Intro : “If you want to stop the deaths, if you want to stop the drownings you have got to stop the boats. We saw yesterday on our screens a very sad, poignant image of children tragically dead at sea in illegal migration. Thankfully, we have stopped that in Australia because we have stopped the illegal boats.” —Tony Abbott, Prime Minister, Australia
When the world is still reeling in the shock of drowning death of a three year old Aylan Kurdi and sheer magnanimity of ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, this statement by the Australian Prime Minister must be sounding inhuman. Hungarian Prime Minister citing historical experience was more blunt in saying, “we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country”. When Europe is getting together for addressing the biggest ever refugee crisis after World War II, why such calloused voices are finding prominence? The answer lies in the strategies of all actors who have created this crisis and are taking refuge behind these refugees.
The Syrian conflict has created over four million refugees. Two million more are expected to flee due to persecution in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen. There are reports that Islamic State (IS) militants are being smuggled in Europe in the guise of refugees. The IS operative claimed some 4,000 fighters were already waiting in Europe aiming to attack around the globe. Some refugees, instead of seeking asylum and going to assigned camps, have started demanding their rights to move in other European countries, which is a dangerous phenomenon. These are the reasons why Europe is grappling with Islamophobia and anti-refugee voices. Illegal migrants and human traffickers are the first set of actors who are taking refuge under refugees.
European Powers who are planning refugee quotas are now vouching for the humanitarian laws, cannot forget the fact that the situation in Syria or other West Asian countries is the outcome of their colonial legacy. They had redrawn the boundaries and created Assads and Saddams under the US leadership. Taliban and IS are their ‘liberal’ contributions to the world. Now when the humanitarian crisis is at the zenith, they cannot overlook the real menace that is barbarism of IS. More than 2,50,000 people have already died and many are being tortured. Islamic militants are now using persistent and highly toxic agents, like mustard gas, which are prescribed chemical under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Asylum to refugees can be a temporary solution, not a permanent one. It is unfortunate that no European country is ready to take a tough stand against Islamists. Europe cannot hide behind the garb of refugees and neglect the real problem.
The worst culprits are the Arab countries. After financing terrorist groups in many countries, the oil rich West Asian countries have shamed the “Arab Conscience” by refusing to take in any refugee. Saudi Arabia openly declared that it will not allow any Syrian refugee into the kingdom, while Kuwaiti official argued that ‘they would not fit in’ with the Kuwaiti culture. If the fight is for creating Muslim Umma, nurtured through funding, why are some Muslim governments seemingly indifferent to the plight of refugees? They have all the capacities, resources and space but for them the cause espoused by IS is greater than the humanitarian concerns.
It is beyond doubt that redrawing of boundaries in West Asia is going to have impact across the globe. Not only Europe but even countries like Bharat and China cannot afford to sit back and wait for the crisis to subside. The time is ripe to build international opinion and force West Asian countries to stop deadly politics in the name of Islam. Bharatiya clerics issuing fatwa against the inhuman actions of IS is exemplary in this regard.