UNHCR Protection Officer walks with newly arrived families who she is relocating to the long-established Kutupalong refugee camp. © UNHCR/ Paula Bronstein
The novel coronavirus has altered daily life as we know it for billions across the globe. While we all share the challenges of being faced with sudden and abrupt changes, levels of social and economic privilege still determine how safely one is able to navigate this new reality. At times like this, we should not lose sight of the ongoing sufferings that are only being exacerbated by this global pandemic. The refugee narrative needs to be heard loud and clear, now more than ever.
The experience of exile is one we all feel we are used to hearing by now. Stories of desperation, loss and grief. Stories that often fail to humanise its subjects by distancing them from the rest of the world, from those of us who cannot conceive of having to flee our homes from persecution and disaster. These stories have been prominent in our media yet served most often to provoke pity and hopelessness.
In the Qur’an, Allah swt reminds us time and time again to protect ourselves from despair.
“Do not lose heart nor fall into despair! You shall triumph if you are believers.” (3:39)
“Be not of the despairing.” (15:55)
As an ummah, we are being faced with countless challenges today all over the world. And the biggest challenge remains - how do we feel hope in a time of such great humanitarian crises? But perhaps we don’t need to look so far after all. In every experience of oppression there is the strength to overcome adversity. In every loss, there is a will to keep moving forward. The refugee experience is in fact not of despair at all, but a testimony of determination, of inconceivable strength, of hope and of faith. It deserves our recognition and our action. If nothing else, refugees should be an inspiration to all of us; that we are all capable of more than we know. Their stories carry with them a reminder. A reminder of our collective responsibility as an ummah, to stand by the oppressed and to take action for their cause with the same hope that they carry.
At HalalTrip, in partnership with UNHCR, we are starting a blog series to share refugee stories to amplify voices of perseverance and hope. It is true that the refugee crises of today are like nothing humanity has ever seen.
“Tackling the challenge of forced displacement, and its complex root causes, calls for a bigger and broader ambition than we have managed to muster in the past.”
- Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Likewise, the collective action being taken is on a scale we haven’t achieved before. From on-the-ground efforts and government and NGO action, to financial support. An incredible amount of hard work is being put into refugee support, and we need to help it grow. To facilitate the contributions of Muslims all over the world, UNHCR has launched its Refugee Zakat Fund, a trusted, compliant and effective distributor harnessing the power of Zakat to transform the lives of refugees. Let’s fulfill our responsibility towards refugees.
To learn more and contribute, you can visit them at: https://bit.ly/HalalTripZakat