pitiful people facing the harsh winter conditions are women, children and the elderly.
In the first stage of controlled admission of refugees into Turkey, 10,000 people have been allowed over the border. However, in the event that the Assad-Russia coalition seizes Aleppo - its next stated objective - then it will be only a matter of moments until a new wave of up to 1mn refugees reaches the Turkish border.
The flow of Syrian refugees began when 300 people reached the Turkish border on May 3, 2011. A group of 10,000 refugees was seen for the first time in June 2011 when the town of Jisr al-Shughur was surrounded by Assad's forces. The total number of Syrian refugees then rose to 400,000 in 2012, 1.5mn in 2013, 3mn in 2014 and 4mn in 2015.
Cities that were bombed by the world's most advanced warplanes now stand in ruins. In other words, the great majority of refugees no longer have a home or even a hometown to return to.
As the number of refugees crossing the border increased by the day, in March 2012 the Turkish government began building tent cities in four large cities. Turkey has maintained an open-door policy along its 600-km border with Syria ever since Day One; more than 2.5mn refugees are currently living within Turkey's borders. These include 300,000 Syrian children receiving an education in Turkey, while 150,000 Syrian babies have been born in Turkey.
However, only 10% of the refugees are living in refugee cities: The other 90% are dispersed all over Turkey. The city of Kilis, which normally has a population of 130,000 but hosting 120,000 refugees now, has been made a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. Many people describe this behaviour on the part of the people of Kilis as an example of matchless altruism.
Turkey's total spending on refugees over the last five years is $10bn, which the state has provided almost entirely from its own resources. The international community has long ignored the presence of these 2.5mn refugees in Turkey and has left the country unaided and alone.
Turkey is still meeting the needs of the camps on the Syrian side of the border. Turkish civil society organisations and official bodies are working in excellent co-ordination in this mobilisation of aid. Many Turkish aid organisations, and particularly the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, are striving to alleviate, at least to some extent, the suffering of millions.
Turkey and its people occupy a unique place in the eyes of Syrian refugees. Abdullah Azizi, who fled the Syrian town of Azez with his family and is now living in the Harameyn camp on the Turkish border, describes their experiences thus: "It is as if we are in hell. The regime and its supporters attack us from all directions. The bombs dropped by planes destroy our homes. The only place we can shelter and our only guarantee is Turkey. Humanity has died here, and the world is watching us die."
Ahmet Abdullah, a recent arrival at the newly constructed Harameyn camp, describes his feelings in the words: "We have only one friend, and that is Turkey. Although we are Arabs, it has never stopped supporting us with food and clothing. May God punish those who have reduced us to this plight."
The most urgent problem that will soon be encountered is a giant group of some 1mn refugees that may emerge after the likely fall of Aleppo. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees wants Turkey to open its gates to refugees flooding out of Aleppo. It is literally unaware that Turkey has never closed its doors to these oppressed people, and is speaking dishonestly.
Turkey's requests for urgent emergency aid from the international community, and particularly the UN and the EU, are not being treated with the same sense of urgency and seriousness. EU countries have been talking about a 3bn euro emergency aid package aimed at meeting the needs of refugees in Turkey for several months and they've also stated they are thinking of spreading it out over two years.
During her visit to Turkey last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would do what she can to ensure this money is released at the next session in Brussels.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says this about that promise of aid: "The 3bn euros is not aid for Turkey. It is money given to the Syrian refugees. There is a misconception. Turkey is not so devoid of humanistic conscience as to negotiate over 3bn euros and the refugees. We have never negotiated the costs of the refugees with anyone, and will never do so. That money is humanitarian aid. It belongs to the Syrian refugees. It is an offer from the EU intended to share the financial burden. Not one cent of aid from the EU will be spent on Turkey."
The 3bn euros in question is wholly inadequate in terms of meeting the refugees' needs. The fact that it is purely symbolic can be seen by a simple mathematical calculation. The question is one of meeting the basic humanitarian needs, such as housing, food, heating, clothing, clean water and education, of millions of people.
The Syrian peace talks have again stumbled, and the rising tension and turmoil in the region make it uncertain when the war will ever end. However, even if the fighting does end, the refugees simply have no homes or towns to which to return; it is therefore very likely that the plight of the refugees for the last five years will persist for at least as long again.
For all these reasons, an aid package of at least 30-40bn euros needs to be approved as quickly as possible in order to make a more realistic contribution to these despairing people.
With its GDP approaching $20tn a year, the EU represents the world's largest economy. It is totally unfitting for such a powerful community to hold out against such humanitarian aid and to negotiate over human lives in this way. European leaders must heed their consciences, rather than acting in the light of realpolitik or national interests.
It is time for humanity, not for haggling. European civilisation must serve as a role model for the world with its altruism and willingness to help others.
The EU's decision-making mechanisms must not be left in the hands of a few atrophied consciences. Otherwise, the humanitarian drama playing out today will turn into the most unimaginable humanitarian disaster tomorrow.
This article was published in Gulf Times:
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.
Appendix: The deception of evolution
Darwinism, in other words the theory of evolution, was put forward with the aim of denying the fact of Creation, but is in truth nothing but failed, unscientific nonsense. This theory, which claims that life emerged by chance from inanimate matter, was invalidated by the scientific evidence of miraculous order in the universe and in living things, as well as by the discovery of more than 300 million fossils revealing that evolution never happened. In this way, science confirmed the fact that God created the universe and the living things in it. The propaganda carried out today in order to keep the theory of evolution alive is based solely on the distortion of the scientific facts, biased interpretation, and lies and falsehoods disguised as science.
Yet this propaganda cannot conceal the truth. The fact that the theory of evolution is the greatest deception in the history of science has been expressed more and more in the scientific world over the last 20-30 years. Research carried out after the 1980s in particular has revealed that the claims of Darwinism are totally unfounded, something that has been stated by a large number of scientists. In the United States in particular, many scientists from such different fields as biology, biochemistry and paleontology recognize the invalidity of Darwinism and employ the fact of Creation to account for the origin of life.
We have examined the collapse of the theory of evolution and the proofs of Creation in great scientific detail in many of our works, and are still continuing to do so. Given the enormous importance of this subject, it will be of great benefit to summarize it here.
The scientific collapse of Darwinism
As a pagan doctrine going back as far as ancient Greece, the theory of evolution was advanced most extensively in the nineteenth century. The most important development that made it the top topic of the world of science was Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, published in 1859. In this book, he opposed, in his own eyes, the fact that God created different living species on Earth separately, for he erroneously claimed that all living beings had a common ancestor and had diversified over time through cover changes. Darwin's theory was not based on any concrete scientific finding; as he also accepted, it was just an "assumption." Moreover, as Darwin confessed in the long chapter of his book titled "Difficulties on Theory," the theory failed in the face of many critical questions.
Darwin invested all of his hopes in new scientific discoveries, which he expected to solve these difficulties. However, contrary to his expectations, scientific findings expanded the dimensions of these difficulties. The defeat of Darwinism in the face of science can be reviewed under three basic topics:
1) The theory cannot explain how life originated on Earth.
2) No scientific finding shows that the "evolutionary mechanisms" proposed by the theory have any evolutionary power at all.
3) The fossil record proves the exact opposite of what the theory suggests.
In this section, we will examine these three basic points in general outlines:
The first insurmountable step: the origin of life
The theory of evolution posits that all living species evolved from a single living cell that emerged on Earth 3.8 billion years ago, supposed to have happened as a result of coincidences. How a single cell could generate millions of complex living species and, if such an evolution really occurred, why traces of it cannot be observed in the fossil record are some of the questions that the theory cannot answer. However, first and foremost, we need to ask: How did this "first cell" originate?
Since the theory of evolution ignorantly denies Creation, it maintains that the "first cell" originated as a product of blind coincidences within the laws of nature, without any plan or arrangement. According to the theory, inanimate matter must have produced a living cell as a result of coincidences. Such a claim, however, is inconsistent with the most unassailable rules of biology.
"Life comes from life"
In his book, Darwin never referred to the origin of life. The primitive understanding of science in his time rested on the assumption that living beings had a very simple structure. Since medieval times, spontaneous generation, which asserts that non-living materials came together to form living organisms, had been widely accepted. It was commonly believed that insects came into being from food leftovers, and mice from wheat. Interesting experiments were conducted to prove this theory. Some wheat was placed on a dirty piece of cloth, and it was believed that mice would originate from it after a while.
Similarly, maggots developing in rotting meat was assumed to be evidence of spontaneous generation. However, it was later understood that worms did not appear on meat spontaneously, but were carried there by flies in the form of larvae, invisible to the naked eye.
Even when Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, the belief that bacteria could come into existence from non-living matter was widely accepted in the world of science.
However, five years after the publication of Darwin's book, Louis Pasteur announced his results after long studies and experiments, that disproved spontaneous generation, a cornerstone of Darwin's theory. In his triumphal lecture at the Sorbonne in 1864, Pasteur said: "Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow struck by this simple experiment." (Sidney Fox, Klaus Dose, Molecular Evolution and The Origin of Life, W. H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, 1972, p. 4.)
For a long time, advocates of the theory of evolution resisted these findings. However, as the development of science unraveled the complex structure of the cell of a living being, the idea that life could come into being coincidentally faced an even greater impasse.
Inconclusive efforts of the twentieth century
The first evolutionist who took up the subject of the origin of life in the twentieth century was the renowned Russian biologist Alexander Oparin. With various theses he advanced in the 1930s, he tried to prove that a living cell could originate by coincidence. These studies, however, were doomed to failure, and Oparin had to make the following confession:
Unfortunately, however, the problem of the origin of the cell is perhaps the most obscure point in the whole study of the evolution of organisms. (Alexander I. Oparin, Origin of Life, Dover Publications, New York, 1936, 1953 (reprint), p. 196.)
Evolutionist followers of Oparin tried to carry out experiments to solve this problem. The best known experiment was carried out by the American chemist Stanley Miller in 1953. Combining the gases he alleged to have existed in the primordial Earth's atmosphere in an experiment set-up, and adding energy to the mixture, Miller synthesized several organic molecules (amino acids) present in the structure of proteins.
Barely a few years had passed before it was revealed that this experiment, which was then presented as an important step in the name of evolution, was invalid, for the atmosphere used in the experiment was very different from the real Earth conditions. ("New Evidence on Evolution of Early Atmosphere and Life," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol 63, November 1982, 1328-1330)
After a long silence, Miller confessed that the atmosphere medium he used was unrealistic. (Stanley Miller, Molecular Evolution of Life: Current Status of the Prebiotic Synthesis of Small Molecules, 1986, p. 7)
All the evolutionists' efforts throughout the twentieth century to explain the origin of life ended in failure. The geochemist Jeffrey Bada, from the San Diego Scripps Institute accepts this fact in an article published in Earth magazine in 1998:
Today as we leave the twentieth century, we still face the biggest unsolved problem that we had when we entered the twentieth century: How did life originate on Earth? (Jeffrey Bada, Earth, February 1998, p. 40)
The complex structure of life
The primary reason why evolutionists ended up in such a great impasse regarding the origin of life is that even those living organisms Darwinists deemed to be the simplest have outstandingly complex features. The cell of a living thing is more complex than all of our man-made technological products. Today, even in the most developed laboratories of the world, no single protein of the cell, let alone a living cell itself, can be produced by bringing organic chemicals together.
The conditions required for the formation of a cell are too great in quantity to be explained away by coincidences. However, there is no need to explain the situation with these details. Evolutionists are at a dead-end even before reaching the stage of the cell. That is because the probability of just a single protein, an essential building block of the cell, coming into being by chance is mathematically "0."
The main reason for this is the need for other proteins to be present if one protein is to form, and this completely eradicates the possibility of chance formation. This fact by itself is sufficient to eliminate the evolutionist claim of chance right from the outset. To summarize,
1. Protein cannot be synthesized without enzymes, and enzymes are all proteins.
2. Around 100 proteins need to be present in order for a single protein to be synthesized. There therefore need to be proteins for proteins to exist.
3. DNA manufactures the protein-synthesizing enzymes. Protein cannot be synthesized without DNA. DNA is therefore also needed in order for proteins to form.
4. All the organelles in the cell have important tasks in protein synthesis. In other words, in order for proteins to form a perfect and fully functioning cell needs to exist together with all its organelles.
The DNA molecule, which is located in the nucleus of a cell and which stores genetic information, is a magnificent databank. If the information coded in DNA were written down, it would make a giant library consisting of an estimated 900 volumes of encyclopedias consisting of 500 pages each.
A very interesting dilemma emerges at this point: DNA can replicate itself only with the help of some specialized proteins (enzymes). However, the synthesis of these enzymes can be realized only by the information coded in DNA. As they both depend on each other, they have to exist at the same time for replication. This brings the scenario that life originated by itself to a deadlock. Prof. Leslie Orgel, an evolutionist of repute from the University of San Diego, California, confesses this fact in the September 1994 issue of the Scientific American magazine:
It is extremely improbable that proteins and nucleic acids, both of which are structurally complex, arose spontaneously in the same place at the same time. Yet it also seems impossible to have one without the other. And so, at first glance, one might have to conclude that life could never, in fact, have originated by chemical means. (Leslie E. Orgel, "The Origin of Life on Earth," Scientific American, vol. 271, October 1994, p. 78.)
No doubt, if it is impossible for life to have originated spontaneously as a result of blind coincidences, then it has to be accepted that life was created. This fact explicitly invalidates the theory of evolution, whose main purpose is to deny Creation.
Imaginary mechanisms of evolution
The second important point that negates Darwin's theory is that both concepts put forward by the theory as "evolutionary mechanisms" were understood to have, in reality, no evolutionary power.
Darwin based his evolution allegation entirely on the mechanism of "natural selection." The importance he placed on this mechanism was evident in the name of his book: The Origin of Species, By Means of Natural Selection…
Natural selection holds that those living things that are stronger and more suited to the natural conditions of their habitats will survive in the struggle for life. For example, in a deer herd under the threat of attack by wild animals, those that can run faster will survive. Therefore, the deer herd will be comprised of faster and stronger individuals. However, unquestionably, this mechanism will not cause deer to evolve and transform themselves into another living species, for instance, horses.
Therefore, the mechanism of natural selection has no evolutionary power. Darwin was also aware of this fact and had to state this in his book The Origin of Species:
Natural selection can do nothing until favourable individual differences or variations occur. (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, The Modern Library, New York, p. 127)
So, how could these "favourable variations" occur? Darwin tried to answer this question from the standpoint of the primitive understanding of science at that time. According to the French biologist Chevalier de Lamarck (1744-1829), who lived before Darwin, living creatures passed on the traits they acquired during their lifetime to the next generation. He asserted that these traits, which accumulated from one generation to another, caused new species to be formed. For instance, he claimed that giraffes evolved from antelopes; as they struggled to eat the leaves of high trees, their necks were extended from generation to generation.
Darwin also gave similar examples. In his book The Origin of Species, for instance, he said that some bears going into water to find food transformed themselves into whales over time. (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition, Harvard University Press, 1964, p. 184.)
However, the laws of inheritance discovered by Gregor Mendel (1822-84) and verified by the science of genetics, which flourished in the twentieth century, utterly demolished the legend that acquired traits were passed on to subsequent generations. Thus, natural selection fell out of favor as an evolutionary mechanism.
Neo-Darwinism and mutations
In order to find a solution, Darwinists advanced the "Modern Synthetic Theory," or as it is more commonly known, Neo-Darwinism, at the end of the 1930s. Neo-Darwinism added mutations, which are distortions formed in the genes of living beings due to such external factors as radiation or replication errors, as the "cause of favourable variations" in addition to natural mutation.
Today, the model that Darwinists espouse, despite their own awareness of its scientific invalidity, is neo-Darwinism. The theory maintains that millions of living beings formed as a result of a process whereby numerous complex organs of these organisms (e.g., ears, eyes, lungs, and wings) underwent "mutations," that is, genetic disorders. Yet, there is an outright scientific fact that totally undermines this theory: Mutations do not cause living beings to develop; on the contrary, they are always harmful.
The reason for this is very simple: DNA has a very complex structure, and random effects can only harm it. The American geneticist B. G. Ranganathan explains this as follows:
First, genuine mutations are very rare in nature. Secondly, most mutations are harmful since they are random, rather than orderly changes in the structure of genes; any random change in a highly ordered system will be for the worse, not for the better. For example, if an earthquake were to shake a highly ordered structure such as a building, there would be a random change in the framework of the building which, in all probability, would not be an improvement. (B. G. Ranganathan, Origins?, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1988, p. 7.)
Not surprisingly, no mutation example, which is useful, that is, which is observed to develop the genetic code, has been observed so far. All mutations have proved to be harmful. It was understood that mutation, which is presented as an "evolutionary mechanism," is actually a genetic occurrence that harms living things, and leaves them disabled. (The most common effect of mutation on human beings is cancer.) Of course, a destructive mechanism cannot be an "evolutionary mechanism." Natural selection, on the other hand, "can do nothing by itself," as Darwin also accepted. This fact shows us that there is no "evolutionary mechanism" in nature. Since no evolutionary mechanism exists, no such imaginary process called "evolution" could have taken place.
The fossil record: No sign of intermediate forms
The clearest evidence that the scenario suggested by the theory of evolution did not take place is the fossil record.
According to the unscientific supposition of this theory, every living species has sprung from a predecessor. A previously existing species turned into something else over time and all species have come into being in this way. In other words, this transformation proceeds gradually over millions of years.
Had this been the case, numerous intermediary species should have existed and lived within this long transformation period.
For instance, some half-fish/half-reptiles should have lived in the past which had acquired some reptilian traits in addition to the fish traits they already had. Or there should have existed some reptile-birds, which acquired some bird traits in addition to the reptilian traits they already had. Since these would be in a transitional phase, they should be disabled, defective, crippled living beings. Evolutionists refer to these imaginary creatures, which they believe to have lived in the past, as "transitional forms."
If such animals ever really existed, there should be millions and even billions of them in number and variety. More importantly, the remains of these strange creatures should be present in the fossil record. In The Origin of Species, Darwin explained:
If my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking most closely all of the species of the same group together must assuredly have existed... Consequently, evidence of their former existence could be found only amongst fossil remains. (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition, p. 179)
However, Darwin was well aware that no fossils of these intermediate forms had yet been found. He regarded this as a major difficulty for his theory. In one chapter of his book titled "Difficulties on Theory," he wrote:
Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?… But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?… Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 172)
Darwin's hopes shattered
However, although evolutionists have been making strenuous efforts to find fossils since the middle of the nineteenth century all over the world, no transitional forms have yet been uncovered. All of the fossils, contrary to the evolutionists' expectations, show that life appeared on Earth all of a sudden and fully-formed.
One famous British paleontologist, Derek V. Ager, admits this fact, even though he is an evolutionist:
The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find – over and over again – not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another. (Derek A. Ager, "The Nature of the Fossil Record," Proceedings of the British Geological Association, vol 87, 1976, p. 133.)
This means that in the fossil record, all living species suddenly emerge as fully formed, without any intermediate forms in between. This is just the opposite of Darwin's assumptions. Also, this is very strong evidence that all living things are created. The only explanation of a living species emerging suddenly and complete in every detail without any evolutionary ancestor is that it was created. This fact is admitted also by the widely known evolutionist biologist Douglas Futuyma:
Creation and evolution, between them, exhaust the possible explanations for the origin of living things. Organisms either appeared on the earth fully developed or they did not. If they did not, they must have developed from pre-existing species by some process of modification. If they did appear in a fully developed state, they must indeed have been created by some omnipotent intelligence. (Douglas J. Futuyma, Science on Trial, Pantheon Books, New York, 1983, p. 197)
Fossils show that living beings emerged fully developed and in a perfect state on the Earth. That means that "the origin of species," contrary to Darwin's supposition, is not evolution, but Creation.
The tale of human evolution
The subject most often brought up by advocates of the theory of evolution is the subject of the origin of man. The Darwinist claim holds that man evolved from so-called ape-like creatures. During this alleged evolutionary process, which is supposed to have started four to five million years ago, some "transitional forms" between man and his imaginary ancestors are supposed to have existed. According to this completely imaginary scenario, four basic "categories" are listed:
2. Homo habilis
3. Homo erectus
4. Homo sapiens
Evolutionists call man's so-called first ape-like ancestors Australopithecus, which means "South African ape." These living beings are actually nothing but an old ape species that has become extinct. Extensive research done on various Australopithecus specimens by two world famous anatomists from England and the USA, namely, Lord Solly Zuckerman and Prof. Charles Oxnard, shows that these apes belonged to an ordinary ape species that became extinct and bore no resemblance to humans. (Solly Zuckerman, Beyond The Ivory Tower, Toplinger Publications, New York, 1970, 75-14; Charles E. Oxnard, "The Place of Australopithecines in Human Evolution: Grounds for Doubt", Nature, vol 258, 389)
Evolutionists classify the next stage of human evolution as "homo," that is "man." According to their claim, the living beings in the Homo series are more developed than Australopithecus. Evolutionists devise a fanciful evolution scheme by arranging different fossils of these creatures in a particular order. This scheme is imaginary because it has never been proved that there is an evolutionary relation between these different classes. Ernst Mayr, one of the twentieth century's most important evolutionists, contends in his book One Long Argument that "particularly historical [puzzles] such as the origin of life or of Homo sapiens, are extremely difficult and may even resist a final, satisfying explanation." ("Could science be brought to an end by scientists' belief that they have final answers or by society's reluctance to pay the bills?" Scientific American, December 1992, p. 20)
By outlining the link chain as Australopithecus > Homo habilis > Homo erectus > Homo sapiens, evolutionists imply that each of these species is one another's ancestor. However, recent findings of paleoanthropologists have revealed that Australopithecus, Homo habilis, and Homo erectus lived at different parts of the world at the same time. (Alan Walker, Science, vol. 207, 7 March 1980, p. 1103; A. J. Kelso, Physical Antropology, 1st ed., J. B. Lipincott Co., New York, 1970, p. 221; M. D. Leakey, Olduvai Gorge, vol. 3, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1971, p. 272.)
Moreover, a certain segment of humans classified as Homo erectus have lived up until very modern times. Homo sapiens neandarthalensis and Homo sapiens sapiens (man) co-existed in the same region. (Jeffrey Kluger, "Not So Extinct After All: The Primitive Homo Erectus May Have Survived Long Enough To Coexist With Modern Humans," Time, 23 December 1996)
This situation apparently indicates the invalidity of the claim that they are ancestors of one another. The late Stephen Jay Gould explained this deadlock of the theory of evolution although he was himself one of the leading advocates of evolution in the twentieth century:
What has become of our ladder if there are three coexisting lineages of hominids (A. africanus, the robust australopithecines, and H. habilis), none clearly derived from another? Moreover, none of the three display any evolutionary trends during their tenure on earth. (S. J. Gould, Natural History, vol. 85, 1976, p. 30)
Put briefly, the scenario of human evolution, which is "upheld" with the help of various drawings of some "half ape, half human" creatures appearing in the media and course books, that is, frankly, by means of propaganda, is nothing but a tale with no scientific foundation.
Lord Solly Zuckerman, one of the most famous and respected scientists in the U.K., who carried out research on this subject for years and studied Australopithecus fossils for 15 years, finally concluded, despite being an evolutionist himself, that there is, in fact, no such family tree branching out from ape-like creatures to man.
Zuckerman also made an interesting "spectrum of science" ranging from those he considered scientific to those he considered unscientific. According to Zuckerman's spectrum, the most "scientific"—that is, depending on concrete data—fields of science are chemistry and physics. After them come the biological sciences and then the social sciences. At the far end of the spectrum, which is the part considered to be most "unscientific," are "extra-sensory perception"—concepts such as telepathy and sixth sense—and finally "human evolution." Zuckerman explains his reasoning:
We then move right off the register of objective truth into those fields of presumed biological science, like extrasensory perception or the interpretation of man's fossil history, where to the faithful [evolutionist] anything is possible – and where the ardent believer [in evolution] is sometimes able to believe several contradictory things at the same time. (Solly Zuckerman, Beyond the Ivory Tower, p. 19)
The tale of human evolution boils down to nothing but the prejudiced interpretations of some fossils unearthed by certain people, who blindly adhere to their theory.
Besides all the technical evidence we have dealt with so far, let us now for once, examine what kind of a superstition the evolutionists have with an example so simple as to be understood even by children:
The theory of evolution asserts that life is formed by chance. According to this irrational claim, lifeless and unconscious atoms came together to form the cell and then they somehow formed other living things, including man. Let us think about that. When we bring together the elements that are the building-blocks of life such as carbon, phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, only a heap is formed. No matter what treatments it undergoes, this atomic heap cannot form even a single living being. If you like, let us formulate an "experiment" on this subject and let us examine on the behalf of evolutionists what they really claim without pronouncing loudly under the name "Darwinian formula":
Let evolutionists put plenty of materials present in the composition of living things such as phosphorus, nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, iron, and magnesium into big barrels. Moreover, let them add in these barrels any material that does not exist under normal conditions, but they think as necessary. Let them add in this mixture as many amino acids and as many proteins - a single one of which can by no means form by chance - as they like. Let them expose these mixtures to as much heat and moisture as they like. Let them stir these with whatever technologically developed device they like. Let them put the foremost scientists beside these barrels. Let these experts wait in turn beside these barrels for billions, and even trillions of years. Let them be free to use all kinds of conditions they believe to be necessary for a human's formation. No matter what they do, they cannot produce from these barrels a human, say a professor that examines his cell structure under the electron microscope. They cannot produce giraffes, lions, bees, canaries, horses, dolphins, roses, orchids, lilies, carnations, bananas, oranges, apples, dates, tomatoes, melons, watermelons, figs, olives, grapes, peaches, peafowls, pheasants, multicoloured butterflies, or millions of other living beings such as these. Indeed, they could not obtain even a single cell of any one of them.
Briefly, unconscious atoms cannot form the cell by coming together. They cannot take a new decision and divide this cell into two, then take other decisions and create the professors who first invent the electron microscope and then examine their own cell structure under that microscope. Matter is an unconscious, lifeless heap, and it comes to life with God's superior creation.
The theory of evolution, which claims the opposite, is a total fallacy completely contrary to reason. Thinking even a little bit on the claims of evolutionists discloses this reality, just as in the above example.
Technology in the eye and the ear
Another subject that remains unanswered by evolutionary theory is the excellent quality of perception in the eye and the ear.
Before passing on to the subject of the eye, let us briefly answer the question of how we see. Light rays coming from an object fall oppositely on the eye's retina. Here, these light rays are transmitted into electric signals by cells and reach a tiny spot at the back of the brain, the "center of vision." These electric signals are perceived in this center as an image after a series of processes. With this technical background, let us do some thinking.
The brain is insulated from light. That means that its inside is completely dark, and that no light reaches the place where it is located. Thus, the "center of vision" is never touched by light and may even be the darkest place you have ever known. However, you observe a luminous, bright world in this pitch darkness.
The image formed in the eye is so sharp and distinct that even the technology of the twentieth century has not been able to attain it. For instance, look at the book you are reading, your hands with which you are holding it, and then lift your head and look around you. Have you ever seen such a sharp and distinct image as this one at any other place? Even the most developed television screen produced by the greatest television producer in the world cannot provide such a sharp image for you. This is a three-dimensional, colored, and extremely sharp image. For more than 100 years, thousands of engineers have been trying to achieve this sharpness. Factories, huge premises were established, much research has been done, plans and designs have been made for this purpose. Again, look at a TV screen and the book you hold in your hands. You will see that there is a big difference in sharpness and distinction. Moreover, the TV screen shows you a two-dimensional image, whereas with your eyes, you watch a three-dimensional perspective with depth.
For many years, tens of thousands of engineers have tried to make a three-dimensional TV and achieve the vision quality of the eye. Yes, they have made a three-dimensional television system, but it is not possible to watch it without putting on special 3-D glasses; moreover, it is only an artificial three-dimension. The background is more blurred, the foreground appears like a paper setting. Never has it been possible to produce a sharp and distinct vision like that of the eye. In both the camera and the television, there is a loss of image quality.
Evolutionists claim that the mechanism producing this sharp and distinct image has been formed by chance. Now, if somebody told you that the television in your room was formed as a result of chance, that all of its atoms just happened to come together and make up this device that produces an image, what would you think? How can atoms do what thousands of people cannot?
If a device producing a more primitive image than the eye could not have been formed by chance, then it is very evident that the eye and the image seen by the eye could not have been formed by chance. The same situation applies to the ear. The outer ear picks up the available sounds by the auricle and directs them to the middle ear, the middle ear transmits the sound vibrations by intensifying them, and the inner ear sends these vibrations to the brain by translating them into electric signals. Just as with the eye, the act of hearing finalizes in the center of hearing in the brain.
The situation in the eye is also true for the ear. That is, the brain is insulated from sound just as it is from light. It does not let any sound in. Therefore, no matter how noisy is the outside, the inside of the brain is completely silent. Nevertheless, the sharpest sounds are perceived in the brain. In your completely silent brain, you listen to symphonies, and hear all of the noises in a crowded place. However, were the sound level in your brain measured by a precise device at that moment, complete silence would be found to be prevailing there.
As is the case with imagery, decades of effort have been spent in trying to generate and reproduce sound that is faithful to the original. The results of these efforts are sound recorders, high-fidelity systems, and systems for sensing sound. Despite all of this technology and the thousands of engineers and experts who have been working on this endeavor, no sound has yet been obtained that has the same sharpness and clarity as the sound perceived by the ear. Think of the highest-quality hi-fi systems produced by the largest company in the music industry. Even in these devices, when sound is recorded some of it is lost; or when you turn on a hi-fi you always hear a hissing sound before the music starts. However, the sounds that are the products of the human body's technology are extremely sharp and clear. A human ear never perceives a sound accompanied by a hissing sound or with atmospherics as does a hi-fi; rather, it perceives sound exactly as it is, sharp and clear. This is the way it has been since the creation of man.
So far, no man-made visual or recording apparatus has been as sensitive and successful in perceiving sensory data as are the eye and the ear. However, as far as seeing and hearing are concerned, a far greater truth lies beyond all this.
To whom noes the consciousness that sees and hears within the brain belong?
Who watches an alluring world in the brain, listens to symphonies and the twittering of birds, and smells the rose?
The stimulations coming from a person's eyes, ears, and nose travel to the brain as electro-chemical nerve impulses. In biology, physiology, and biochemistry books, you can find many details about how this image forms in the brain. However, you will never come across the most important fact: Who perceives these electro-chemical nerve impulses as images, sounds, odors, and sensory events in the brain? There is a consciousness in the brain that perceives all this without feeling any need for an eye, an ear, and a nose. To whom does this consciousness belong? Of course it does not belong to the nerves, the fat layer, and neurons comprising the brain. This is why Darwinist-materialists, who believe that everything is comprised of matter, cannot answer these questions.
For this consciousness is the spirit created by God, which needs neither the eye to watch the images nor the ear to hear the sounds. Furthermore, it does not need the brain to think.
Everyone who reads this explicit and scientific fact should ponder on Almighty God, and fear and seek refuge in Him, for He squeezes the entire universe in a pitch-dark place of a few cubic centimeters in a three-dimensional, colored, shadowy, and luminous form.
A materialist faith
The information we have presented so far shows us that the theory of evolution is incompatible with scientific findings. The theory's claim regarding the origin of life is inconsistent with science, the evolutionary mechanisms it proposes have no evolutionary power, and fossils demonstrate that the required intermediate forms have never existed. So, it certainly follows that the theory of evolution should be pushed aside as an unscientific idea. This is how many ideas, such as the Earth-centered universe model, have been taken out of the agenda of science throughout history.
However, the theory of evolution is kept on the agenda of science. Some people even try to represent criticisms directed against it as an "attack on science." Why?
The reason is that this theory is an indispensable dogmatic belief for some circles. These circles are blindly devoted to materialist philosophy and adopt Darwinism because it is the only materialist explanation that can be put forward to explain the workings of nature.
Interestingly enough, they also confess this fact from time to time. A well-known geneticist and an outspoken evolutionist, Richard C. Lewontin from Harvard University, confesses that he is "first and foremost a materialist and then a scientist":
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, so we cannot allow a Divine [intervention]...(Richard Lewontin, "The Demon-Haunted World," The New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, p. 28)
These are explicit statements that Darwinism is a dogma kept alive just for the sake of adherence to materialism. This dogma maintains that there is no being save matter. Therefore, it argues that inanimate, unconscious matter brought life into being. It insists that millions of different living species (e.g., birds, fish, giraffes, tigers, insects, trees, flowers, whales, and human beings) originated as a result of the interactions between matter such as pouring rain, lightning flashes, and so on, out of inanimate matter. This is a precept contrary both to reason and science. Yet Darwinists continue to ignorantly defend it just so as not to acknowledge, in their own eyes, the evident existence of God.
Anyone who does not look at the origin of living beings with a materialist prejudice sees this evident truth: All living beings are works of a Creator, Who is All-Powerful, All-Wise, and All-Knowing. This Creator is God, Who created the whole universe from non-existence, in the most perfect form, and fashioned all living beings.
The theory of evolution: The most potent spell in the world
Anyone free of prejudice and the influence of any particular ideology, who uses only his or her reason and logic, will clearly understand that belief in the theory of evolution, which brings to mind the superstitions of societies with no knowledge of science or civilization, is quite impossible.
As explained above, those who believe in the theory of evolution think that a few atoms and molecules thrown into a huge vat could produce thinking, reasoning professors and university students; such scientists as Einstein and Galileo; such artists as Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra and Luciano Pavarotti; as well as antelopes, lemon trees, and carnations. Moreover, as the scientists and professors who believe in this nonsense are educated people, it is quite justifiable to speak of this theory as "the most potent spell in history." Never before has any other belief or idea so taken away peoples' powers of reason, refused to allow them to think intelligently and logically, and hidden the truth from them as if they had been blindfolded. This is an even worse and unbelievable blindness than the totem worship in some parts of Africa, the people of Saba worshipping the Sun, the tribe of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) worshipping idols they had made with their own hands, or some among the people of the Prophet Moses (pbuh) worshipping the Golden Calf.
In fact, God has pointed to this lack of reason in the Qur'an. In many verses, He reveals that some peoples' minds will be closed and that they will be powerless to see the truth. Some of these verses are as follows:
As for those who do not believe, it makes no difference to them whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe. God has sealed up their hearts and hearing and over their eyes is a blindfold. They will have a terrible punishment. (Surat al-Baqara, 6-7)
… They have hearts with which they do not understand. They have eyes with which they do not see. They have ears with which they do not hear. Such people are like cattle. No, they are even further astray! They are the unaware. (Surat al-A'raf, 179)
Even if We opened up to them a door into heaven, and they spent the day ascending through it, they would only say: "Our eyesight is befuddled! Or rather we have been put under a spell!" (Surat al-Hijr, 14-15)
Words cannot express just how astonishing it is that this spell should hold such a wide community in thrall, keep people from the truth, and not be broken for 150 years. It is understandable that one or a few people might believe in impossible scenarios and claims full of stupidity and illogicality. However, "magic" is the only possible explanation for people from all over the world believing that unconscious and lifeless atoms suddenly decided to come together and form a universe that functions with a flawless system of organization, discipline, reason, and consciousness; a planet named Earth with all of its features so perfectly suited to life; and living things full of countless complex systems.
In fact, in the Qur'an God relates the incident of the Prophet Moses (pbuh) and Pharaoh to show that some people who support atheistic philosophies actually influence others by magic. When Pharaoh was told about the true religion, he told the Prophet Moses (pbuh) to meet with his own magicians. When the Prophet Moses (pbuh) did so, he told them to demonstrate their abilities first. The verses continue:
He said: "You throw." And when they threw, they cast a spell on the people's eyes and caused them to feel great fear of them. They produced an extremely powerful magic. (Surat al-A'raf, 116)
As we have seen, Pharaoh's magicians were able to deceive everyone, apart from the Prophet Moses (pbuh) and those who believed in him. However, his evidence broke the spell, or "swallowed up what they had forged," as revealed in the verse:
We revealed to Moses: "Throw down your staff." And it immediately swallowed up what they had forged. So the Truth took place and what they did was shown to be false. (Surat al-A'raf, 117-118)
As we can see, when people realized that a spell had been cast upon them and that what they saw was just an illusion, Pharaoh's magicians lost all credibility. In the present day too, unless those who, under the influence of a similar spell, believe in these ridiculous claims under their scientific disguise and spend their lives defending them, abandon their superstitious beliefs, they also will be humiliated when the full truth emerges and the spell is broken. In fact, world-renowned British writer and philosopher Malcolm Muggeridge, who was an atheist defending evolution for some sixty years, but who subsequently realized the truth, reveals the position in which the theory of evolution would find itself in the near future in these terms:
I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially the extent to which it's been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books in the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity that it has. (Malcolm Muggeridge, The End of Christendom, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980, p. 43)
That future is not far off: On the contrary, people will soon see that "chance" is not a deity, and will look back on the theory of evolution as the worst deceit and the most terrible spell in the world. That spell is already rapidly beginning to be lifted from the shoulders of people all over the world. Many people who see its true face are wondering with amazement how they could ever have been taken in by 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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RESİM ALTI YAZILARI
According to the Qur'an, the men, women and children who are most vulnerable on Earth are under the responsibility of Muslims.
The compassion shown by Turkish soldiers since the beginning of the refugee crisis is an important example of the morality of Muslims.
It is great unscrupulousness to compel oppressed people, who were forced to flee their homeland, to return back to an environment of war due to the offensive behaviors of some provocateurs. In the Sight of God, the sin of such remorselessness may be very great.
These oppressed people, rendered vulnerable and desperate, only aspire to save their lives and do not wish to return to war-torn land. Being indifferent to such supplication is great remorselessness.
Helping vulnerable people in need of help is a part of being human. However, it is, above all, a command of the Qur'an.
As for those who have faith and do right actions, the All-Merciful (God) will bestow His love on them. (Surah Maryam, 96)
The noble Turkish Nation with its police and military forces has always reached out to refugees and will continue to do so. They are not a burden for the Turkish people; on the contrary, they are the guests sent by God.
Muslims in Myanmar, who have suffered massacres and exile, with their houses and villages burned down, and who are not recognized as citizens of their own country, are now suffering a horrible tragedy for all the world to see.
The only way for the Rohingya Muslims to flee their own country is to put to sea on rickety boats. However, these oppressed people are being rejected by the countries where they seek refuge or lose their lives along the way.
The remains of the village of Duchira Dan, the people massacred and the village burned down to the ground by gangs based in Myanmar show the brutality inflicted on the Rohingya Muslims.
There are a variety of demonstrations and aid that can be performed so that people around the world could acknowledge the tragedy, which the Rohingya Muslims suffer from. But still the extent of this great oppression is poorly announced.
The Rohingya Muslims have long suffered from a great injustice, genocide and tragedy. The indifference of world leaders to the issue reveals the great disaster faced by humanity.
What reason could you have for not fighting in the Way of God – for those men, women and children who are oppressed and say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper from You!”? (Surat an-Nisa’, 75)
The world did realize how bad the situation of the oppressed people in Yarmouk was only when these people began to starve to death. However, it is still the case in various regions of Syria.
The district of Rakhine in Myanmar is located on natural gas pipelines and oil reserves in the country. The evacuation and expropriation of the villages on natural gas fields and the denaturalization and massacre of the Muslims in the region have been always of prime importance for those who have interests in the region. Only a few are concerned with the loss of humanity in the region.
The proposed natural gas pipelines are the reason that many Muslims in Myanmar leave their homes. It is horrifying that the commercial interests take precedence over conscientious sensitivity in the 21st Century.
The Rohingya Muslims have to get on rickety boats in order to flee their own country. These boats usually cannot reach land.
The Rohingyas, who could take shelter in coastal areas, manage to survive on the food thrown to them. Most of them do not have such opportunity.
The village of Du Chee Yar Tan is only one of the villages destroyed in Rakhine .
Doctors Without Borders, one of the only teams helping the Rohingya Muslims out, are now prohibited from accessing the region. As the healthcare team cannot access the region anymore, it becomes more challenging to obtain accurate information from the region.
The gangs, supported by various groups in Myanmar, are committing mass murder and leaving Muslims homeless. Muslims in Myanmar are entirely vulnerable.
There are two options for the Rohingya Muslims who have ended up homeless: they will either bow to the oppression of these gangs or flee. However, either option ends in death.
But to those who migrated after they were persecuted and then strived and remained steadfast, to them your Lord is All-Compassionate, Most Merciful. (Surat An-Nahl, 110)
On the right is one of the refugee boats sunk in Yemeni territorial waters. A total of 70 African refugees died on this ship.
The other pictures clearly indicate the challenging and primitive conditions under which immigration to Yemen takes place.
Nobody wants to be a refugee. However, millions of people in the world are now forced to migrate, leaving their homes and assets behind. The opportunities of the world are sufficient to feed and accommodate everyone as long as the people of conscience listen to their hearts.
A father in tears as he does not have anything other than dry bread to feed his child is consoled by his own child. The world's opinion is largely indifferent to this suffering, and this obliviousness has been getting worse day by day.
What would be the reaction of those people, who do not welcome refugees to their country now, if they were in the same boat?
Those who want to repatriate the refugees and accordingly install razor wires and thick walls on national borders are undoubtedly aware that they indeed are attempting to send these people to a certain death. In the name of humanity, this eclipse of reason is a scandal.
No justification can rationalize the idea of sending a person to war; in other words, to a certain death. This is an inexplicable and indescribable gap in one's soul.
In these days, when there are more and more examples of lack of conscientiousness, Turkey has welcomed refugees with open arms, displaying an exemplary behavior. The Turkish soldiers and police, embracing the refugees on the borders, teaches a good lesson to many great powers.
A safe zone to be established along the Turkey-Syria border is a requisite for protecting the Syrian refugees in their country without requiring them to leave and providing them with the necessary help.
All the world's attention should focus on the Syrian refugees begging their bread now. Their needs and the challenging situation in which they find themselves should be of concern to all of humanity.
The situation of the Syrian refugees is a matter of concern to the international community. When it comes to human life and safety, one cannot tolerate even a minute's delay. It is a must to establish a buffer zone for the Syrian refugees under the control and protection of the UN.
Trying to reach the land on old and rickety boats, the refugees on the Libyan coast often cannot achieve their goal. The refugees in many parts of the world still suffer from this tragedy.
There are two options available to a part of the people in Libya. They will either live with the challenges of the climate of violence or begin an arduous journey as a refugee.
Under the pressures of the United Nations, Italy was forced to end an operation that saved hundreds of refugees, namely Mare Nostrum. It would be a mistake to call the new system named Triton, a replacement for Mare Nostrum, as a rescue operation. This system seems to be designed to protect only the coasts of the EU, not to save refugees.
While Italian rescuers are helping out the refugees on the coast of Italy…
The picture shows that refugees, who were about to drown, are glad to see the rescue teams on the coasts of Italy.
Unless one is threatened by war and hunger, knowing that he or she will face death, one does not put himself or herself at such great risk. These people only want to live humanely, without being threatened.
The first stop of the Rohingyas after putting to sea is usually Thailand. However, the Thai government no longer allows the entry of refugees. The disturbing stories of human traffickers make the situation more serious.
The ruling junta in Thailand makes the precarious life of the refugees even more challenging. Thailand has not signed the International Refugee Convention and, for that reason, it is known that the country can conveniently carry out some practices violating human rights. Of course, not all people have the same perspective; nonetheless, it can be stated that the violations of human rights in Thailand are not very different than those in Myanmar.
Apart from the oppression in Myanmar, the refugee camps in Thailand appear to be unpleasant on behalf of the Rohingyas as well.
Pictures of the refugee camps in Thailand and the innocent children living in these camps.
The Rohingyas living in the refugee camps in Bangladesh.
The Myanmar government wants the Rohingyas in the country to take the citizenship of Bangladesh whereas, as a matter of course, Bangladesh does not recognize these people, who are citizens of Myanmar, as their own citizens. These people are stateless.
After her visit to the refugee camps in Turkey, Angelina Jolie, actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, made a press statement, thanking Turkey for her conscientious and considerate policy.
The inhumane treatment against refugees in some European countries and the strict measures taken against them, without distinguishing between men, women and children, are bewildering on behalf of these countries considered as the cradle of civilizations. Europe has failed in regard to human rights.
The pictures show the treatment of the Greek and Hungarian police against refugees, violating human rights. However, refugees deserve to be humanely approached more than anyone else due to being an oppressed community under persecution.
The military regime after the 1962 coup in Myanmar has completely rejected the identity of Muslim people. (on the side)
In 1982, Muslims were fully excluded from the citizenship. (below)
The responsibility incumbent on every conscientious person is to defend the rights of the oppressed and bring and end to persecution. The oppression, which the Rohingyas suffer from today before the eyes of the world, is an affront to humanity, which has been few and far between throughout the history. It is our responsibility to protect them from persecution.
The campaign with the hashtag #OpenToSyria, launched by Amnesty International to call for the world to welcome the Syrians, has been a great initiative on behalf of human rights.
Turkey is now the country that hosts the most refugees in the world and totally depends on its own national budget on this issue. The refugee camps are in a "perfect" condition as stated by New York Times. History will never forget the lesson given by Turkey on conscience.
The refugee camp in the district of Suruç of Turkey is a well-thought-through and unique refugee camp designed particularly for hosting our Kurdish brothers from Kobani.
The beautiful country of Syria is now in ruins. The country has turned into a battlefield, which lost its people, a massive ghost town. It is our responsibility to look out for the people forced to leave this country.
The people who stay in Syria are forced to live in the cities without any access to electricity and water as well as anything to eat, under bombardment and living among the ruins. Education for the children in the country is no longer provided; every child is obliged to work under difficult conditions.
There is a great imbalance between the people in difficulty and in reduced circumstances and the rich aristocrats of the world. A part of the European people spends thousands of pounds on magic shows whereas they refuse to spend such money for homeless refugees.
Nobody deserves to be at war. Nobody wants to be homeless, abandoned and forlorn on the streets of a foreign country. Those people have the right to live in a dignified manner like a human being. We, as people of good conscience, should grant them the right to live of which they have been deprived in the climate of war.
The people who are born in poor countries certainly have the same rights with those who live in wealthy states in Europe. However, the selfishness of people eliminates the concept of human rights, which is one of the greatest problems of our time.
Many people abstain from thinking about the tragedy suffered by the refugees. In fact, when they put themselves into the shoes of these oppressed people, they will comprehend this tragedy in a better way.
Ward off evil with what is better. We know very well what they express. (Surat Al-Mu’minun, 96)
Humanity witnessed a terrible tragedy in Yarmouk. Just as this disaster could not be prevented, the ongoing disasters of a similar nature in many regions of Syria are still not being prevented as well.
The pictures of emaciated children, women and elderly in Yarmouk are indeed heartbreaking. However, it did not take long for people to forget about this disaster just like any other disaster before.
The people in Yarmouk attempted to tell the world of the situation they are in with placards as the media flocked into the region. Even though UN aid finally arrived at the region, the nightmare that these people are going through has not ended yet.
People should not simply underrate the situation in Yarmouk by calling it "inhumane." Syria constantly experiences such disasters. It is a must that Muslims, in cooperation with each other, take measures to eliminate this disaster.
It may well be that God will restore the love between you and those of them who are now your enemies. God is All-Powerful. God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Mumtahana, 7)
Leading the way in regard to human rights for years, Europe has failed in practice. Whereas some European countries have accepted a certain number of refugees, others have shown the most appalling attitudes. The harsh rhetoric by some European politicians, the refugees forced to wait at the borders and even left for dead on Europe's territorial waters under everyone's eyes are among the heart-breaking incidents being witnessed by the 21st Century.
Germany has opened its doors to some of the refugees who want to seek asylum in the country. However this time the refugees encountered the reactions of many Germans. The refugees are not comfortable due to the many counter-demonstrations in the country where they seek asylum.
Below: German Right-Wing Union is organizing a demonstration against refugees in Munich.
It is true that the deep-seated problem of bigotry in the Middle East is considered to be a threat by Europe. Nevertheless, Europe cannot solve this problem by not allowing migrants from the Middle East into their countries, but by providing the appropriate education based on the Qur'an. The policy of hatred and anger are inaccurate policies that reinforce bigotry further.
Racism, increasingly widespread in Europe, strikes at the heart of Europe's democracy.
Afghans are the world's largest refugee group. The migration of the Afghan people, ongoing for many years, has now turned into a silent tragedy forgotten by the world. Afghan people who fled their country have been living in primitive camps for many years.
The war has caused incidents that children should not witness and dragged them away into a situation where they should not be under any circumstances. These children, who lost their parents at a very young age, fled their countries and faced with the threat of drowning in the cold waters of the sea, deserve to live a beautiful life.
An operation saving 2,100 refugees who were about to drown offshore of the island of Lampedusa, Italy placed the problem of refugees on the agenda once again. However, pressure from the United Nations urged Italy to end its rescue operation, named Mare Nostrum, which brought about more deaths.
Every year, thousands of refugees drown in the sea; some of them vanish and some are saved from drowning at the last second every day. The news that routinely appears on television and newspapers has failed to attract the attention of people after a while. However, the tragedy is continuously going on.
The inhumane treatment against the refugees on the European borders indicates the extent to which the lack of conscience has reached. Responding to the needs of refugees with anger and violence, without understanding their difficulties, is actually damaging the values underlying Europe.
The supply of food is already available to easily feed a total of seven billion people in the world. However, selfishness and heartlessness has overcome justice, which is indicated by the fact that people on one side of the world starve to death whereas those on the other side waste food dreadfully.
The Triton mission, launched a while ago by the EU, aims at protecting the borders of the European Union rather than saving refugees.
The value of human life is priceless. Every conscientious person is obliged to do his or her best in order to protect and save the oppressed.
Muslim countries, dealing with the influx of refugees from Myanmar, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, should handle and provide a solution for the problem of refugees considering it not as a problem unique to Myanmar but as a problem of their co-religionists. It is certainly important that all Muslims unite and protect their brothers.
Refugees are not a burden, but the guests sent by God and, they come with their blessings. Saving the lives of oppressed people creates not only a moral satisfaction but also blessings and joys, which is the law of God.
… The noblest among you in God’s Sight is the one who best performs his duty (with the most taqwa). God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Surat Al-Hujurat, 13)
The problem of refugees is a result of civil wars in various countries. The thing to do is to eliminate the environment of hatred, which triggers war, and to develop an understanding where affection is prevalent among people.
My Protector is God Who sent down the Book. He takes care of the true believers. (Surat Al-A’raf, 196)
Turkish history is a glorious one as the country has hosted refugees under very difficult situations and circumstances. Nearly 2.5 million Circassian people were forced to migrate to Anatolia during the period until the World War I. When Polish immigrants took shelter in the Ottoman Empire, the response of the Ottoman Sultan Abulmajid to Russia, which was demanding the return of these Polish immigrants, was, "I would rather give up my throne than ever send back those who have sought refuge in my state."
Today, the Turkish Nation has opened their doors and their hearts and provided their every assistance to asylum seekers, just like in the past. This excellent attitude of Turkey has given a great lesson to the world and will not be erased from their memory.
The refugees, who fled their homes and countries taking very few personal belongings with them, were welcomed with open arms on the borders of Turkey.
Protecting these people who are rendered weak and needy, preventing women and children from being mistreated and making them happy are priceless values.
Whatever booty God gives to His Messenger from city dwellers belongs to God and tho the Messenger and to near relatives and orphans and the very poor and travelers, so that it does not become something which merely revolves between the rich among you… (Surat Al-Hashr, 7)
Children do not deserve to be at war and to suffer from oppression. What they deserve is not to cry, but to laugh. Making innocent children cry and even murdering them hit people hard.
The bleeding wound in Syria is not a concern to many people. Some people shrug off the fact that children are drowning in the seas while they are supposed to be playing games by uttering a few condemnatory sentences, and then many of them forget about it.
So God has safeguarded them from the evil of that Day and has made them meet with radiance and pure joy. (Surat Al-Insan, 11)
Syria, one of the most beautiful countries in the Middle East, has turned into a battlefield with tanks running rampant through its streets over the last five years. Will those who feel embarrassed when recalling the massacres of Rwanda or Bosnia feel remorse for Syria in the future and say, "We could have prevented it"?
In these times when the powerful states occupy themselves with their political interests without much soul-searching, we need to create a force where people of decency come together against this affront to humanity and to show that refugees are not neglected.
Refugees come to be repelled with water cannons and tear gas and are being beaten in some regions of Europe. Beautiful Europe should not be an elite community, which only focuses on personal enrichment, but a cradle of civilizations placing humanity before everything.
Those in whose wealth there is a known share: for beggars and the destitute. (Surat Al-Ma’arij, 24-25)
Unlike migrants, those who have fled war and oppression and are unable to return back to their countries are called refugees. In accordance with the 1951 agreement, such people are required to be protected by their international status and should not be repatriated to their country under any circumstances.
There is no guarantee for anyone that they will not become a refugee one day. The world should better acknowledge those people with refugee status.
Say: ‘My Lord, forgive and be merciful! You are the Best of the Merciful.’
Libya is now facing the nightmare of a foreign-backed civil war. Those who do not feel secure in the country are obliged to flee their own homeland.
Due to the unfolding Libya civil war, Benghazi has turned into a battlefield. There should be an effort to end the lovelessness and rage, which permeates the country. This is only possible when people change the mindset of war to the mindset of love.
The dead body of an infant, namely Aylan, washed up on the coast of Bodrum, shook the entire world, urging people to do some soul-searching. However, this tragedy had only a short-term impact on people, just like any other tragedy.
The opposition to refugees and Islam is now a virus spreading day by day in Europe. This mindset of opposition causes some Europeans to become racist and ultimately destroys Europe itself.
Those of you prosessing affluence and ample wealth should not make oaths that they will not give to their relatives and the very poor and those who have left their homes in the way of God. They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love God to forgive you? God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat An-Nur, 22)
The razor wire fences installed on the border of Hungary and the walls built on the borders of Europe are not the solution to the problem of refugees. Every act involving violence creates a backlash, leading to more anger. The societies full of anger bring about more war and larger influxes of refugees.
Building walls and stranding refugees on the other side of a border, does not put the misery, which is under our very eyes, out of sight for us. Whether Europeans want to see it or not, the nightmare of refugees still persists on the other side of the border.
Walls are one of the primitive methods employed in order to overcome hazards throughout history. These walls lead to nothing but anger and oppression and worsen problems further.
The Berlin Wall
A camerawoman named Petra Laszlo tripped up a young girl and then a Syrian man, Mohsen, carrying his 7-year-old son, Zaid, on the border of Hungary, which was later seen in the press.
The young refugee girl kicked by Petra Laszlo.
The pictures of Petra Laszlo, released to the world community, do not represent the entirety of European society, but serve as significant evidence, showing the extent that hatred is prevalent among some people.
Hungarian police in an attempt to repel the refugees with tear gas. On the side, a refugee girl suffering the effects of tear gas.
The attempts to stop refugees on the border of Hungary with brutal methods will be remembered for a long time. However, these refugees are not terrorists, but miserable people who have escaped from the brutality.
These people who take to the roads to save their lives, their honor, and to protect their children, leaving all that they have behind, are oppressed people willing to share even a piece of bread they have. None of them deserves such inhumane treatment.
The tragedy of the Rohingya Muslims, which has been ongoing for years, still persists. Leaving the coasts of Myanmar, only a few of the boats carrying the Rohingya Muslims can reach the coasts of the neighboring countries.
Give relatives their due, and the poor and travelers. That is best for those who seek the pleasure of God. They are the ones who are successful. (Surat Ar-Rum, 38)
On the left is the repressive attitude of the police against the African-American citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, in the United States; on the bottom left is that of the Chinese police against the people of East Turkestan; on the top is that of the Egyptian police against its own people after the coup. These are among the primary examples in the report of Human Rights Watch (HRW) on torture and war crimes.
The cases of violations of human rights are possible to encounter in a large part of the world. This tragic situation is unsettling for the humanity, favoring injustice and heartlessness over love and compassion.
The weak condemnations barely have an effect on the current violations of human rights. It is necessary to rebuild love, which is the lifeblood of humans, inside the hearts of people in order to eliminate such violations.
Based on the commitments of Europe, refugees shall be placed in safe zones; their rights to live shall be guaranteed with the necessary aid to be provided to them. The said agreement specifies this safe zone as Turkey. For that reason, if Europe is determined not to let refugees cross their borders, the necessary aid for refugees should be provided to Turkey at once.
The ongoing influx of refugees, among many other lessons, showed Europe that the EU needs Turkey. And Turkey has learned that if Turkey is to be a part of the EU, the values of freedom and democracy should always be placed above all other things.
They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives. (Surat Al-Insan, 8)
The mindset that all refugees are terrorists, which emerged following the terrorist attacks in Paris, has triggered a sharp rise in xenophobia and racism in Europe.
Western countries are now going through an "examination" phase in regard to their conscientious responsibility and humanity. Every behavior full of hatred against refugees has caused a backlash against European civilization. We hope that Europe will soon come to understand that the solution does not involve anger or razor wire fences.
If Muslims can cast aside the artificial disagreements among themselves and unite, there will be no more oppression in the world. Then, Muslims won't have to rely on the means of Western countries at times of difficulty and both financially and spiritually will become the greatest world power.
The oppressed people, fleeing bombs in Syria, are in a constant search for a place to take shelter. It is certain that Turkey will always do its share in this humanitarian mission. Nonetheless, the international community should not stand idly by during this state of emergency.
It is not the time to bargain, but to show your humanity. European civilization should be leading the world when it comes to devotion and show its humanitarianism to all mankind.
As accepted also by the latest evolutionist theorists, the origin of life is still a great stumbling block for the theory of evolution.
One of the facts nullifying the theory of evolution is the astonishingly complex structure of life. The DNA molecule located in the nucleus of cells of living beings is an example of this. The DNA is a sort of databank formed of the arrangement of four different molecules in different sequences. This databank contains the codes of all the physical traits of that living being. When the human DNA is put into writing, it is calculated that this would result in an encyclopedia made up of 900 volumes. Unquestionably, such extraordinary information definitively refutes the concept of coincidence.
Lamarck believed that giraffes evolved from such animals as antelopes. In his view, the necks of these grass-eating animals gradually grew longer, and they eventually turned into giraffes. The laws of inheritance discovered by Mendel in 1865 proved that it was impossible for properties acquired during life to be handed on to subsequent generations. Lamarck's giraffe fairy tale was thus consigned to the wastebin of history.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, evolutionary biologists have sought examples of beneficial mutations by creating mutant flies. But these efforts have always resulted in sick and deformed creatures. The top picture shows the head of a normal fruit fly, and the picture on the left shows the head of a fruit fly with legs coming out of it, the result of mutation.
This fossil crocodile from the Cretaceous period is 65 million years old. It is identical to crocodiles living today.
This mene unearthed in Italy is 54 to 37 million years old.
This 50-million-year-old fossil plane-tree leaf was unearthed in the USA. Plane-tree leaves have remained unchanged for 50 million years, and have never evolved.
Evolutionists generally interpret fossils in the light of their ideological expectations, for which reason the conclusions they arrive at are for the most part unreliable.
Evolutionist newspapers and magazines often print pictures of primitive man. The only available source for these pictures is the imagination of the artist. Evolutionary theory has been so dented by scientific data that today we see less and less of it in the serious press.
Compared to cameras and sound recording machines, the eye and ear are much more complex, much more successful and possess far superior designs to these products of high technology.
We live our whole life in our brains. People we see, flowers we smell, music we hear, fruit we taste, the moisture we feel with our hands-all these are impressions that become "reality" in the brain. But no colors, voices or pictures exist there. We live in an environment of electrical impulses. This is no theory, but the scientific explanation of how we perceive the outside world.
In the same way that the beliefs of people who worshipped crocodiles now seem odd and unbelievable, so the beliefs of Darwinists are just as incredible. Darwinists regard chance and lifeless, unconscious atoms as a creative force, and are as devoted to that belief as if to a religion.
The world today is facing what may possibly be the greatest tragedy it has ever witnessed that creates massive waves of refugees. With every passing day, more and more people are forced to leave behind their devastated countries to seek shelter elsewhere. Their difficult voyages tear families apart, create scenes of little bodies washed up on shores and countless disasters that put humanity to shame. Even though there are a great number of people who do not choose to simply stand by and watch the tragedy unfold, there is no doubt that the world in general has utterly failed the refugees.
Today the problem not only continues but grows. However, many people don't even want to think about the ordeal of those that had to leave their homes, families, jobs and their countries to embark on a journey towards the unknown; instead, they maintain their apathy. This puts people of conscience in a position of even greater responsibility. It is now more important than ever to demonstrate to the world the scale of the refugee issue, suggest solutions to it and remind everyone that it is a matter of humanity.
This book includes some articles about the ongoing refugee crisis written by Mr. Adnan Oktar that appeared in the international press since 2013. Mr. Oktar has constantly brought up the issue in the most prestigious publications of the world and offered solutions. Until the problem is completely solved and the necessary measures are taken, he will continue to show the facts about the matter and offer realistic and concrete solutions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adnan Oktar, who writes under the pen-name Harun Yahya, was born in Ankara in 1956. Since the 1980s, the author has published many books on faith-related, scientific and political issues. He is well-known as the author of important works disclosing the imposture of evolutionists, their invalid claims, and the dark liaisons between Darwinism and such bloody ideologies as fascism and communism.
All of the author’s works share one single goal: To convey the Qur'an's message, encourage readers to consider basic faith-related issues such as God's existence and unity and the Hereafter; and to expose irreligious systems' feeble foundations and perverted ideologies. His more than 300 works, translated into 76 different languages, enjoy a wide readership across the world.
By the will of God, the books of Harun Yahya will be a means through which people in the twenty-first century will attain the peace, justice, and happiness promised in the Qur'an.