Islam Laid Basis of Refugee Laws: UN
By IOL Staff
"The international community should value this 14-century-old tradition of generosity and hospitality," said Guterres.
CAIRO — Islam has influenced and enriched modern-day international refugee laws more than any other source, a United Nations study said on Tuesday, June 23, lamenting that Muslims make up a large bulk of the world refugees.
"The international community should value this 14-century-old tradition of generosity and hospitality and recognize its contributions to modern law," UN High Commission for Refugees Chief Ant?nio Guterres wrote at the forward of the study.
The study, "The Right to Asylum Between Islamic Shari`ah and International Refugee Law", sought to assess the impact of Islamic laws and values on modern-day legal framework upon which UNHCR bases its global activities on behalf of tens of millions of uprooted people.
Islam’s Stance on Refugees
Rights of Refugees in Islam
It concluded that Shari`ah, 14 centuries ago, created the bases for many of the refugee-related international laws.
The study, commissioned by Guterres and compiled by Cairo University Law Professor Ahmed Abu Al-Wafa, cited several examples on how Shari`ah gives due attention to refugees.
It noted that under Shari`ah Muslims and non-Muslims alike have the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution.
Islam prohibits sending those in need of protection back into danger and urges followers to help refugees reunite with their families and guarantee protection of their lives and property.
It also prohibits forcing refugees to change their beliefs and rules out compromising their rights, concluded the UN study, done in tandem with the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
In 1990, the OIC adopted the Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, asserting that any human fleeing persecution has the right to seek asylum and receive protection in another country.
Half the refugees in the world today come from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The UN laments that despite the attention Islam gives to refugees, Muslims make up a large bulk of the world refugees. "Today, the majority of refugees worldwide are Muslims," notes Guterres.
According to the UNHCR, there are a total of 16 millions refugees and asylum seekers and 26 million internally displaced people in the world today.
Half the world refugees come from two Muslim countries: Iraq and Afghanistan.
Guterres regretted that Muslim refugees are deprived from guaranteed rights because of the growing racism and xenophobia in the world.
"This fact occurs at a time when the level of extremism, ethnic and religious, is on the rise around the globe, even in the world's most developed societies," he said.
"Racism, xenophobia and populist fear-mongering manipulate public opinion and confuse refugees with illegal migrants and even terrorists."
In his 2007 report to UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related Intolerance Doudou Diene warned that 42was a growing phenomenon.
"These attitudes have also contributed to misperceptions about Islam, and Muslim refugees have paid a heavy price," Guterres wrote.
"Let us be clear: refugees are not terrorists. They are first and foremost the victims of terrorism."
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