The Shame of the Muslim World – The Rohingya Refugee Crisis

The Shame of the Muslim World – The Rohingya Refugee Crisis

“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.”

– The Holy Quran, 16:90 

            While this blog is not about discussing current events, I felt compelled to briefly discuss the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in the Andaman Sea.  The persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is a well-known story, garnering media attention the world over, but in the last few days, thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees have been stranded in crowded boats off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.  They are stuck in a catch-22.  They face discrimination and violence in their native Myanmar,[1] and are now stranded because no country in the region will take them in, including so-called “Muslim” countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

            As a Muslim, I am sickened whenever I see a lack of compassion over the suffering of innocent human beings, be they Muslim or non-Muslim, but I am even more sickened at the lack of compassion shown by the so-called “Muslim” countries over the plight of the Rohingya, their fellow Muslims.  Not only is it sickening to see the behavior of the Malaysian and Indonesian authorities on this matter,[2] it is also sickening to see the complete lack of attention paid to this crisis by other so-called “Muslim” countries.  While Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states (which command tremendous wealth and could easily take in thousands of refugees on humanitarian grounds) would much rather fight proxy wars in Yemen or provide lip service to the Palestinian struggle for independence from Israeli oppression, they have nothing to say about the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims and hardly raise a finger to alleviate their plight.  Where is the outrage in the Muslim world, the likes of which has been seen because of silly cartoons published in some French magazine?  Why do we riot like idiots because some person drew a cartoon, but we remain silent when our brethren suffer?   This is the shame of the Muslim world.  Many of us talk and pay lip service, but when action is needed, we are nowhere to be found.  In fact, it seems that many of us put our national and ethnic pride before our religious pride.  We are willing to spit on our own brethren because they might be of a different color or a different nationality.    

            What will these so-called “Muslims” say to the Almighty when they stand before Him on the Day of Judgement?  What will they say when they are questioned for not doing anything to alleviate human suffering, whether that of Muslims or non-Muslims?[3]          

            Here are some helpful links to help raise awareness of this crisis:         

***5/20/2015 – Updates: 

            Malaysia and Indonesia have announced that they will take in the stranded migrants, but it remains to be seen if their new found “resolve” to help these desperate people will hold indefinitely:

A Malaysian Muslim group has called on the government to take in the migrants just like they took in Bosnian and Vietnamese refugees.  This is welcoming news.  Alhamdulillah.


While the Burmese authorities claim that the Rohingya are “illegal immigrants” (as if that was a good reason to deny them basic human rights), the fact is that they have lived in that land for centuries.   


[3] Obviously, the average person cannot force governments to take action by himself/herself, but we can raise awareness by speaking out and we can pray.  Every Muslim should do at least that much.  Instead of rioting in the streets because of a cartoon, we should be getting involved in more worthwhile causes.    

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