During the first day of the 12th Al Jazeera Forum, 28 April 2018, a book signing was held for Covering the Stories of Refugees by Arafat Madi.
Published by the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies in 2018, the book tackles the Islamic perspective of the issue of refugees, particularly since a large proportion of refugees are Muslims or reside in Muslim countries and only a few Muslim countries have signed international treaties relating to refugees. Does asylum conflict with Islam? If not, why have many Arab and Muslim countries not yet provided legislation on refugees? What are the Islamic principles concerning asylum? What are the rights and obligations of the Islamic state towards refugees? How close is the concept of asylum in Islam to the 1951 Geneva Convention?
The challenge in this book is that Islamic tradition does not include clear jurisprudence on asylum or refugees. Thus, Madi delves into the various sources of Islamic tradition to determine the foundations of what he calls the “asylum system” in Islam, comparing it to the 1951 Refugee Convention. With careful examination, he identifies the points of similarities and divergence between the two approaches.
Furthermore, the author discusses articles in the treaty that do not correspond to any clear and detailed Islamic heritage texts in light of the Islamic values and principles that may or may not conform to the terms of the treaty. After establishing this foundation, he then reviews the laws in the Arab countries that deal with the issue of asylum to draw a conclusion on whether these laws are compatible with the Islamic asylum system and international law in this respect.