The Chairman of Kalam Research & Media (KRM), Dr Aref Ali Nayed, spoke on the topic of migration and Libya at an interfaith panel at the global conference on xenophobia organised by the World Council of Churches and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU).
The conference was held in Rome on 18-20 September 2019, and brought together Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu leaders, who spoke candidly about how xenophobia can sometimes be woven deeply into the fabric of of extremist religious discourse.
Dr Nayed began his remarks at the conference in his speech by reflecting that the whole division of migrants and non-migrants in the world is quite delusional. “We are all transient here on earth”, said Nayed. “Eventually, everybody checks out,” he said. “How did we conduct ourselves during our stay? We are all migrants. What did you do with your fellow migrants?” The concept of how we treat fellow migrants is in everyone’s scriptures, no matter their faith tradition, reflected Nayed.
After touching on the lessons of migration learned in the very early days of Islam, he defined Islam as a very migratory religion. “We are asking God to lead us to the right path, to lead us on the way,” he said. “The notion of being a stranger is actually celebrated. We are all strangers. Muslims who abuse migrants are abusing Islam.”
Nayed also underscored the importance of changing unjust laws that abuse migrants. “I just want to say, as people of God, from whatever denomination you are, from whatever religion you are, you have a responsibility to talk to your governments to make sure policies change.”
As part of the closing of the international conference on “Xenophobia, Racism and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration” in Rome organized by the Vatican and the WCC, Dr Nayed, Chairman of Kalam Research and Media, greeted H.H. Pope Francis.
Dr Nayed also met with Dr Olav Fykse Tviet, General Secretary of the WCC, to discuss common challenges facing Muslims and Christians.
All photos © Sohail Nakhooda/KRM