News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

European Migration and Refugee Crisis

Al-Jazeera reported on 16th July that, Tunisia and EU finalise deal on migration. Brussels and Tunis sign ‘strategic partnership’ agreement that aims to combat human traffickers, boost economic ties.”

The European Commission, President Ursula Von der Leyen, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni held talks with Tunisian President Kais Saied. The European Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen, speaking at the Tunisian presidential palace said, “Tunisia and the European Union are bound by our shared history and geography, and we share strategic interests.”

This agreement comes at a time when the number of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Middle East is seeing a drastic increase. This due to the economic and political instability seen in these parts of the world. At a time when European politics is bitterly divided around this issue, and the resurgent far-right continues to make headways into European power corridors, the signing of this agreement clearly manifests the direction in which Europe is headed.

The European Commission President referred to a shared history between Africa and Europe as she dangled a miserly 900 million Euros aid package before the Tunisian President. The history she referred to needs closer introspection. Therein lies the root of this problem. As the Western nations struggle to deal with this immigrant crisis today, they need to take a deeper closer look. It was not so long ago that they landed on the shores of North Africa as colonialists. They had one sole objective, to colonialize, pillage and plunder the riches of this region. They had to fund the industrial revolution taking place in the West.

This story is not a new one. It is not unique to Africa alone. The bulk of the lands of Muslims suffered from the plague of colonialism over the last three centuries. They saw their lands, raw materials, resources, intellectual wealth and even human resources consumed to build the so called “progressive, multi-cultural, humane” Western civilization. This plunder and looting has not stopped even today. Albeit, it has changed garbs and presents itself in the form of neo-colonialism today. The Western economic and political agenda is still imposed on most of the colonialized world through puppet rulers and regimes, a corrupt capitalist economic model and international institutions like the IMF, World Bank, EU and the UN. The immigrant crisis therefore cannot be delinked from the neo-colonialist agenda being pursued viciously by the West.

This crisis also brings to attention the tall claims of progressiveness, multi-culturism, human rights and inclusion that are trumpeted so very often by the same EU and the West. Whether it’s the ban on Hijab and Niqab by France, the “Muslim ban” by Trump, the burning of the Noble Quran in the garb of freedom of speech, or the racial and ethnic tensions on Western streets, these all are indicative of a deep rooted racism and bigotry. It in turn is built on a Judeo-Christian core that is not limited to the racist white, supremacist faction of the elite. The Western civilization’s self-proclaimed universality and inclusiveness sunk off the coast of Greece last month along with more than hundreds of helpless men, women and children. They breathed their last waiting for the non-existent humanity to come rescue them.

Delving deeper into the shared history between Africa and Europe, which the European Commission President referred to, the Muslim conquest of Andulus and the subsequent era of prosperity and inclusiveness, stands in stark contrast to the colonialist tragedy. For over 400 years, a knowledge-based economy thrived in the Iberian towns of Toledo, Cordoba, and Granada. Followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam lived together in peace and harmony. From its onset, the Islamic civilization based on the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw) was a truly universal civilization. It absorbed the Persian and Roman empires within it as it expanded. It gave them a new identity as citizens of the Islamic state. Local populations in the subcontinent, Central Asia and Africa were all assimilated as one body. There was no racial, cultural or ethnic bigotry. Such was the reputation of the Ottoman Khilafah that the Jews from Spain and Portugal preferred to immigrate to Istanbul, to save themselves from the Christian inquisitors.

The stage is set for the revival and resurgence of a truly universal Islamic state, the Khilafah (Caliphate). It shall once again give birth to a universal Islamic civilization, based on true inclusiveness, justice and compassion. It will open its doors to people of all religions, colors, ethnicities and backgrounds, without prejudice and bias regarding their care. Allah (swt) says in the Noble Quran,

[يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍۢ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَـٰكُمْ شُعُوبًۭا وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتْقَىٰكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌۭ]

“O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [TMQ Surah Hujarat 13].

Engineer Junaid – Wilayah Pakistan