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22/10/2017
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11 Septiembre 2017 16:30 | Rathaus Muenster - Rathausfestsaal

Speech of Shamim Mohammad Afzal



Shamim Mohammad Afzal


General Director of the Islamic Foundation of Bangladesh

 Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim (In the name of Allah the most benificent and the most merciful).Honourable chair, distinguished chief guest German Chancellor Her Excellency Angela Merkel, representatives of different religious communities, dignitaries,ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the people of Bangladesh I welcome you all with the Islamic greetings-Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu (May Peace and blessings of Allah be on all of you). I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the organizers of this Peace Conference “ Community of  SantEgidio’’ for organizing such a  magnificent  event where people from the major religious communities gathered here today in Munster,Germany to raise their voice for the establishment of global peace.

 
We all know that religion brings about a positive change in the behaviour of human being to make him an entity having high moral values, love and sympathy for the fellow human being.
 
The word Islam originated from ‘silm’ meaning Peace. It encourages doing righteous deeds and prohobits evil or bad.  The holy Quran which was revealed as a guidance not only for the Muslim but also for the whole mankind emphasises on doing good deeds.
 
Bangladesh is a land with about 92% Muslim population, but believers of other religion like-Hinduism, Buddism, Christrianityetc.live here with commual harmony and peaceful co-existence. No communal violence occured in Bangladesh since its inception in 1971under the Leadership of the father of our nation BangabandhuSheikh MujiburRahman through a nine month long war claming the life of 3 million people and chastity of 2,00,000 women. Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is the daughterof the father of our nation and she has been ruling the country for the last nine years with the ideology of her father in her heart.  Her courageous and competent leadership established Bangladesh as a model of peaceful abode in the global arena. I express my deepest gratitude to Allah for enabling me to participate this programme as her representative.
 
The quest for Peace is a never ending expectation of human beings with good will. I had an opportunity to attend the ‘Dialogue and Prayer for Justice and Peace’ held in Assissi,Italy in 2011. The Papal Speech on that event inspired me in true sense. He categorically mentioned ‘family is the first school where we get the training of Justice and Peace’. He also added ‘The first step in learning is to inculcate the image of the Creator in the heart of a human being. Ignoring the existence of God independence can not be acheived in true perspective. He reiterated the importance of practising truth by the children and emphasised on avoiding falsehood though it is the easiest way to solve a problem.The Papal speech related to the children echoed the teachings of the prophets having divine revelation on them from God. Our Prophet(pbuh)also gave importance on child education.
 
In the present day world deception, deprivation, discrimination on the basis of colour,race and wealth prevails in many areas. As a consequence the rich is becoming more richer,and the poor more poorer. Poverty,hunger and social insecurity drives people from one country to another. International and non-international conflict,violence in the guise of religion are also major causes of migration.
 
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 590,000 people have arrived by sea so far in 2015 – more than twice the number reaching Europe this way in the whole of 2014. Almost 630,000 new asylum claims were made last year to EU countries , compared with just over 430,000 in 2013. The profile of those arriving is also changing. In 2015 more than 80% of people arriving in Europe by sea are from the world’s ten top refugee-producing countries. Over 50% are from Syria, 15% from Afghanistan, 6% from Eritrea and 4% from Iraq – all countries in conflict or crisis.The largest number of asylum applications to the EU – 19% in 2014 were made by Syrians. In 2015-17 about 500,000 Rohingya Muslim from Mayanmar fleeing conflict and violence in their home country arrived Bangladesh by land and marine route. In most cases these people were driven out of their home by terrorist and violent activist backed by the Mayanmar armed forces . Bangladesh hosted the refugees from Mayanmar and extended all humanitarian assistance to protect them with resources from domestic and international origin. The United Nations has called the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group denied citizenship in Myanmar, the most persecuted minority in the world. Despite UN Secretary General’s call effective measures are yet to be taken by the Mayanmar Government to settle the refugee problem. Applications from Afghans and Eritreans refugees seeking entry to EU have also increased significantly. Whilst refugees are often considered particularly vulnerable, the risks facing all migrants using irregular routes are considerable, including physical danger, exploitation and abuse, human trafficking, sexual violence, theft and extortion. Even before the current situation, EU states tended to view any large-scale international migration as a threat to the sovereignty of their national and regional borders, their economies and their societies. Most member states have reacted accordingly, tightening controls on irregular access to their territories and, in some cases, on legal channels . These increased restrictions have not been effective in reducing influx of refugees and other migrants; instead, they have resulted in increased clandestine efforts to reach Europe, in turn exposing vulnerable migrants to even greater physical and other risks. 
 
The majority of people seeking entry to Europe are fleeing conflict and violence in their home countries. Over 12 million people inside Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance and according to the UN over four million have fled the country. Iraqis too are facing a resurgence of violence and conflict, including in relation to so-called Islamic State: over four million Iraqis according to UNHCR are currently displaced within and outside the country. In Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Mali, Nigeria and Eritrea, protracted conflicts and crises threaten the lives of millions of civilians, forcing many to leave their home country in search of safety and security in Europe and elsewhere. For many refugees, in the Middle East and elsewhere, there is little or no real prospect of integration or even real security in their countries of first destination. The security situation in some host countries is also deteriorating, as demonstrated by recent bomb attacks in Turkey and prevailing insecurity in Lebanon. Meanwhile, the international community’s response to the situation in these countries has been wholly inadequate. Responses to UNHCR calls for resettlement places have been slow. Funding for the refugee response in the Middle East is less than half what is required, and emergency programmes have been cut as a result. UNHCR estimates that 86% of Syrian refugees in Jordan and 70% in Lebanon are living below the poverty line. The failure of the international community to address conflicts, violence and human rights violations in countries of origin has been another key factor in the surge in irregular migration to Europe. There is no international political framework for ending the Syria conflict and no clear international strategy for addressing the related conflict in Iraq. Afghanistan is still far from any real stability despite years of international intervention, and the international community seems to be out of ideas on how to end the decades-long conflict in Somalia. Efforts to address the chronic poverty, inequality, weak governance and climate and environmental changes that constitute ‘push’ factors in many developing countries have also been inadequate. 
 
As highlighted in previous research, for many of these people the line between ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ international migration is increasingly blurred: their migration is driven by an array of overlapping ‘push’ factors relating to chronic poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and the effects of climate change, as well as ‘pull’ factors including real and perceived economic and educational opportunities in Europe. The complex nature of contemporary global migration patterns and drivers is presenting huge challenges to existing international, regional and national legal and policy frameworks . Notwithstanding specific legal protections for refugees, the current use of simplistic categories of ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ migration risks creating a two-tiered system of protection and assistance in which the rights and needs of those not qualifying as ‘refugees’ under the legal definition are effectively disregarded .
 
As repeatedly urged by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and others, there is an equally urgent need to extend, improve and harmonise legal channels of access to the EU. Notwithstanding the enormity of the task, there are a number of concrete actions that European governments could take to institute a more effective and appropriate response to the current crisis. First and foremost, in line with their existing legal commitments, EU governments must ensure that the protection of all migrants, but particularly women, children and other vulnerable groups, irrespective of their migration status, is the basis for their decision-making and action. Providing appropriate protection for migrants does not mean that governments should allow blanket access. Rather, it means identifying those who are in need of international protection and affording them such protection accordingly, and, for those whose asylum claims are rejected, ensuring their humane and appropriate treatment, including safe return to their country of origin. In the most immediate and practical terms, providing minimum protection for all migrants arriving in Europe through irregular channels means ensuring that EU search and rescue operations at sea are robust and cover the widest geographic area possible; ensuring that reception facilities are adequate for the volume and diversity of arrivals; and ensuring swift and fair processing of asylum claims and appropriate action once status has been determined.
 
Second, EU states must adopt a coherent, long-term and comprehensive strategy that tackles both the causes and the consequences of the current influx, including as part of a wider international effort to maximise the benefits and minimise the human and economic costs of global migration. This must provide for adequate political,diplomatic and economic investments in countries of origin, transit or first destination outside the EU, as well as improving asylum systems and resettlement in destination countries within the EU. The concepts of burden-sharing and solidarity must be at the heart of this approach. Given the ever-increasing numbers of arrivals, failure to ensure swift and fair relocation across the EU risks collapsing the asylum systems of even the wealthiest states . Sharing the financial burden with refugee hosting states in regions of origin through increased financial and other investments is also crucial: the recent EU pledge of up to €1 billion to Turkey in 2015–16 is a welcome move, but a more strategic approach is needed. Greater political-diplomatic efforts in countries of origin could help bring a swifter end to the crises that are generating large-scale forced migration.
 
Third, the current situation must be reframed not simply as a crisis for Europe, but also as an opportunity. The human capital of refugees and other migrants has barely featured in political and public discourse. In practice, however, they invariably bring skills, entrepreneurial expertise and capacities that may help address the labour market and income gaps that many EU states face as their populations age and birth rates decline . Legally, practically and morally, Europe must come together to institute a more humane and effective response. As articulated by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on International Migration: there is no reason to require people seeking asylum to run a gamut of desert crossings, abuse by smugglers, beatings, extortion, rape and exploitation – or to have them experience the trauma of watching their friends and family die along the way. Doing so is cruel and inhuman and it violates the spirit of all refugee, human rights and immigration laws .
 
In the present day world violence, dispute and conflict that has been faced by the human race is due to the aggresive attitude and misappropriation of power. Belittling others dignity and showing own superiority is a common problem everywhere in the world. Because of this mindset, the world is gradually stepping towards violence.
 
Islam is the Religion of Peace. Allah Himself declared his messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the blessings for all the creatures of the worlds. Hence there is no room for terrorism, violence and militancy in Islam. Those who misappropriate the religion of Islam and involve themselves in violence have in true sense no relationship with Islam. Because, a perfect practising Muslim can never be a terrorist. 
 
A Muslim is not considered a perfect Muslim if he does not establish faith in Prophet Jesues (pbuh), Moses (pbuh) and other prophets (pbut) and messengers of Allah. Thus Islam showed respect for the believers of other religion to establish peace in this world. All prophets (pbut) invited their people to adhere to the commandments of Allah and do righteous deeds. Our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his farewell hajj address said that there should be no discrimination among the human being on the basis of colour, race and wealth. He practically showed how to implement the orders of Allah in the life of a human being.
 
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said ‘‘A Muslim is one whose neighbours are safe form his tongue and hands’’.
 
Islam does not permit launching attact on someone unless he is attacked first. Even in the battle feild Islam does not permit killing women, children, priest of other religion. From all these examples we can easily understand that Islam by all means safeguards peace and harmony.
 
In our country Government has declared Zeroto lerence policy against terrorism. As a result violence and terrorism in the guise of Islam could not pose a threat to our country. From this conference I invite everyone to unitedly combat violence in the name of religion.
 
Allah clearly commanded the believers not to abuse the deities of the believers of other religion. Islam never shows any distraction towards the believers of other religion. In the holy Quran in chapter 5 verse 82 Allah says that, the nearest in affection towards the believers are those who say "We are Christians". Hence Christians are the brothers of Muslim.
 
We all know that all the religious Principles are unique and hence Allah commanded His messenger prophet Muhammad (pbuh) " Say O people of the Book, come to terms common between us and you : that we worship none but Allah and that we associate nothing with him and that none of us takes others as Lord besides Allah (Al-Quran : verse 64, chapter 3).
 
The essence of all religion is humanity and welfare of the creatures of God. Our prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said "All the creatures are but dependents on Allah (Tirmidhi)". He also said, "He is the best human being who does good to other human being".
 
Inspired with the above sayings of our Prophet(pbuh) the second Caliph of Islam Omar bin Khattab said 'Allah will accuse me on the day of Judgment if a dog dies of starvation on the bank of Euphrates river'.
 
After the conquest of Mecca, those who persecuted him in many ways prophet(pbuh) forgave all those pagans saying "today is not the day of retaliation, today is the day of forgiveness. Those who will even close their doors and remain inside their houses will not be hurt”. He transformed the houses of his persecutors into their safe fort. To avoid bloodshed it was a far-sighted policy and endeavour of our Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
 
In one word, Prophet Moses (pbuh), Jesus (pbuh) and other Prophets brought the same peace message as that of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).This peace conference is in true perspective a sequel of that peace message. Allah and his Prophet(pbuh) called the human being toward peace, to do righteous deeds and prohibit bad deeds and not to follow the foot steps of satan who is a distinct enemy of human being. In the holy Quran Allah said in the context of good deeds "Those who believe, and those who are jewish, and the Christians, and the Sabeans- any who believe in Allah and the last Day, and act righteously will have their reward with their Lord ; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve" (verse 61 ; Chapter 2). 
 
It is essential to establish tolerance and fraternity in one hand and eradicate economic discrimination, communal violence on the other. Simultaneously we must try to safeguard our children from the deadly aggression of drugs. We need to give an all out effort for peaceful co-existence of the believers of all religion and carry on interfaith dialogue.   
 
The current surge in migration to the European Union (EU) is rapidly becoming the largest and most complex facing Europe since the Second World War. EU governments are facing huge policy and practical challenges in determining and addressing the immediate and longer-term needs of refugees and other migrants. EU governments must ensure the protection of all migrants, irrespective of their status, and ensure that they are treated in accordance with international law, including with regard to the right to seek asylum. The UNHCR urgently needs to put in place a coherent, long-term and comprehensive strategy that maximises the benefits of migration and minimises its human and economic costs, including as part of a wider international effort to manage global migration including those from Mayanmar to Bangladesh.
 
Dear audience, the whole human race are the descendants of Adam (pbuh) and Eve. We are gentically bonded with a unique tie and if we belive in the fraternity of all human being and engage ourselves in the welfeare of each other, we can easily achieve peace. As a son of Adam (pbuh) may I invite you all from this conference to work together from respective position for the cause of Justice and peace and bring about a solution to the problem of migration particularly to the EU.
 
May Allah accept our endeavor. Ameen.With this may I conclude my speech with special thanks once again to the organizers of this conference."Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu."
 


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