Millions of refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria are migrating to various countries throughout the world in fear of their lives.
Turkey is housing the largest number of refugees, 2.4 million. Turkey is standing up for these refugees with great love and understanding, and is treating them as if they were guests in their own homes.
The approach to refugees on the part of Western countries, however, is very different to Turkey’s. Europe and America are largely ignoring the refugees. They are leaving these wretched people who are fleeing from certain death devoid of help, and are actively trying to close their doors to them. The measures being taken against refugees by Europe, which claims to be the cradle of compassion and justice, continues to tear at the heart.
Although pretexts such as security, economic priorities and fears such as unemployment are cited, one of the main reasons why the West does not want to admit refugees is the growing hostility toward Muslims. Indeed, this sentiment is now being voiced out loud.
The words used by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in an opinion piece for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung are one of the clearest expressions of this. In the piece in question, Orban said that his country was being overrun with refugees who threaten Europe’s Christian roots.[i]
At a press conference staged following a meeting with Martin Schulz, the speaker of the European Parliament, arranged to discuss the refugee crisis, the Hungarian prime minister said that the tragedy of refugees was not a moral argument for opening Europe's doors. He then went on to address the refugees themselves, telling them; “Please don’t come! … Turkey is a safe country. Stay there. It's risky to come. It's better for the family, for the kids, for yourself to stay.”[ii]
The Danish government has acted no differently to the Hungarian government. Denmark does not want refugees even to think of going there. They have taken out advertisements in various newspapers in the Middle East effectively conveying the message: Do not come here. You will not be welcome, and you will regret it.[iii]
Martin Henriksen, spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, has issued statements saying, “Turkey must stop the refugee flow,” and stressed that financial assistance should be given to Turkey to encourage refugees to stay put.[iv]
Other European countries are also reluctant when it comes to the refugees. At a meeting of EU member interior ministers, the Czech Republic and Romania joined Hungary and Slovakia in opposing the idea of refuges currently staying in various European countries being relocated among the members of the union on a quota basis, while Finland abstained.
In a recent statement, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said they could not accept Muslim refugees on the rather dubious grounds that Slovakia is a Christian country and lacks the cultural infrastructure to host Muslims.[v]
Telling Syrian refugees not to come, however, clearly means abandoning them to die.
The way that refugees are being hit with truncheons on the borders of European countries, being shot at with plastic bullets, being halted with tear gas and water cannon, being kept waiting for 24 hours without food or water and being subjected to various other forms of inhumane treatment is already a blatant sign that they are not welcome on European territory. The sufferings being inflicted on these people are totally unacceptable.
Anti-Muslim feeling is also on the rise in the USA. Most recently, Donald Trump, one of the Republican candidates for the nomination to represent the party in the 2016 presidential elections, has said that mosques in the country should be kept under surveillance and that Muslims should be registered within the scope of the fight against terror. Trump later attracted major worldwide criticism when he went even further and said that Muslims should be banned from entering the country at all.[vi]
Fareed Zakaria, a well-known figure on the American broadcaster CNN International and himself a Muslim, has written that “Muslims are today the most despised minority in America” and will soon be unable to go out at all.[vii]
The American and European media are constantly propagating anti-Muslim images and writings. The idea is to prepare the mental foundation for popular hostility to Muslims.
The Western world does not want to see Muslims in its countries. It is doing all in its power to prevent them from coming, including mistreatment. To put it another way, they are being told, “Stay in the war zone, and do not leave where you are now.” These wretched people are literally being imprisoned where they are and knowingly sent to their deaths.
Western countries are also carrying out in the Middle East one of the largest military build-ups in the history - even though they have no material or sentimental ties to the area - in the name of the war against terror and of ensuring the safety of these people whom they do not want in their own lands. Russia and the U.S. in particular, as well as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Greece and Canada, are sending warships to the eastern Mediterranean. [viii]
China and Iran also appear ready to step in at any moment.
The picture emerging in the region is quite alarming. On the one side there are millions of people trapped in their own countries, and on the other are the guns aimed at these desperate folk. The slightest spark amid all this tension could end in a huge war that would wipe out the largely Muslim population of the region, making no allowances for women and children.
Europe, which is always emphasizing its sensitivity to human rights violations, must also display the highest level of sensitivity on this subject. All countries with a presence in the region must behave in a rational and moderate manner in terms of ensuring the right to live of these innocent and guiltless people, and must avoid saying or doing anything that might escalate tensions.
The whole world is witnessing Turkey’s compassion toward the refugees arriving in it with a divine gift. Western countries must take heed of the despairing situation of these people under the threat of war and seeking asylum, and should adopt Turkey’s compassion and hospitality as a role model and open their doors to them in order to save their lives. They must heed their consciences, rather than wondering, “How can we afford to look after these people? We will become poor!” A
warm approach filled with love and compassion will also be instrumental in drawing members of different faiths closer to one another, and in their loving and respecting one another more. This is a major opportunity for people to live as brothers, in peace, not just today, but also in the future.
Adnan Oktar's piece on The Hans India & Burma Times: