Politics, News

I don’t think the world is ready for Syria

This is the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Is it a shock that Muslim and Arab-majority countries are closing off their borders to Syrian refugees, but European countries are welcoming them in? If you notice, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have offered zero resettlement opportunities for Syrians.

There are no words accurate enough to describe the loss of humanity that the Syrian people are facing on a daily basis. This is the worst refugee crisis since World War II, and the anti-refugee attitude that many European governments are expressing is not helping the situation. Although there are huge numbers flowing into Europe, the European Union itself should but is not intervening in the situation. Many nations are trying to limit the number of people seeking refuge on their lands.

The world has turned its back on the Syrian people, and during one of their worst times. The image of the Syrian baby who washed up onto the shores of Bodrum, Turkey has been spreading like fire, and it is creating more sentiments about the human tragedy.

There are currently over 4 million Syrian refugees, dispersing or attempting to disperse into countries like Turkey, Hungary, Iceland, and Greece. Hungary is the main gateway for Syrians to enter Europe. But now, Hungary is building a 110-mile barbed fence to try to prevent them from coming in, and it plans to seal this fence with Serbia very soon. “Borders are not ours to to draw. We look at refugees as a crisis, as a problem to be solved. They should be celebrated for their courage, resilience, and commitment to their families and a better lifestyle,” said Tariq Ramadan.

Some countries are pushing back against the large influx of refugees. Iceland’s government is not accepting anymore refugees, but the people are fighting against that by taking to the streets and using social media to put pressure on their government to accept more. Many Icelanders are now welcoming refugees into their homes and offering their care and resources to help the people. The same reaction from the people of Iceland is happening in Spain, Germany and Austria. So far, more than 15,000 people have offered up their homes for the refugees.

Greece was urged by the UN to take charge in the refugee crisis. However, when over 50,000 refugees showed up on its shores in boats earlier this summer, it found itself grappling between taking in refugees and dealing with its economic crisis. This struggle is continuing until today, with a total of 1,000 refugees on their way to Italy and Greece every single day.

Currently, over 5,000 of Syrian refugees are stranded outside of railway stations in Budapest, Hungary waiting to take the train to Germany. Hungarian authorities are not letting them in in order to prevent them from entering Germany.

The Syrian people are escaping hunger, torture, and death. They have faced constant persecution by the Assad regime, as well as the “Islamic” State for over 4 years now. There have been a total of 200,000 deaths in Syria ever since people initially took to the streets in March of 2011 after some teenagers were arrested and tortured for painting graffiti on a school wall that challenged the political climate of the time.

The U.S. attempted to put an end to the violence in Syria by launching airstrikes, but that clearly was not enough. This crime against humanity makes us as a nation look weak when it comes to the protection of human rights, and it is astounding that this realization comes once we see images of dead children washing up on ocean shores. There have been several instances in recent times when the world ignores atrocities like this, including the tragic events still taking place in Burma with the Rohingya Muslims. The horrors that these groups of people have to face will not come to an end unless we as a world of interconnected persons recognize the shared humanity we have with the oppressed across the map.

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Marwa Abdelghani

Marwa Abdelghani

Marwa Abdelghani works at the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) as the Community Outreach Fellow, and is also an advisory board member of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change.

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