On September 4, 2015, Europe’s foreign ministers failed to settle their differences over how to deal with the continent’s escalating refugee crisis, despite attempts by Germany, France and Italy to promote a common approach. “If the last three to four weeks taught us anything, it is that we won’t overcome this crisis if we keep pointing fingers at each other,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said ahead of the foreign ministers in Luxembourg. Earlier the UN wade into the debate and urged the European to accept up to 200,000 extra refugees.
The deluge of refugees arriving at European borders and their horrid treatment has caused outrage around the world. But Europe’s leaders are unmoved by the plight of mainly Muslim refugees fleeing war torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of Europe’s leaders prefer to bicker about refugee quotas, while others believe that tougher border controls are need to make Europe impervious to asylum seekers.
Yet there are others who have tried depict the crisis as a war between Islam and Christianity. Take for instance, the Hungarian prime minister who has portrayed himself as the defender of Europe’s Christian roots. Writing an opinion piece in Germany’s Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, the Hungarian prime minister said: “Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots. Or is it not already and in itself alarming that Europe’s Christian culture is barely in a position to uphold Europe’s own Christian values? There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders.”
What is not surprising is how quickly Europe betrayed its coveted concept of human rights, and swiftly ditched its own accord known as the Dublin Agreement, which is intended to offer some protection to those fleeing persecution. One maybe impressed with Germany’s stance, but given that the current refugee population makes up 0.007% of the German population admitting a few hundred thousand more is woefully inadequate.
Compare what is happening in Europe today with the persecution of European Jews and how they were welcomed with open arms by the Ottomans. In 1492, faced with the expulsion of Jews from Spain, Sultan Bayazid II ordered the governors of the provinces of the Ottoman Empire “not to refuse the Jews entry or cause them difficulties, but to receive them cordially”. According to Bernard Lewis, “the Jews were not just permitted to settle in the Ottoman lands, but were encouraged, assisted and sometimes even compelled”. Immanual Aboab attributes to Bayazid II the famous remark that “the Catholic monarch Ferdinand was wrongly considered as wise, since he impoverished Spain by the expulsion of the Jews, and enriched Turkey”. By 1477, Jewish households in Istanbul numbered 1647 or 11% of the total households. Half a century later, 8070 Jewish houses were listed in the city.
In 1537 the Jews expelled from Apulia (Italy) after the city fell under Papal control, and in 1542 those expelled from Bohemia by King Ferdinand found a safe haven in the Ottoman Caliphate. In March of 1556, Sultan Suleyman wrote a letter to Pope Paul IV asking for the immediate release of the Ancona Marranos (Jews forcibly baptized), whom he declared to be Ottoman citizens. The Pope had no other alternative than to release them, the Ottoman Caliphate being the superpower of those days.
Indeed, Islam has a glorious history of receiving persecuted refugees and welcoming them. By Allah’s سبحانه وتعالى permission, the soon to be established Caliphate will put an end to western interference in Muslim lands— the root cause for migration of Muslims to Western lands—and return the dignity and honor to this Ummah, so that it alone will become the beacon of light for mankind.
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ
“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.”
(Al Imran: 110)
Abdul Majeed Bhatti