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It is Muslims that welcome refugees

It is truly an age of disbelief. Respect for the values of human life has plunged. The number of people of Christian faith, who declare belief in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth that upholds the dignity and rights of the human person, stand with the poor and the excluded, share with the refugees and the homeless, is at an all-time low.

Faith in serving our suffering neighbour as a Good Samaritan, binding up the wounds of the stranger, reaching out to feed the hungry, working for peace and justice is lost in a world of materialism where the ideology is greed is good.

Our prosperous world of money and power, wealth and possessions has created a generation of people that appears to be more interested in selfish satisfaction and glorification.

Much of the younger generation is absorbed with themselves, isolated by technology, gadgets and games from loving or serving in human interaction. This is a lonely, isolated generation. The selfie world is almost complete.

They seem to retreat into silence and inaction rather than take an open stand for the victims of human rights, child abuse and exploitation. Few march for peace or against racism and war.

Where indeed are the cries of those who believe in the love of neighbour and the service of the oppressed and the exploited poor? They are drowned out by the noisy blare of mindless revelry and drug-dependent pleasure.

There are brave and courageous people, but they are mostly unsupported voices crying in the wilderness. Pope Francis strives to revive a faith in Jesus that is lived out through commitment to the oppressed and determination to live and work for social and gospel justice and truth.

In Syria, Bashar Assad continues to drop barrel bombs on civilians. An opposition rebel group, supported by the coalition of western nations fighting the Islamic State, beheaded a 12-year old boy.

Europe has suicidal terrorists filled with extremist ideology, anger, hatred and feelings of exclusion.

In The Philippines, the so-called war on drugs has been chalking up at least 10 murders a day for the past weeks and there is no end in sight. They are mostly poor slum-dwellers.

From the carnage of the Middle East, millions of homeless and displaced people are being shunned by most of Europe.

The helpless families have nowhere to hide, but tell their children to run in the hope of survival in a friendly country. But they are blocked by the barbed-wire fences or abducted by abusers and traffickers, and turned into sex slaves.

The United Kingdom has voted itself out of the unity of Europe, a unity that brought peace, economic progress and development. The European Union is a system of limited democratic-shared governance that seeks to share the wealth of the richer with its poorer members.

And now comes the figures and facts that show an embarrassing truth. The wealthiest countries in the world, such as the United States of America, China, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, which together hold 56.6 per cent of the global gross domestic product, host just 2.1 million refugees between them; 8.9 per cent of the world’s total.

The rich and super rich, the one per cent of the population, control 60 per cent of global wealth, but welcome only nine per cent of the refugees in the world.

An Oxfam report says, “Of these 2.1 million people, roughly a third is hosted by Germany (736,740), while the remaining 1.4 million are split between the other five countries.” The Guardian reports that is less than one per cent of all the refugees in the world.

In contrast, more than half—almost 12 million—are in Jordan, Turkey, Palestine, Pakistan, Lebanon and South Africa, which share only two per cent of the world’s economy.

So, it is the poor, mostly Muslim countries that are helping the poor. If we think we are going to gain eternal life without passing the test that Jesus of Nazareth gives us—to end hunger, release innocent prisoners, clothe the naked, feed the hungry (Matthew 25) and work for justice with love of neighbour—we are mistaken.

What greater way is there to live than to live for others and not for self.


                        • Father Shay Cullen