Negeri Sembilan mufti Mohd Yusof Ahmad says Islam teaches its followers to show justice to all, including refugees and undocumented migrants, as the hunt continues for a handful of Rohingya, part of a larger group which escaped from a temporary holding centre in Penang earlier this month.
Yusof said Islam does not discriminate but demands that its followers treat all people fairly without considering their backgrounds.
“Refugees leave their own countries because their lives are in danger, to look for shelter in other countries,” he told MalaysiaNow.
“Islam treats all mankind with dignity regardless of race or religion.”
Over 500 Rohingya escaped from the Sungai Bakap Immigration detention depot near Bandar Baharu on April 20, sparking a massive manhunt with the police warning the public that the refugees could be dangerous and might resort to committing crimes.
Nine days later, with some 60 still unaccounted for, the police said they would release the refugees’ names and photos to facilitate their rearrest.
“They can change their names, but when we have their photos we will know that they are the wanted detainees if they are arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor or other states,” Kedah police chief Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad said.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are about 181,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the country.
According to its data, 85% are from Myanmar including 103,000 Rohingya, while the rest are from 50 other countries including Pakistan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia.
When asked if the government had the right from an Islamic point of view to refuse refugees asylum in Malaysia, Yusof said everything must be investigated before any decision is made.
“Islam requires that an issue be scrutinised and rejected if it is found to be untrue,” he said.
He added that refugees in the country must also follow the laws put in place by the government.
“As a sovereign country, Malaysia has laws that must be obeyed by all parties,” he said.