- We take serious concern in the refugee situation around the world who are currently living a very miserable life and facing denial of human rights.
- Not only do they suffer greatly in their basic needs but they are forced to live a life of indignity and humiliation. They are not only victims by those responsible for the ongoing conflict but also by the local citizens to whom they seek protection.
- Meanwhile, we note that at least 79.5 million people in 2019 around the world are forced to flee their homes. Of those 26 million, half of them are under the age of 18. As well as millions of people are denied citizenship and have no basic rights such as education, health services, employment and freedom of movement.
- According to UNHCR at the end of April 2020 there are approximately 177,800 refugees and asylum seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia. About 153,060 are from Myanmar, which includes 101,280 Rohingya, 22,470 Chins, and 29,310 others from Myanmar.
- We are also concerned about the various critical issue of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia including:
• Registration for a UNHCR Card
• Acceptance of public agencies to accept the validity of UNHCR cards such as PDRM and Immigration
• Freedom of movement
• Health services
• Religious issues
• Placement / house rental
• Exploitation and abuse
• Social prejudice
• Safety of children and women
• Detention and law
- We believe that as an Islamic State, the government of Malaysia and all Muslims and the general public should take into account the Islamic approach and the relevant Shari’a law in dealing with refugee and asylum issues in the country.
- We emphasize that Islamic guidance in the various refugee affairs is as follows:
a. When confronted with various kinds of intimidation and cruelty, they were told to emigrate if they could (see Surah al Nisa ‘verses 97-99).
b. Comply with special agreements and regulations regarding migrants and refugees (as stated in surah al Maidah verse 1).
c. The Quran also enjoins a set of procedures that must be followed in the face of migrants and migrants (al-Taubah 100 and 117) and recognizes their migrant rights and guarantees them their human rights (al Anfal 72-75 and al Nahl 41).
d. The Quran also condemns those who cause others to emigrate and describes them as unbelievers by the Scriptures (al-Baqarah 84-86).
- We strongly reject those who incite hatred and extreme acts against refugees seeking protection in the country.
- We firmly state that those who deny their rights as human beings and exploit them who do not have any legal protection are in violation of the Islamic law.
- We condemn those involved in the human trafficking syndicates , corruption and intimidation as well as exploits vulnerable refugees. Those found to be conspirators in oppressing refugees must be taken to court for trial under criminal law
We hereby declare:
- All Muslim scholars and scholars to come forward to voice their position and educate the public on the responsibility of every Muslim and Muslim government to defend refugees from being abused. They need to write and discuss with the government on how Islamic principles should be applied in addressing refugee issues in defense of the oppressed.
- The government, especially the Minister of Islamic Affairs at the JPM needs to express its stance and advice to all Malaysians so that all parties show a high degree of brotherhood in Islam and to protect them from injustice.
- While diplomatic efforts and pressures on the affected countries to end injustice and war and while urging the world community to take initiatives to address the refugee issues , the Malaysian government needs to join forces with all parties including NGOs, community activists, Islamic thinkers, politicians and international bodies to address refugee issues wisely and strategically.
- Although Malaysia did not address the Convention on Refugees 1951 but as an Islamic State, obligations related to the Islamic Brotherhood remain binding on the country’s responsibility to assist and defend the oppressed.
- 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, fomulating strategies and international cooperation need to be mobilized to address the refugee issues.
- We urge the authorities not to allow hatred campaigns and mistreating the refugee community within the public that is violating laws of the country.
This is to prevent tensions within local communities and to halt those that are seeking opportunities to take advantage over the vulnarable refugees.
- We also urge the recent disclosure by the PDRM that there are parties in the country involved in corruption in smuggling refugees into the country. They need to be halled to court and face justice because they are one of the reasons why foreigners are so easily smuggled into this country.
- We recommend that the Minister of Home Affairs issue a directive that hate and abusive campaigns against refugees are prohibited and that the government should find ways how refugees could regain their rights to be able to live a life of dignity.
We have prepared a “Memorandum of Refugee Rights and asylum in Islam” to be submitted to the Prime Minister, Minister of Islamic Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Defense and Foreign Minister for review and use the document for drafting a policy that is in accordance with the Islamic law.
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, President, Malaysian Consultative Council of the Islamic Organizations.
Datuk Seri Ustaz Ahmad Awang, Chair of the Alliance World Mosque in Defense of Al Aqsa.
Datuk Wira Ustaz Abdul Ghani Samsudin,
Chairman of the Secretariate of Muslim Scholars of Asia.