Make tackling plight of nationless Muslims a priority - Sultan Nazrin

Last update: 21/12/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 -- Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said as Muslim nations pursue national development agendas, they should also strive to tackle the hardships faced by nationless Muslims the world over.

Underscoring that this should become a priority, he said Muslim countries must be more involved in the conversation on this matter.

“We have a vital responsibility to our nationless Muslim brothers and sisters, and we must do better at reaching out and offering them homes and hope,” the Perak Ruler said in his royal address when closing the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here today.

The Sultan acknowledged that a number of Muslim-majority countries  such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan and Iran are already doing their share by hosting vast numbers of refugees, part of the nearly 10 million refugees coming from Muslim-majority nations.

But the Muslim world, he said, could do much more particularly as it develops and grows in wealth and power, with many Muslim-majority nations are more affluent now.

“Many more of us could therefore be working much harder to raise awareness, contribute to the global dialogue and provide financial and material support that humanitarian aid efforts so desperately need,” he said.

Sultan Nazrin also underscored that Muslims rendered nationless after having been forced to abandon their homes and flee their homelands due to hardships, conflict and persecution should not have to hazard the perilous journey to Europe in order to feel safe, comfortable and secure. 

He said one of the reasons that Islamic refugees seek shelter in Europe is that they believe the continent will afford them greater opportunities in education, financial security as well as freedom, dignity and human rights that they were stripped of in their home countries.

Touching on this point, Sultan Nazrin expressed hope that the world will never forget the heart-breaking image of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned as he and his family attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea while fleeing to Europe.

“They sometimes say that a picture speaks a thousand words, but I think that this picture left us with no words at all. This was a heart-rending tragedy. There are surely many, many more, neither seen by the world nor heard by it,” the Sultan said.

In driving home the point that this should not have happened, the Perak monarch said: “There should be safe refuge for them closer to home.”

He said the KL Summit’s focus on development has huge potential to improve the lives of Muslim refugees across the world.

Sultan Nazrin said as Muslim nations become more prosperous, more stable and more developed in terms of technology, education and work opportunities, they become more better placed to offer helpful, safe and productive lives to refugees seeking fresh hope and new homes.

They also become more able to fund humanitarian efforts and command greater power and sway on the world stage in order to ensure that nations pay attention to the crisis as well, Sultan Nazrin said.

“As Muslims, it’s my sincerest hope that we can lead the way in helping our nationless brothers and sisters rather than lag behind,” he said.

He believed that conferences such as the KL Summit, which build bridges between Islamic nations across the world, could act as a springboard for them to act more earnestly to tackle the problem.

“Indeed, I believe that a great deal of positive change could be achieved if the plight of the nationless is foregrounded at this summit going forward,” the monarch said.

Sultan Nazrin also hoped that the next edition of KL Summit will focus on the progress made in implementing the various initiatives outlined to push the Muslim ummah forward.