Imam speaks about the “Migrant” Crisis and prays for the victims

August 28, 2015

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Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, Imam of the Islamic Centre Ireland and CEO of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council, spoke today during the Friday sermon about the current migrant crisis.

Almost every day, the television and newspapers show refugees fleeing from hunger, oppression, war, religious extremism, in search of security and a dignified life for them and their families in Europe. The loss of such high numbers of innocent lives at sea resonates strongly with the Irish experience of the ‘coffin ships’ during the time of the Great Famine. This crisis is the biggest crisis since the second world war and is in fact a refugee crisis and not a migrant crisis.

Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri said that the response of certain so-called oil-rich Muslim countries to the refugee crisis is disgraceful. They have not accepted a single refugee from war torn countries. These countries have turned their back to one of the most noblest acts in Islam, helping the needy.

On the other hand Turkey has accepted more than 1.6 Million refugees and is introducing new regulations to give the Syrians a more robust legal status in the country, which includes access to basic services like education and health. Lebanon has despite its limited territory accepted more than 1 Million Syrian refugees which means that now 1 in 5 people in Lebanon is a Syrian.

Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri also said that the response of some countries in Europe has been very welcoming and highly appreciated. Particularly the stance of Germany and Sweden, in accepting an extra ordinary number of refugees, is highly commendable.

At the other hand the response of certain other EU countries has been very disappointing. Some EU countries are reluctant to accept Syrian refugees because of their Muslim background. Slovakia has refused to accept Muslim refugees.
The response may be due to the fear that extremists or Daesh (ISIS) supporters may enter Europe. Necessary precautions should be enforced to ensure that extremists do not enter the EU under the guise of refugees, but to completely stop accepting refugees based on their religion is wrong as it stereotypes all Syrian Muslims and also worsens the crisis.

Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri said : “The Irish nation is one of the most generous nations in the world and I welcome the compassionate, humanitarian response of the Irish Naval Service. Ireland is facing at this very moment a housing crisis in which families are being evicted from their homes. Families accessing homeless services are reaching critical levels. Despite this crisis the government has approved to accept more than 500 Syrian families in Ireland and this must be appreciated.”

“While we as a nation may not be able to accept more Syrian refugees until we have solved our own housing crisis, we must not stop our prayers and our contribution in humanitarian response to the Syrian refugees,” Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri urged.

Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri also said that the Syrian refugees that are accepted in Ireland should be helped to integrate into the Irish society. The Muslim community in Ireland  has an important responsibility to facilitate this.

Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri concluded the Friday sermon with a Peace prayer for all the victims of the refugee crisis that have lost their lives.