Islamic Ethics and Refugees: reflections on the responses of Muslim-majority countries to the Syrian Refugee “Crisis”
This paper discusses the responses of two groups of Muslim-majority countries to the Syrian refugee crisis that has grown out of the Syrian conflict; the Gulf states, and three of Syria’s neighbouring countries (Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon). Their treatment of Syrian refugees is considered on three factors; how open their borders have been to Syrians, whether or not they have provided access to education, healthcare and the work force, and finally, whether or not they provide residency to Syrians, or even go as far as the offer of eventual citizenship. The responses of these countries is then compared to Islamic ethical positions, drawn from the Qur’an and Sunnah, as well as contemporary scholars. While there have been examples of good practice, on the whole, the discrepancy between the Islamic ethical ideal, and the practice of Muslim-majority countries, is significant. Islam is unambiguous when instructing its adherents on how they should interact with the vulnerable; teachings on this do not seem to be being applied as a rule.