Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation
imageVery few of the millions of refugees from Syria and Iraq have made it to European countries in the hope of resettlement.Reuters

The tragic conflict in Syria and Iraq is dramatically intensifying. More than 12 million Syrians (out of a population of 22 million) have been displaced. Roughly 8 million of these were internally displaced as of July 2015, with another 4 million registered as refugees in neighbouring countries.

In Iraq, the number of internally displaced people reached 4 million in June, in addition to a continuously rising number of asylum seekers in other countries. As the conflict continues to escalate, the number of people in need will reach 10 million in Iraq – including a further 1.7 million displaced by the end of 2015 – according to UN agency estimations.

Very few of these asylum seekers have recently made it to European countries in the hope of resettlement. Germany is braced to receive up to 800,000 – but they still need to illegally cross countries on a costly and dangerous journey to be able to apply for asylum.

Australia recently agreed to resettle an extra 12,000 refugees in addition to its existing humanitarian program of 13,750. It is fast-tracking that process.

Amid this terrible tragedy, right-wing nationalist sentiments are making their voices heard in some countries that will resettle these refugees. Politicians have variously described the mass migration as an “Islamic invasion”, while the refugees themselves are said to be “happiness-seekers” or “looking for European social benefits”, “not real refugees”.

Two French mayors announced that they will accept only Christian refugees. Slovakia also officially declared that it will accept only Christians.

Others have adopted effectively the same stance by asking why the refugees are not going to fellow Muslim countries. Or, they are saying, we must give priority to minorities – which implies the preferential acceptance of non-Muslims.

Humanity or religion?

The question here is: what is this crisis about? Is it about humanity or religion? Are we morally more responsible only for people of our religion?

The reality is that all Syrians are in danger now.

Islamic State (IS) is targeting Christians. They are given the choice of conversion to Islam, leaving the area, paying jizya (special tax for the People of the Book) – or, if they do not accept any of these options, they are to be killed.

Shi’ite Muslims, including Alawites, do not have the option of paying jizya and IS does not tolerate them as it does Christians. They must leave their area before IS reaches them, or they will be killed. This is because they are considered to be religious heretics and associated with the Syrian and Iraqi governments.

IS sees other minorities – including Yazidis, Druze and Mandaeans – as heretic groups, in the same vein as Shi’ites.

Although being of the same religion as IS, Sunni Muslims are IS’s biggest victims. IS targets them for being betrayers – having worked previously with the police or other forces related to the Syrian or Iraqi governments – or simply for not being a good Muslim according to IS’s criteria.

Why can’t they go to other parts of Syria or Iraq? Many displaced people have already chosen this option, as the statistics of internally displaced people demonstrate. But they are living in very bad conditions, often without education, healthy food, water and other essential requirements. The governments are vulnerable and cannot manage the great numbers of refugees.

Here, having the same religion as the majority does not help refugees resettle.

The price of our indifference on this humanitarian tragedy is, as French philosopher Bernard Henri Levy points out:

… not only for the migrants, but also for a Europe whose humanistic patrimony is crumbling before our very eyes.

According to American philosopher Martha Nussbaum:

We should recognise humanity wherever it occurs, and give its fundamental ingredients, reason and moral capacity, our first allegiance and respect.

Other countries need to accept as many refugees as possible, offer what help they can to people staying in the war zone, and do all they can politically to bring peace to the region. Ultimately, as political scientist Joseph Carens explains, it depends on the extent to which the people of the world – in the Gulf, Europe, Australia or anywhere else – are willing to live up to their moral responsibilities.

Ali Mamouri does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/who-are-we-responsible-for-in-the-age-of-mass-migration-47283

The Rules for Tree Removal in Sydney’s East

arrow_forward

How will the court deal with the Christchurch mosque killer representing himself at sentencing?

arrow_forward

Review: Kate Grenville's A Room Made of Leaves fills the silence of the archives

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Scott Morrison Interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, supposed to be on holidays. He's not. He's online. Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: G’day Ray. Certainly staying very close to every...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison Covid 19 update

PRIME MINISTER: Good afternoon, everyone. Today I’m joined by Professor Paul Murphy - sorry, Professor Paul Kelly. I’ve got Brendan Murphy still on the brain. You are not far from us, Brendan. B...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

FORDHAM: Thank you very much for talking to us. I know it's a difficult day for all of those Qantas workers. Look, they want to know in the short term, are you going to extend JobKeeper?   PRI...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Fifth Dimension: Identified as one of the world’s leading strategic consultancies

Sydney based consulting company, Fifth Dimension, has been recognised for its ground breaking work, receiving a place in the GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Top 25 Strategic Consultancie...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus

Understanding Your NextGen EHR System and Features

NextGen EHR (Electronic Health Records) systems can be rather confusing. However, they can offer the most powerful features and provide some of the most powerful solutions for your business’s EHR ne...

Rebecca Stuart - avatar Rebecca Stuart

SEO In A Time of COVID-19: A Life-Saver

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a lot of uncertainty for everyone across the world. It has had one of the most devastating impacts on the day-to-day lives of many including business o...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion