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Archive for June, 2013

I’m dedicating this entry to all refugees in this world, praying that one day, your lives will be back to normal inshaAllah. For the rest of the world, let’s do our part to help them. The message below is sent to me from a dear sister whom I had known from my University life, thank you Kak Taherah for sending me this reminder.

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Bismillah.

How can we answer Allah azza wa jall on yawmul qiyamah when there are people who barely have  a morsel of food to get by their days in our own land yet we enjoy with our families different delicacies to our fill?May Allah alleviate their pain and soften our hearts to be more charitable and concern for others amin. Please kindly share this message with anyone you know especially Malaysians and if it can be addressed to any goverment rep, that would be great. BarakAllahu feekum.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “MuslimMatters.org” <info@muslimmatters.org>
Date: Jun 16, 2013 2:01 PM
Subject: muslimmatters.org
To: <anonymous>

muslimmatters.org


Plight of the Refugee Women

Posted: 14 Jun 2013 09:05 PM PDT

By: Wajahat Meenai

Five women from five countries, all bound to the same fate as refugees, here in Malaysia. They face life one day at a time, in fading hope, alleviated only through the bond of their friendship and journey together. This is their plight.

 

Refugee from Sudan

Saleema is from Sudan. She speaks four languages (Arabic, English, French, and Malay). She’s married, with three young children. Her husband, Muḥammad has a professional background in restaurant management yet is unable to find a job legally here in Malaysia, while Saleema struggles as a free-lance teacher. They arrived in Malaysia a few years ago, and are only able to make enough money to put a little bit of food on the table for their children every month. Similar to other refugee parents, there are days where Saleema and Muḥammad don’t eat at all or have just one meal in order to feed their three kids.

Mariam, and her husband Kareem are from Afghanistan. They’ve been living in Malaysia as refugees for the past two years. They have a beautiful son who just turned one year old, a few months ago. Kareem used to do odd jobs, mainly taking care of the Shisha preparations in small cafes. Unfortunately due to illness, Kareem could no longer continue with that line of work. Several months past as Kareem struggled with his own health while attempting to find a new opportunity for income, but met with failure repeatedly due to his refugee status.

Even after being registered under the UNHCR program, refugees like Kareem aren’t allowed to work legally in Malaysia. Without steady employment, the lack of income has taken a toll on Kareem’s health as he doesn’t have the funds to seek proper medical treatment. Mariam, Kareem and their one year old son have been diagnosed with malnutrition for a long time now. The only form of support they receive are intermittent donations that provide food on the table irregularly.

 

Refugee women from Syria

In the midst of all these difficulties, Saleema and Mariam have found comfort in their friendship. Both women strive to find opportunities everyday, in order to ensure that their families are safe and healthy. They recently met Jamila, a strong-willed Iraqi woman who lived as a refugee in Syria for four years before coming here to Malaysia. Surviving in Syria for four years wasn’t easy but the situation became worse when the armed conflict began there. Jamila, together with her five children had to flee Syria then, leaving her husband behind. As a single woman here in Malaysia for the last one year, she’s had tremendous difficulties accessing support and employment, thus facing similar problems of malnutrition & not having enough food for the family.

Jamila is just one amongst the hundreds of Iraqi citizens who had been seeking refuge in Syria, and then eventually had to flee in fear of their lives during the armed conflict. This is a similar story shared by Fatema, also a single mother of three children from Palestine, all of whom are suffering from different medical problems. The biggest concern in Fatema’s mind has always been how to help her children medically when her financial conditions are so bleak.

 

A refugee family

Refugees in Malaysia like Fatema & her children are all billed as foreigners at hospitals here, irrespective of public or private, which is effectively double or more in comparison to what a Malaysian citizen pays. If a refugee is lucky enough to be registered under the UNHCR program, he or she is provided a fifty percent subsidization on medical bills. But bear in mind, that this is a refugee who is charged a foreigner rate, and often doesn’t even have a steady income, therefore even a fifty percent subsidized bill is often out of their financial capacity.

Mona, an Irani refugee here in Malaysia knows all these families through their children. She works tirelessly, teaching the kids how to read & write in English, better preparing them for the possibilities of an education in the future. Not only does Mona interact with the children as a teacher, but she relates to them as a refugee herself, struggling to make ends meet every month, hoping for better opportunities in order to provide her own family a dignified life.

In the face of such hardship, these women continue to fight a battle everyday, hoping to bring back some level of normality and dignity to their own families. But they shouldn’t have to face such overwhelming odds alone. It’s time you, me, and all of the beautiful citizens of Malaysia come together to remove the suffering of these lost and afflicted families. Refugees like Saleema, Mariam, Jamila, Fatema, and Mona need a voice, and that’s what Carefugees aims to become – a platform through which support & awareness can be raised for these people.

If you’ve read this far, perhaps you’re asking yourself “so where do I begin to help these people?”. A good beginning is in the Carefugees “Feed a Family” campaign, where the families of Saleema, Mariam, Jamila, Fatema, and Mona are just five out of the 550 registered under UNHCR & MSRI (Malaysian Social Research Institute), that will receive a gift basket full of food & amenities, lasting them the entire month of Ramadan.

Join the Carefugees by becoming part of the “Feed a Family” campaign.

The post Plight of the Refugee Women appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

 

 

 

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Malam tadi, sewaktu sesi bedtime story dengan En Aish dan En Adam… 

Mama: Ok, dah habis cerita Nabi Musa dengan ular…. tidur ye?
Aish: Nak cerita elephant pulak. (merujuk kepada cerita Tentera Bergajah Abrahah)

Adam pulak dengan penuh innocent dan seriusnya berkata, “Alaa, Adam nak cerita Hantu Kak Limah.”

Mama agak, ini mesti gara-gara menonton cerita hantu The Ring dengan Pak Long mereka malam sebelumnya. Sambil menahan daripada gelak, mama pun keluarkan ayat keramat,”Siapa nak cerita lagi tidur luar.”

Setel…. Tak sampai 10 minit, dua-dua pun terlelap.

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The two cheeky boys under the blanket – taken at Grand Continental Kuantan

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I was so blessed to be given the opportunity by the Company to join a short business trip to none other than Brunei Darussalam. While some other colleagues had the opportunity to travel to some exotic countries – the likes of Sudan, Iraq and Turkmenistan, I must say I am really grateful to be sent to Brunei instead, even though it is just a close neighbor of Malaysia.  For one, I am still breastfeeding my 7 months old Ammar and bringing back stored Expressed Breast Milk (EBM) will not be an easy task in long journey if I were to travel to those exotic countries.  Hence, a short 3-day trip to Brunei was just perfect for me.

I did not have the chance to explore Brunei much, but from my observation during my short stay there, I am really attracted with everything i discovered in Brunei from all specs of life.  It is not an exaggeration to say that I felt as if falling in love at the first sight with Brunei.  I could not find anything that I dislike whilst I was there.

The main reason for this was the presence of Islam in Brunei, well, as a matter of fact, even before touching down at Brunei’s soil.  I flew with Royal Brunei Airlines and the first thing they showed inside the cabin was a video of traveller’s prayer instead of the routine safety video or briefing.  Throughout the journey, whenever the captain made any announcement of our whereabouts, never once did he forget to mention “InshaAllah”, “Alhamdulillah” and the likes.  For example, this was something he would say, “Alhamdulilah, we are now 1,000 feet above sea level. The time now is 12:00 pm and we shall be landing in half an hour, inshaAllah.” Isn’t that just cool?

Next, I was awed with how peaceful Brunei is.  The capital did not brag any high-rises; instead, it was just like a simple town in Malaysia but with roads as good as its neighbor Singapore.  That leads to the next point; there is no traffic jam in Brunei.  It seems that traveling within the capital takes about 10-15 minutes e.g. from airport to hotel, from hotel to office, from office to school, etc.  They do have shopping malls in Brunei, but it definitely is more laid back than the likes of KLCC, Pavillion and Sunway Pyramid – which works just fine for me.

Bruneians are also very friendly people. I had no trouble communicating since Malay is a common language despite our different accent and a few local terms here and there.  The food in Brunei is as good as Malaysian food can be.  On my second day there, our Company’s counterpart brought us for a special seafood dinner by the sea.  Though not a big seafood fan myself, I did enjoy the food and would definitely come to the restaurant again!

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There are much more plus points about Brunei which I will just summarize in bullet points below:

  • More on Islamic environment:
    • All shops close between 12:00-2:00 pm on Fridays
    • During the fasting month, office closes as early as 2 to 3 pm
    • On special Islamic occassions, employees are allowed to get off of work early to allow them to get ready for jama’ah (congregatory) prayer at the mosques
    • There is no alcohol served onboard
  • No tax
  • Low crime rate since there is no one who is extremely poor (miskin tegar) in Brunei. Therefore, it is still very safe for kids (and adults alike) to be outside to play and do outdoor activities with no fear of being kidnapped, mugged, etc.
  • One liter of petrol is cheaper than a bottle of mineral water. The car in Brunei is also relatively cheap, so cheap that it is not uncommon for fresh graduates to own a Toyota Camry as their first car!

Now, don’t you just wish all this is the same in our beloved land?

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