Laiq Ahmed Atif, president Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta was also among the panel who addressed the Press Conference called by SOS Malta, to launch a project to mainstream the integration and diversity of third-country nationals through the media. Laiq Ahmed Atif said that the true integration is not only possible but highly essential for the progress and betterment of Malta, he also highlighted some points about the rights and obligations for the effective integration.
By: Laiq Ahmed Atif, President Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta
As we all know, that the world has emerged as a glabal viallage, an undeniable realty. Today people frequently travell to different places, and are settling in different countries. Migration is also a phenomenon, not only human beings, but also the other creatures such as birds, migrate from one place to other, due to certain circumstances.
Some migrate for having good future, some migrate to settle or improve their businesses, some migrate to escape hardships of their countries, and some migrate to save their lives from religious persecutions, just to name a few. And in today’s world it looks very difficult to deny or eliminate every sort of migration; however, to make a positive use, it is possible and highly essential. In September 2006, the 132 Member States that participated in General Assembly reaffirmed that:
- Migration could make a positive contribution in development, in countries of origin and countries of destination
- They emphasised on the respect and fundamental rights of the migrants
- They recognized the importance of strengthening international cooperation
I believe that integration is not only possible but it is highly essential for the betterment and progress of a society.
Integration is a two way process: Two Categories – Rights and Obligations
- Responsibilities of a country or society in which migration takes place:
- Establishment of Human dignity,
- Fundamental human rights and acceptance of the migrants.
- Host nation should honour the culture and religion of its immigrants.
- RIGHTS: Their rights are that their traditions, cultural, religion and laws of the land must be respected and honoured
- Duties and responsibilities of the immigrants:
- They must reciprocate respect and love; and become grateful to their hosts
- They must abide by the law,
- They should respect the customs, traditions and culture of the host country,
- They make their contribution in the progress and betterment of the country
- They must become willing to integrate, and to adopt all of the good things that this country has to offer.
Migration to Medina as an Example:
Here I quote a wonderful example of migration, which to me is really exemplary and that is the migration of Muslims from Mecca to Medina, because of hardships and persecution in their homeland. When they migrated to Medina their hosts welcomed them with open arms and offered them full support and help, and showed them great respect and dignity. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, established “Brotherhood” between hosts and migrants which is known as “Brotherhood of Medina”.
The immigrants did not take whatever was offered to them as their right, but they fully shouldered their responsibilities. They worked id f’id with the local communities, they respected their hosts, other religions and communities and the law of the land; and rather than becoming burden they in a very short period of time they started contributing in the society and economy of the state.
I think if both the host and migrants work with this spirit they can be useful and can contribute a lot to Malta. Here to make it clear that I am not promoting it, but just highlighting the points and aspects that can be useful for the progress of the country.
Media’s Role in integration:
As far as the role of media is concern, I think media can play a great role in integration:
1. By covering the immigrants in positive light and showing their useful contributions to the society; because every human being has abilities and has something to offer.
2. By showing the lives of well integrated immigrants with their local friends.
3. By organising Interfaith dialogues; cultural events; and media can give coverage to their activities, and can encourage them to be part of the society
4.Programs to teach immigrants about Malta’s history, culture, heritage and language
5. Covering the countries from which immigrants are coming in some positive light from the perspectives of tourism
6. Media can highlight positive aspects of their culture, traditions, customs and values; because every people have some good cultures, e.g. in Pakistan, in the Sindh province to which I belong to, has a very good culture that in a bus male always offer and vacate their seats to women, and there rarely one finds a woman standing in a bus. These sort of positive aspect will also give chance to find and learn something positive from each other.
7. Highlighting the common humanity of all of us.
Our Community, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, always integrates very well in every country, and in Malta we are also very well integrated.
Here I would like to conclude with a quote of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Current Supreme Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Community; he says:
“There should be no compulsion in religion. Jews should be able to practice their religion freely; Christians should be able to practice their religion freely and Muslims likewise. However where the interests of the country are at stake then all citizens should work together for the betterment of the nation…”
“To be integrated it is necessary to believe the country you live in is your own and you must desire for it to succeed. Your relationship should be with the country not just with individuals within it. This is true integration.”