Humans are precious servants of God, with an immense capacity to love, to empathise and to help. These character traits particularly shine at times of difficulty and stress.
Indeed, the recent Syrian refugee crisis has given us some of the finest examples of humanity.
Thousands of people rushed to help in any way they could; some sent financial aid, some personally volunteered at camps. Charities were set up, people raised funds and launched campaigns.
Many countries, despite having limited economic capacity themselves, generously opened their doors to their fellow human beings. For example, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, despite their strained economies, host the most number of Syrian refugees.
Turkey alone welcomed 3.1 million refugees, while Lebanon offered shelter to 1.1 million Syrians, which amounts to one in five people in the country. Germany and Serbia have offered shelter and help to thousands of Syrians.
The International Olympic Committee created a special team for 2016 Games, made up of refugee athletes from around the world, in a unique show of solidarity.
Christian groups launched campaigns to encourage donations and help for the people in need, despite majority of Syrians being Muslims.
Yes, this was the good news. But, there is no denying that the general attitude of the world towards refugees has been overwhelmingly one of rejection. Apparently war, terror and prejudice have proven powerful enough to make many to turn the other way.
First, let’s remember what happened: The wars and conflicts in Afghanistan, poverty and clashes in North Africa — and most notably the relentless civil war in Syria — have created the biggest refugee crisis our world has ever seen.
Mostly comprising of women, children and the elderly, millions of people were forced to leave their homes and lives in the hope of finding safety elsewhere.
The normal reaction expected from the rest of the world in such a situation would be a warm welcome and a helping hand. But, that’s not what happened. With a cold attitude, the majority of the world ignored the ordeal of the refugees and their indifference led to a number of disasters, which could have been easily prevented with a joint effort.
Today, 6.1 million people are internally displaced in Syria, while 13 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance. 4.5 million Syrians fled to the Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. Although these countries do their best, there are difficulties involved.
However, the international community is reluctant to help, even through financial aid to host countries. Unsurprisingly, the United Nations reports that appeals have been underfunded every year.
More than 10,000 people, women, children, infants, the elderly, lost their lives since 2014, trying to cross the perilous waters of Mediterranean to reach safety in Europe, which could have been prevented with necessary funds and most importantly disposition to help.
It would be wrong to generalise the attitude of Europe, European leaders and most certainly the people, because there are countless examples of commendable response.
Although the general ignorance of the refugees is a regrettable fact, it is important that we, Muslims, try to understand the underlying causes of this apathy. Prejudice and fear seem to be the real driving force behind the reluctance to help and there can be no denying that it largely stems from terrorism and the unsophisticated lifestyle associated with Muslims.
The first and most important point that should be clarified is that there is no room for violence or a crude life in Islam. Islam, first and foremost, encourages love, peace, forgiveness and compassion regardless of nation or faith or gender. Furthermore, let alone fostering a crude life, it promotes the highest levels of modernism, quality and refinement in every aspect of one’s life.
Therefore, the current picture associated with Muslims is not the result of those people being Muslims, but rather, a byproduct of them adopting a different religion made up of superstitions and traditions.
Because of this superstitious religion, wrongly presented as Islam, Muslims have suffered a slow but steady decline from their golden age.
The terror groups that claim to act in the name of Islam follow not the Quran, but fabricated hadiths wrongly attributed to the Prophet Muhammad and the superstitious vestiges of their tribal cultures.
Unsurprisingly, the rest of the world is not acquainted with these details and with the help of relentlessly one-sided negativity projected by the media, it is easy for many to fall prey to fear and prejudice.
For these reasons, it is our duty, as Muslims, to go back to our true religion based on the Quran, as the prophet and his companions practised and show the world the true meaning of modernity, quality and beauty. When this happens, let alone being reluctant to help refugees, the people of the world will not be able to wait to associate with and integrate with Muslims.
Adnan Oktar's piece in New Straits Times & EKurd Daily: