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Wednesday, 01 July 2009 17:14

Islam as the model for refugee law

The United Nations is increasingly supporting and promoting Islam. This is partly due to the influence of the 47 nations that belong to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Defamation of 'Religion'

In March 2009 the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to condemn the 'defamation of religion'. In effect this really meant condemning the criticism of Islam.

Ironically the motion was supported by UNHRC members China, Cuba, Russia and the Islamic nations of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

When China and Cuba are looking after 'human rights' we have a problem!

Western nations refused to support the resolution because it focused on Islam. [Media report]

Islam and refugees
Now the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched a book that claims Islam has had a profoundly positive influence on the way we treat refugees!

A book called 'The Right to Asylum between Islamic Shari'ah and International Refugee Law: A Comparative Study', sponsored by the UNHCR, was launched in Saudi Arabia last week.

The ceremony was addressed by High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

The report acknowledges that the UNHCR has been working with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference on refugee matters, so it isn't really surprising to see this glowing report on Islam's contribution coming from the UNHCR.

Here are just a few of the extracts form the UNHCR's own article about the launch of the book and the Commissioner's address. Many of the article's comments about Islam ignore the historical truth of Islam's domination of other nations. The statement that Islam forbids forcing them to change their beliefs ignores the historical record. No mention is made of Islam's treatment of apostates, the Muslims who leave Islam.


The UNHCR article about the book includes these extracts (full article below):

  • "The book says Islam's 1,400-year-old tradition of generosity toward people fleeing persecution has had more influence on modern-day international refugee law than any other historical source."
  • the High Commissioner said "all the principles embodied in modern international refugee law are to be found in the Shari'ah. Protection of refugees, their property and families, non-refoulement [forced return], the civilian character of asylum, voluntary repatriation - all are referred to in the Holy Koran."
  • In his study, Professor Abu Al-Wafa describes how Islam and Arab tradition respect refugees, including non-Muslims; forbids forcing them to change their beliefs; avoids compromising their rights; seeks to reunite families; and guarantees the protection of their lives and property.
  • The book also reflects UNHCR's close association with the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which itself adopted in 1990 a Declaration on Human Rights in Islam stipulating that every human being fleeing persecution has the right to seek asylum and receive protection in another country.
  • OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu notes that the book "demonstrates the equitable and tolerant rules Islamic Shari'ah applies to refugees and how it is keenly concerned with their welfare and interests, while confirming human integrity and man's right to a free, decent life."


UNHCR chief launches book on Islam's contributions to refugee law

UNHCR, *News Stories*, 24 June 2009

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, June 24 (UNHCR) - A UNHCR-sponsored book on the influence of Islam and Arab tradition on modern-day international refugee law was released this week in Saudi Arabia, at a ceremony addressed by High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.