As South Africans watch in horror and despair the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Europe, the Claremont Main Road Mosque (CMRM) has strongly criticised the lack of action from global Muslim leaders. In a statement, the CMRM expressed solidarity with refugees fleeing the tyranny of the Syrian regime, the brutality of ISIS, and others who are victims of war – including in large swathes of our continent. Human rights groups have described the current situation as the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War.
During the last week alone, almost 300 souls perished on a boat off the Libyan coast; 71 migrants, four of them children, were found suffocated in the back of a truck in Austria; and most recently, 12 Syrians drowned off the coast of Turkey, including two small Kurdish boys and their mother.
“These individuals and families seek refuge in safe zones because life in their home countries has become intolerable and desperate. Our humanity should transcend race, ethnicity and religion and we should welcome such desperate people to our shores,” said Imam Rashied Omar.
On Monday, France’s President Francois Hollande announced his country will take in 24,000 refugees over the next two years, while it is understood Germany will take 31,000 additional people under a European plan which is strongly opposed by Hungary. The figure revealed by the French leader on Monday represents France’s share of a European proposal to relocate 120,000 refugees.
“Many in Europe have shown such humanity, including Germany and Iceland and thousands are marching to support such refugees and pressuring their government to allow them entry. Of course those wedded to bigotry oppose opening their borders to others, instead using the current crisis to whip up a frenzy of racism and Islamophobia.”
Moreover, the silence and inaction to the refugee crisis from the more stable Muslim majority countries in the surrounding region is shameful, added Omar.
“We express our condolences to families who have lost loved ones and pray that refugees reach safety and the hope of a better future. We condemn the racism and xenophobia directed towards these refugees. We call for borders to be opened, for the humanitarian needs of these refugees to be met and for long term sustainable solutions to the problems that give rise to such crises.”