Monday, September 7, 2015

The Refugee Crisis

The tragic flood of refugees pouring into Europe is not without its ironies. Muslim refugees from Muslim wars and tyrants are paying all they have and risking their lives to get to Europe. Why are they fleeing to Europe rather than another African or Middle Eastern country? One answer is their fellow Arab and African Muslims won't let them in. Even though some of these countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE) are awash in oil wealth they're willing to do very little beyond offer financial support to help their fellow Muslims and they're shameless enough to criticize Europeans for not doing more.

The significance of being treated much better by the infidels than by other Muslims is not being lost on either the refugees or the Europeans:
With half of Syria's population displaced in the worst refugee crisis since World War II, according to the United Nations, and Europe overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of people flooding the continent, accusations are flying as to why the wealthy Gulf states are not welcoming people with whom they share a common language and heritage.

Gulf states have cited possible security concerns, and worries that Syrians might eventually compete for jobs. But to the Syrians, the answer is simple: they are not welcome.

"Gulf countries have closed their doors in the face of Syrians," Yassir Batal, a Syrian refugee who fled to Germany, told Bloomberg.

The voyage to Europe necessitates a dangerous and often disastrous ending for the refugees. They must pay smugglers exorbitant fees for space on either overcrowded rubber dinghies or unseaworthy vessels, and thousands end up drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

But the only Arab countries Syrians may enter without a visa are Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen.
Of course, these nations are themselves war-torn economic basket cases and are hardly attractive destinations for those fleeing poverty, conflict, and tyranny.
It is virtually impossible to gain citizenship in a Gulf state, and these countries favor hiring unskilled workers from Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the BBC reported. The Syrians, who are usually fairly well educated, would compete with jobs with Gulf state locals.

Several tweets point out the hypocrisy of Arab leaders pointing to Europe to do more when they, who share a language, heritage and religion in common with the refugees, do nothing to help, but after photos of a Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach went viral this week and prompting worldwide attention, many Arabs took to social media to express their outrage that Islamic countries failed to do more for their own brethren.

For their part, the Gulf states say they are not indifferent to Syrians' suffering and point to the billions of dollars of aid and the camps they have set up in Jordan and Lebanon. The United Arab Emirates spent $540 million in relief aid to set up a camp in Jordan and another in northern Iraq, a U.A.E. official told Bloomberg.

A cartoon published in Saudi Arabia showed an Arab behind a shut door guarded with barbed wire berating a European for not opening his door to the refugees. "Why don't you let them in, you discourteous people?!" he says.

"Have consciences died? Why can't able countries like [the] Gulf nations take part in hosting refugees?" Salman Aloda, a popular Saudi cleric tweeted.

On Facebook, the Syrian Community in Denmark community page shared a video of migrants being welcomed into Austria from Hungary, "prompting one user to ask: 'How did we flee from the region of our Muslim brethren, which should take more responsibility for us than a country they describe as infidels?'"

Another user replied: 'I swear to the Almighty God, it's the Arabs who are the infidels,' reported the BBC.

As Europe weighs how to deal with the massive crisis at their doorstep — economically strapped Greece absorbed 142,000 refugees since June 1 — European leaders have also pointed bitterly to the Gulf states' indifference.

"I'm most indignant over the Arab countries who are rolling in money and who only take very few refugees," Danish Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen told Bloomberg. "Countries like Saudi Arabia. It's completely scandalous."
For those with a sense of history another irony is that for almost a thousand years Muslim Arabs sought to invade Europe and came very close to conquering the continent before being thrown back by technologically superior European forces. Doubtless, many Europeans and Muslims see the flood of refugees as an inadvertent but de facto means of accomplishing through the exploitation of Christian compassion what they could not accomplish by force of arms.