Where are Muslim countries before the plight of their kin?

SHAFAQNA – If the world has long known of the hardship of wars in the Middle East, made immune almost to the litany of horrors which have befallen the region, since they remained distant and in many ways foreign in nature due to their “Arabic” quality, the sudden influx of refugees onto Europe brought home the reality of a life spent in fear of bombs and Wahhabi-induced terrorism.

But as a well-thinking Western public found itself facing the fallouts of its leaders’ imperialistic ambitions, unnerved by the deluge of foreigners calling for help and safe refuge, what of Arab leaders’ moral responsibilities?

Never since World War II has the world witnessed such a chilling exodus, never has the world witnessed human tragedy on such a devastating scale. And while words may fail before the all-encompassing misery of a people made refugees of war by the evil which is Wahhabi-inspired radicalism and covert western neo-colonialism; can we dare to turn away when children are being washed away  – their lives cut short for men dreamed of power?

And if Western governments have indeed utterly failed before their political and moral duty, laughing in the face of international law and human decency, for it was never their people in the line of fire, but instead Arabs – where have Arab leaders ran to as their kin have been left to fend for themselves?

As the world remains transfixed in anger, calling on Western capitals to open their gates and own up to their share of responsibility in the unravelling of the Middle East, why hasn’t the public directed its wrath towards those Arab wealthy states?

For all their grand political posing against “terror”, their promises to assist, enable and support Western powers in their military campaigns in the ME, GCC countries have all gone dark on the refugee issue.

And while the world-oil capitals insist on splashing billions of dollars in weapon contracts, housing war refugees has proven so far an expense none have been willing to shoulder.

As Amnesty International recently pointed out, the “six Gulf countries – Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.”

That’s a shocking figure, given these countries’ relative proximity to Syria, as well as the incredible resources at their disposal.

In their most dire hour of need the Arabs have been abandoned, turned away and shun by their own – worst still, it is those closest who have actively taken part in their demise, mercilessly feeding war’s machine in the name of hegemonic ambitions.

In the destruction of the Middle East all GCC countries played a deadly part – the Middle East has become the playing field of a grand fratricide, the vilest of all betrayals. Can we deny that to varying degrees, elements within Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait have invested in the Syrian conflict, playing a conspicuous role in funding and arming a constellation of rebel and Islamist factions fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad?


And though none of these countries are signatories of the United Nations’ 1951 Refugee Convention, can we really allow for international laws to be used as a protective shield against moral obligations? Isn’t there a point where policies reflect too much of which is evil that they require drastic change?

How many children will have to be lost at s or on land for justice and human solidarity to echo more than hollow promises of change?

Where poorer and more unstable states have opened their doors to refugees: Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen ahead, those richer and richest have been deafening in their silence.

While Saudi Arabia continues to defy gravity with the rising of gleaming skyscrapers, hundreds of thousands of refugee have been forced to suffer the elements in makeshift tents. While the kingdom still prides itself the custodian of the two holy Mosques, hundreds of thousands of Muslims: men, women and children have been refused shelter.

For countries which claim themselves Islamic, such policies are beyond the pale  – there is a point where inaction becomes criminal and silence transforms into a negation of Islam’s tenets.

Where are Saudi Arabia’s clerics’ outrage as their brothers and sisters in faith have been made homeless? Or is it that their verve these days only serve sectarian agenda?

Before the open wound which is the Middle East there should be no religious divide, only a people united against the horrors of wars and the desire to build a better future for their children.

At the end of the day, it matters not what names we call God or how we praise Him – what matters however is that we treat each other with respect and dignity – there lies our humanity!


By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies

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