We call to address refugee issues in all Muslim countries in general and in Malaysia especially to apply the principles and approaches of Islamic brotherhood and the framework of universal humanitarian values.
It is deeply regretted that ignorance and prejudice against refugees who seek protection have been treated with a great deal of negativity , animosity and unreasonable assumtions by some members of the Muslim community.
The recent incident of displaying banners at several locations in a district in Johor banning and rejecting the presence of Rohingya communities in mosques and surau, is unreasonably, tarnishing the image of local Muslims and provoking hatred towards a group without practicing the principle of tabayyun that is obtaining true and accurate facts .
In a recent case in Perak state, some Rohingya community families have been asked to move out of their rented house eventhough they had been paying the rents.
We regret that if this is true on the basis of the hostility towards the Rohingya refugees, it cannot be accepted and we condem this strongly.
In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the most vulnerable are the refugee community who are facing daily hardships because of unemployment and unable to move to find a source of income.
In the face of the difficult conditions for survival they should not be evicted from their rented houses simply because of the sentiments and prejudices against them from the landlords.
Symptoms of resentment of the Rohingya community by wild attacks through social media and negative portrayals without facts, are extreme and should not be tolerated in the Muslim community.
The principle of Islam is to protect the oppressed, regardless of religion or race. Moreover, they are clearly Muslim. The responsibility of the Muslim community is to help and defend the oppressed wherever and to whorever.
The history of Islam as revealed by the struggle of the Prophet p.u.h is to unite the Muhajirin and Ansar groups to become an exemplary Muslim community in developing a great world civilization. Muhajirin did not appear to be burdensome to the local Ansar group because the Prophet s.a.w taught the principle of Islamic brotherhood as against the assabiyyah qaumiyyah ( nationalistic and racial ) sentiment which is a sign of a society of ignorance and inhumanity.
The reasons for banning them from attending the house of God because they are refugees and outsiders are contrary to Islam.
The reason for the Covid-19 outbreak to ban them from entering mosque is unacceptable because the issue is to ensure that no Covid-19 positive individuals should be in the gatherings in mosques either nationals or non-nationals. To single out a community from one ettnic is discriminatory.
We urge all Muslim scholars to come forward to voice and educate the public on the responsibilities of every Muslim and Muslim government to defend the oppressed. They need to write and discuss with the government on how Islamic principles should be applied in addressing refugee issues especially in defending the rights of the oppressed people.
Malaysia is seen among the Muslim countries of choice by refugees from many countries in conflict. This is a burden but it is also a wisdom that Allah Almighty is testing the extent to which the Islamic States show their degree of brotherhood and humanitarian bonds.
While diplomatic efforts and pressure on the affected countries to end injustice and war and while urging the world community to take the initiatives to address refugee issues, the Malaysian government needs to join forces with all parties including Ngo, community activists, Islamic thinkers, politicians and international bodies to deal with refugee issues wisely and strategically.
Although Malaysia is not a signatory of the UN Convention on Refugees 1951 but as an Islamic State, obligations related to Islamic Brotherhood will still be held responsible to assist and defend the oppressed. We therefore urge the government not to shun this obligation.
We urge the government to engage with the religious community to find the best way to resolve this issue from an Islamic perspective.
Policy frameworks, strategic fomulation and international cooperation need to be mobilized on engaging with the refugee issues in Malaysia.
We urge the authorities to curb the spread of hatred and actions against the oppressed refugee community which goes beyond the laws of the country. This is to prevent the unwanted tensions by those looking for an opportunity to capitalize on the issue .
We also urge the recent disclosure by the police (PDRM) that there are parties in the country involved in corruption in the refugee smuggling syndicate into the country, to be taken seriously. They need to be dragged to court because they are one of the reasons why foreigners are so easily smuggled into the country.
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid | President of Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations ( MAPIM )
Datuk Seri Ahmad Awang Chairman Alliance of World Mosque in Defence of Al Aqsa (MANAR).
Datuk Wira Abdul Ghani Samsudin
Chairman Secretariate for the Ulama Assembly of Asia (SHURA)