Real Life Inspirational Stories of Refugees
Channel: Omar Suleiman
File Size: 19.30MB
Episode Transcript ©
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First of all, I hope you caught what Dr. Dahlia Fahey said that this has to be the birth of a new anti war movement. And I want to emphasize on the onset before we talk about the humanitarianism that's required and all of us taking care of refugees, and being there in the support of the Syrians who are now facing the greatest humanitarian disaster that we will probably know in our times, as well as the Palestinian refugees that have been displaced now, for over six decades, we have to start forcing our government and forcing policy around the world so that more refugees are not created. And that we're able to make a way out for these people so that they don't continue to live
in diaspora. So when we talk about them as human beings that require our love and our compassion, one thing that I emphasize to those youth on that trip is that they expect you to be their voice. They don't just expect you to send charity, they don't just expect you to go there and and interact with them. And although that's wonderful,
allow them to feel human again and have some sort of outlet for their grief and for their pain.
They expect you to be their voice, they expect you to tell their story for them, to tell the world about them. And you have this seemingly endless influx of refugees into the deserts of Jordan, into Turkey, internally displaced in Syria running from airstrike to airstrike and looking for refuge in any part of the world and willing to put their lives on the line to escape the misery that they are in.
I want you to imagine what goes through the minds of a parents, as they board a boat, knowing that there is a great chance that they're not going to make it to any country shore, and that their children may wash up on a beach resort in Turkey, or in Greece, I want you to imagine what goes through the minds of a mother and a child who have lost the father figure in a home and do not know whether he is dead or alive and have not seen him for five, six years, and are literally living for the purpose of living
in these refugee camps.
Your brothers and sisters, I want to share with you all some of the reflections that I had from this, these last two trips, actually and Hamdulillah. And I encourage you by the way to try to also take a trip out there. I know Helping Hand is organizing another youth for Jordan trip this coming summer in sha Allah Allah to try to interact with these people. And not only that, but to really look for the Syrian refugees that are in your own localities. A lot of times when we talk about the Syrian refugees, and what can you do for Syria, we forget that there's a piece of Syria in Baltimore and a piece of Syria and Dallas and a piece of Syria, in Houston and all over the country. There are
clusters of Syrian refugees that are sitting in their apartment complexes without furniture and without any guidance as to how they should proceed with the rest of their lives that have no social structure, except for maybe a church or a charitable organization that brings them in once a week or once a month that do not know how to operate a cell phone in this country that don't know how to pay bills or apply for jobs. They're in your cities as well. They're right here and interacting with them is of crucial importance. And the first reflection that I'll share with you is actually one where the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam spoke about guidance and how he felt overwhelmed by
his mission. He said sallallahu alayhi wa sallam about the people that I am like a man standing in front of a fire that is stopping a bunch of fireflies or bugs trying to jump into the fire. And the profit slice on said I'm grabbing you by your waist cloths. I'm grabbing you by your belts trying to stop you from that fire which will harm you. And he said salaallah Hardy was set them to describe his despair at the fact that he could not save everyone that you're fleeing from my hands. I grab one group of you and then another group of you gets past me. I grabbed this person but their parents escaped me I grabbed this parent this person but their children escaped me. And I thought about that
numerous times as we were on the border of Syria.
That when we deliver these trailer homes and when we are able to aid 100 or 200 Refugees
Immediately the Shavon comes in whispers to you and says, What about the other 3 million?
You can't reach them.
And I swear to you that there are multiple moments where you just feel like sitting down and crying and not doing anything anymore. Because you feel like you can't rescue them all. So what's the point of even trying, and you have to remind yourself over and over again, that Allah will not ask you about the 2.8 or 2.9 million that you could not directly help, he will ask you about the 100 or 200, or 300 or 400, that you could, Allah might not ask you on the day of judgment about a person who you could not help in policy or with aid or with humanitarian relief. But he will ask you about your neighbors and those that are around the corner from you. And whether or not you even gave them your
voice. And it's so easy to just give up and say, why even try? What's the point.
And I'll tell you a thought that came to my mind. Just as when the messenger sallallahu alayhi wa sallam speaks about this heavy burden of trying to save these people in the spiritual sense. He also knew salAllahu alayhi wasallam, that perhaps one of those that he caught by the waist cloth would rise up to also assist him and saving others that are falling into the fire.
And I thought to myself, maybe just maybe by saving a few, by giving shelter to a few, those few will have the accommodations necessary required for them to be able to also be in a capacity of being caregivers, to everyone else. You see the beauty of people coming together around the shared amount of resources.
The last story is not just the refugees that some of the breadwinners that live on the outskirts that are next to those refugee camps, that will wire their electricity to the refugee camps as well. So that those people can also have electricity, even if they can bring them all into their homes. The Untold Story of those refugee camps is the refugee that has decided that they will somehow overcome those conditions, and that they will be the cause for the relief of their people who are also in those conditions. That child that determined to get an education, one of the most fantastic, one of the most phenomenal human beings that I met in the refugee camp was a school teacher from
And she decided to turn her tent into a classroom.
And she would go and she would bring all of the children from that camp and continue to teach them
even though the assessment is bleak, and it seems like there is no end in sight to this. Some of them know that one day in sha Allah Tada, they will overcome those seemingly insurmountable obstacles, to be a source of relief not just to themselves and their families and their people, but to others that will take their time, their turn in this genocidal cycle of history that we have today, especially in the under the pretext of modern warfare.
And I want you to understand something dear brothers and sisters, while people in this country push the narrative that those refugees are a source of fear. You have to push back with the narrative that those refugees are, in fact the source of inspiration,
that they have stories that can inspire entire generations, and they are people that we should look to for help as well. Because our inability to recognize their humanity is a sign of a lack of humanity on our part. It means that we lack that humanity. And these ideals that we strive to hold true
of justice and freedom cannot only be sought when it's politically convenient to do so.
When the President floats a theology, in which suddenly these children are children of God, when they were not children of God, when we rejected them from our borders, we have to push back on that hypocrisy, and a reform of policy that continues to create more neglected refugees that are only rescued or only sought when it's in the benefit and the interest of world powers that continue to perpetuate the vicious cycle that leaves them in despair. We have to push back against it. And we have to raise their stories. When you look at those refugees you don't see other children you see your own children. When you see them through the screen, I want you to understand that though their
eyes may be open, as we saw with the young boy Imran in the back of an ambulance, covered in ash.
Not knowing what has happened. Looking around with this blank stare. When you look at Enron's face, you see death.
You see this, this
you see this soul, this child, this child soul, that should have the same opportunities that our kids have
to be able to love life and to be happy and to wake up every morning and have loving parents that take them to school, to know that they will come home to a shelter, where they will have food on the table. And not only that, more than anything else a future
that they will have their choice of what education they want to pursue, what career they want to pursue, for the sake of their communities and for the sake of humanity. When we raise our children, we're not just providing them food and shelter. We're giving them hope of a future. Imagine waking up in these tents. And knowing that as you wake up, the only goal that you have for that day is to make it another day.
The only goal that you have is to continue to live and life has become just for the purpose of life.
And as I was speaking with these refugees one by one,
as they're slowly meeting their death, actually remember the statement from Maya Angelou when Maya Angelou said that there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.
The way that these young people, these young children and these women who are now widows wanted to be able to have someone to tell their story to the validation that they felt in the presence of people from a faraway land, just because they had someone else to tell their story to
and the way they depended on us to then bring their story back to these shores. A country that has deemed them to barbaric to accept so that they can tell their own stories here.
That told me something. And I remembered our messenger sallallahu alayhi wa sallam when he was a refugee. And I remembered Hasani his salaam when he was a refugee and Musa alayhis salam when he was a refugee, and the companions of the Prophet sly some as they entered into Medina and Abu Bakr Siddiq, Allah, the Allah Tada. I know when he got to Medina, he started to author these poems about death, that what's left after Medina, except for death, everyone got sick because it wasn't home because they lack stability. And you know Allah subhanaw taala likens
being a refugee in the Quran to death when Allah subhanaw taala says in Surah Nisa, Willow Anna Khattab now I am an ecology woman, Dr. An Ecto and Fusa calm our crew, Jerome and Dr. Rocha me in the article when Allah subhanaw taala says that and had we written upon them to kill yourselves with Raju min dare come or leave your homes. Allah likens a person being forced to leave their home to death. Why? Because not having any prospects in this world, not having anything to look forward to not having the stability
of a country and a homeland. And a place where you can build yourself and foster your own development and the development of your children
is practically death.
Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to look deeply right now, especially those of you who are young enough to craft out your career goals. As you now pursue your career. Will you pursue your career with the intention of helping those people the use of Amazon may Allah have mercy on them our three winners as they pursued their careers in dentistry, they pursued it with the intention
of being able to provide dental care for those Syrian refugees. Those of you that are pursuing journalism or that are thinking of pursuing journalism do you have in your mind and your heart and your intention that you are doing so so that you could tell their stories?
Those of you that are pursuing education
do you have in your mind and in your heart that you want to be able to provide educational programming for those children that are now eight nine years old and cannot read because they have no means of learning how to read in those refugee camps.
As you look to your career, as you craft out your future, don't forget that you are not just responsible for your future, but you're responsible for their future as well. What struck me most when I was there, dear brothers and sisters
As I listened to these untold stories previously untold stories of people that had been dying,
to let others know what they had been through,
what I heard over and over again, was that I did not expect this to happen.
I'm not one brother by the name of it. Ali is a 52 year old man whose wife was killed in their strike.
And who has seven children, two of them were killed in an airstrike.
So he was in that refugee camp with five kids. His oldest daughter is 19 years old. Before the airstrikes struck them, they were preparing for her wedding.
Think about that.
The way that this rapidly changed for them, they are not a people who thought that they would one day be refugees. They are a people who had hopes and dreams for themselves and for their children, just as we have hopes and dreams for our own children. They knew that they had something ahead of them. And now they have that uncertainty, and we have to be there to provide that certainty for them. I wrote about Shahadat, that young girl, whose birthday is the same day as my daughter may.
And when I hugged her as I was leaving, and I could see I could smell the stench of her hair because they don't have access to showers. Some of these children have lice. As they open their mouths, you can see all of the decay in their teeth. But Subhanallah the most beautiful smiles that you will ever see.
The most beautiful smiles that you will ever see. Because their smiles of resistance.
Their smiles of people that have not given up on the hope that one day they too will be able to live. The question is, have we given up on providing them that opportunity, no matter how desperate the situation gets, no matter how hopeless it seems for our brothers and sisters in Syria, know that if you are able to save one life, it is as if you have saved the life of mankind. Know that if you are able to provide an opportunity to one child who thought that they did not have that opportunity. It's as if you provided an opportunity to all of the children of the world, an imam in order to be Rahim Allah said and one of the benefits of that is that he who saves a life it is as if he has
saved the life of all of mankind is that perhaps through saving that one person's life, they will then dedicate themselves to saving the lives of others. And they will then dedicate themselves to saving the lives of others, we have to rediscover our humanitarian tradition in Islam, where we don't just feel humanly obliged to these people, we feel spiritually obliged to these people. We feel like our religion calls us to affirm their humanity in the face of the animals that run our government and the governments around the world and continue to deny them a dignified existence, we push back, we resist by continuing to care about them. Because slowly, slowly, we will lose stamina.
And just like the Palestinians, who still live in diaspora, who still live in refugee camps neglected, now over six decades, and people have moved on because of fatigue, to different conflicts, the Syrians are now at risk of having the same thing done to them. But we push back on the we resist when we send our children to go and serve those Syrian refugees in Jordan or in Turkey, or in Lebanon, or here in Baltimore, or wherever it is that you came from. We resist the notion that people's humanity expires after a decade of having get denied by a dictator. We resist the narrative that their children have less of a right to live dignified than our own children. We
resist the narrative that just because the media wants us to focus on a bad hair day of a celebrity, that's a millionaire. Instead of these people that don't have access to basic hygienic products. We reject the narrative that that person's hair is more important than a million lives that are living in camps in Jordan, we reject it.
And I remind you the next time as you're watching the images on TV, and as you're seeing these refugees and in sha Allah to Allah as you are experiencing and encountering these refugees in flush, I remind you of the image of the Prophet slice, I'm trying to grab people by the waist cloth. That's all we're trying to do. Trying to grab as many as we can. To rescue not just those people but to rescue the narrative of their people collectively. May Allah subhanaw taala Give victory to our brothers and sisters in a sham. May Allah give
Victory to our brothers and sisters that are oppressed all over the world. May Allah subhanaw taala uplift them through us. May Allah not allow them to be a cause of punishment for us on the Day of Judgment due to our ignoring them. May Allah subhanaw taala guide our hearts to compassion and mercy and allow us to be channels of His mercy to those people to Zakouma located on the Santa Monica Mountains.