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Milestone World Refugee Day marker with first ever commemorative 'Khutbah' sermon in mosques

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Milestone World Refugee Day marker with first ever commemorative 'Khutbah' sermon in mosques

Mosques in the Federal Territories of Malaysia will carry a World Refugee Day sermon for Friday prayers
21 June 2024

Kuala Lumpur, 21 June 2024 – For the first time, mosques across the Federal Territories of Malaysia will carry a specially-written World Refugee Day khutbah sermon for the Muslim community prayer service held once a week on Fridays. This will be delivered today during the Friday prayer service.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency engaged Malaysian religious authorities to develop a khutbah sermon for the Friday prayer service, with messages of compassion, solidarity, and support for refugees. This is an unprecedented development in Malaysia, marking significant strides in more closely engaging Malaysian communities of the Muslim faith.

The khutbah sermon will be delivered where the Friday prayer service is performed in all mosques under the administration of the Islamic Religious Department of the Federal Territory (JAWI) within the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan in Malaysia.

The Friday prayer service khutbah sermon is delivered by the prayer leader, or Imam, to the congregation ahead of the commencement of the weekly prayers. In Malaysia, these sermons are standardised and coordinated by authorised state religious bodies.

The special World Refugee Day khutbah sermon, titled "Humanitarian Crisis: A Test for Muslims", referenced global statistics on the refugee crisis worldwide and what it meant to be forced to flee.

According to the text, “Refugees are not people who emigrate to seek a better life but rather leave their homeland to save their lives from oppression and tyranny involving race, religion, nationality, or social group membership. They deserve proper treatment and assistance to continue their survival.”

The sermon called for compassion, and for Muslims to welcome refugees with humanitarian support.

It stated, “Refugees are those who migrate to save their lives and religion from oppression and tyranny, not to seek a better life. Second: We are called to help alleviate the burden of refugees with any form of assistance such as shelter, food supplies, financial contributions, clothing, medical needs, and so forth. Third: Allah SWT is actually testing our faith in Him with the arrival of refugees and wants to elevate our status to become true believers (by protecting and helping refugees).”

World Refugee Day is commemorated each year on 20 June to honour the millions of people around the globe who are forced to flee violence and persecution. The world community celebrate refugees’ remarkable fortitude and capacity for renewal, despite the daunting challenges they face.

Forced displacement surged to historic new levels across the globe last year and this, according to the 2024 flagship Global Trends Report from UNHCR. The rise in overall forced displacement – to 120 million by May 2024 – was the 12th consecutive annual increase and reflects both new and mutating conflicts and a failure to resolve long-standing crises.

In his World Refugee Day message, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi called on everyone to do more to show solidarity with refugees and work towards a world where they are welcomed, or can return home in peace.

“At a time of division and upheaval, refugees – and those hosting them – need us all to pull together. We live in a world where conflicts are left to fester. The political will to resolve them seems utterly absent. And even as these crises multiply, the right to seek asylum is under threat,” said Grandi.

Grandi said that a longer-term approach is key – sustainable action in education, energy, food security, employment, housing and more, working with states, development partners and others.

He added, “Let’s not leave refugees in limbo; instead, let’s give them the chance to use their skills and talents and contribute to the communities that have welcomed them.

“On World Refugee Day and every day, with courage, commitment and compassion, solutions are within our grasp.”

Visit the JAWI site for the full text of the World Refugee Day khutbah sermon for the Friday prayer service.