The paper addresses the migrant-refugee debate in relation to recent refugee flows from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries gaining unauthorized entry into Europe. This is compared with the accusations (and denials) that the wealthy countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (gcc) states have not accepted any refugees from Syria in particular. It is argued that the definition of migrants and refugees is problematic in that they often converge with respect to livelihood needs and rights. Current provisions should adapt to contemporary circumstances as in the current refugee ‘crisis’ and perhaps more regard by Muslim states in the use of Islamic ethical principles applicable to the treatment of migrants and refugees. In this sense, there is a serendipitous convergence of recent arguments about refugee livelihood requirements and practices of Muslim countries such as the gcc. The primary difference is that for refugees, resettlement is assumed to be permanent, while the gcc states only offer temporary residence status.
Migration and Islamic Ethics, Issues of Residence, Naturalization and Citizenship addresses how Islamic ethical and legal traditions can contribute to current global debates on migration and displacement; how Islamic ethics of muʾakha, ḍiyāfa, ijāra, amān, jiwār, sutra, kafāla, among others, may provide common ethical grounds for a new paradigm of social and political virtues applicable to all humanity, not only Muslims. The present volume more broadly defines the Islamic tradition to cover not only theology but also to encompass ethics, customs and social norms, as well as modern political, humanitarian and rights discourses. The first section addresses theorizations and conceptualizations using contemporary Islamic examples, mainly in the treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees; the second, contains empirical analyses of contemporary case studies; the third provides historical accounts of Muslim migratory experiences.
Contributors are: Abbas Barzegar, Abdul Jaleel, Dina Taha, Khalid Abou El Fadl, Mettursun Beydulla, Radhika Kanchana, Ray Jureidini, Rebecca Gould, Said Fares Hassan, Sari Hanafi, Tahir Zaman.
This paper is an attempt to identify the continuities and discontinuities between the religious Islamic notion and practice of kafala (kafāla) and its contemporary application to migrant, or temporary contract labour – with specific reference to the Gulf States where it has been most prominently legislated and practiced. Western (and non-Western) critiques of this form of kafala portray it as a system that is inherently oppressive and exploitative and thus falls considerably short of its traditional representations in Islam. It has been argued that there has been a fundamental rupture between Islamic jurisprudence of kafala and its present practice as a form of labour management. Part of the argument in this paper is that the modern Islamic state, through the right of the leader (waliy al-amr and his siyāsa sharʿiyya), has legitimately modified traditional practices on the basis of the public interest (maṣlaḥa). This political dimension has not been previously addressed. However, despite the veritable criticism of the contemporary practices in the name of kafala, it is argued here that these should be seen as violations of the principles, not because of the principles themselves. We can still identify a traditional normative set of social arrangements, but the exploitative potential of these arrangements motivated by greed and control has overtaken the ethical guidelines of trust, care, responsibility and obligations in relation to the presence of foreign contract labour. From the law and religious dicta through fatwas, we provide evidence of traditional ethical continuity, with some traditional elements in the codified law, but non-compliance in contemporary practice – a perennial problem.