Mohammed Sh. Hassan – Author and Publisher

Since the creation of the world, International Migration and Emigration have always been in the equation. There was always a reason forcing such emigration and migration. Among the common practices that may force human influxes and displacements are mainly agonies, physical battle, political turmoil, and environmental disasters. Referring to the Islamic point of view on migration, making especial reference to the early Muslim migration, let me mention what Islam says about migration and refugee rights. Allah says: “And if anyone of the polytheists asks you for protection, give him protection so that he may hear the Word of God; then escort him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know ’

The earliest Muslim migration took place when a large group of the Prophet’s Companions sneaked to the Horn of Africa to escape from a well-founded threat against their lives by their own clansmen. They immigrated into the former Abyssinian State, (currently divided into Ethiopia, Somalia,

Djibouti, and Eretria ). The companions of the Prophet Mohammed (Peace upon him) were forced to leave their hometown, Mecca by fleeing to King Najashi (The ruler of the Great Abyssinia). That was the first year of Hijri calendar, which was recognized as “Year Zero” by Muslims. The second Muslim migration was in the year 622 CE., in which Prophet Mohammed and a large number of his companions migrated from Mecca to Medina, which is 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of Mecca . They continued that migration to Medina until nearly all of them left Mecca

Since then, international migration and emigration were in the making by taking place in one way or another in various forms. There are many kinds of migration, from refugees to skilled migrants. Socio- economic factors have been taking place for the past 70 years. The migration of highly skilled people from developing to developed countries is known as “Brain Drain”. Many highly educated, skilled, and talented individuals have been risking their lives to enter any of the developed countries.

In the diaspora, this has been one of the major issues to discuss in various disciplines of social sciences. In the last 50 years and beyond, different researchers and scholars who have researched the matter have estimated the number of brain drain from the Arab world alone approximately 500,000 (half a million) . That huge number of intellectuals has migrated from the Muslim world to the developed countries in the West. Muslim brain drains are estimated to be a third of the entire professional diaspora in the Western world.

Muslim doctors form approximately half of this exodus while general scientists are

estimated over 15 percent of the brain drains to foreigners. Many of these professionals have been highly successful and occupied 1 – 2 percent of high-rank positions at the most prestigious institutions in Europe and the United States. On top of that, they consistently and significantly contribute to the development of science and technology in the West .

It is indeed a very sad matter to see and watch the finest Arab, and Muslim at large, brains leaving from their motherlands and fleeing to the Western world. It has become a destination where talented Muslims can work with other professionals of the same qualification and skills while getting highly paid, more respect, social equality and equity, and more importantly feel secured and satisfied in their situation of exile. They become among the most active members of their newly inhabited states and in their newly adopted societies. There, they become citizens with full rights and obligations in the host country. They obtain all those rights within 5-7 years from the date of entry or upon being admitted or as far as the day, in which they were recognized as Permit Residents.

From day one, these immigrants would be granted for having their basic human rights, which they missed in their homelands. They will be granted food, shelter, job opportunity, education, health care, respect, security, and safety. Moreover, they are allowed, and encouraged, to practice their freedom of speech, choice-making, movement, marriage, and many others among their parcel rights. On the other hand, they are expected to respect and safeguard the law of the host country as a part of their responsibilities.

Upon obtaining their citizenship card these former refugees, especially those of the educated and talented members of the refugee communities are encouraged to obtain a political position in their new country as they have the full right to vote or be elected. Thus, even their occupation, knowledge, skills, experiences, activeness, productiveness, and talents are benefited by the host country, while they are also allowed to benefit from their host country in a form of win-win situation. That is exactly what Islam ordains Muslims to do by justly and diligently practicing it.

According to the jurisdiction of the Western world, refugees and asylum seekers must be admitted and naturalized. They will be given full chances to integrate, interact, intermingle, and assimilate with the national citizens and aboriginal societies, while any child who was born in the country is automatically a full citizen. That is exactly how Islam commands us in the above-cited verse.

Now, let us compare that Western legislation with that of the Arabian countries, particularly in those countries described as “Gulf of GCC, where over 98% of the children who are born in these countries still remain foreigners and always need to renew their stay-visa known as “Iqama” to remain in the country on which they were born . According to these Arabian countries’ national jurisdiction, which was supposed to be based on Qur’anic guidance, these children who were born in the country but from unwelcomed or discriminated nations or races have no right whatsoever.

In the law of the country of birth, they always stay in limbo or illegal thinking about where

to go and how to get out of their country of birth. They cannot make much of progress because they are thinking about when they will be arrested and deported; is it today or tomorrow? Therefore, the original country of their parents should always be on the horizon even though they may not know anything about it; language, culture, custom, climate, people, and even its geographical location. Muslim scientists, doctors, and researchers in the United States, Canada, and Europe have much higher incomes than the national average income. When you visit big cities like Sydney, London, Paris, Los Angeles, or Toronto you would see thousands of Muslim doctors, university professors, computer specialists, and many other high-profile Muslim professionals. We see many of them coming from different parts of the Muslim world. Many of them left their countries of origin to avoid hardships, political unrest, and unjust treatment because of either their ethnic background or because they were born and raised in a particular part of the given country. In many Muslim countries, one’s last name and the place of birth can determine one’s identity. In contrast to that, in the Western world, what determines one’s identity is one’s skills and expertise. That is what matters and makes meaning to any commonsense.

Talented young Muslims are partaking in many sciences and science-related fields, including space programs as well as the highest levels of medical and chemical researches . Most of the advanced laboratories in the West are either run or spearheaded by Muslim Scientists. Sadly their countries of origin are not even intending to benefit from their talented individuals who can bring them into development. That is why there is a severe shortage of educated and experienced professionals in the Muslim world. Muslim talented professionals wake up every morning planning to get any means possible to emigrate to any of the Western states. They are seeking a better economic opportunity, which is often offered by the West.

Millions of young Muslim professionals are currently living in the west (Europe and in North America) who are leaders and contributors in the fields of science and technology. It is an appreciated occurrence to see and accept our talented people crossing both land and sea borders. We often see them preferring to fall and sink into the oceans with the hope of reaching where they can get not only job opportunities but also development, freedom, civilization, mental progress, persuasion of knowledge, and learning more from others. All in all, many Muslim brains drain into foreign states for one reason or another. They flee from their homelands due to injustice, insecurity, mistrust, lack of progress, a lack of job opportunities, which are among

the improper results of the undemocratic systems in their countries of origin. It is sad to witness intellectual and well-educated Muslims leaving their countries for good, not only for seeking a better wage but also due to political instability and dictatorship systems of governance.

It has been claimed that Western immigration laws are designed to steal brains to keep their rate of economic growth in the highest gear. In this, they have succeeded,

with attractive working conditions on offer — ample resources, an intellectually stimulating environment, recognition, and reward. But “push factors” in countries of origin have also played a part, including a lack of research facilities, a lack of freedom of expression, a lack of job opportunities, a lack of academic choice, and potential persecution.

Another example could be the Indian Muslim brain drain. Statistically, Muslims in India are considered a minority but when it comes to refugee influxes and asylum seekers the number looks different. This indicates that the main driver of Indian Muslim exodus is based on push- factors, which include low productivity, unemployment, and underdevelopment, poor economic conditions, lack of opportunities for advancement, exhaustion of natural resources, and natural calamities ”. Yet, it is not free from pull-factors, which are those that draw a population to another area or place ” The reason is that they often flee from their country due to religious discrimination and corruption in the public sector. The objective of their migration is more or less to get into a place where there is any form of political stability, economic development, better career opportunity, high wages, and a balanced workload. The same is almost true as far as the African Brain Drain is concerned. In October 2016, a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasted that “migrants [from sub- Saharan Africa] in OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries could increase from about 7 million in 2013 to about 34 million by 2050,” adding that “the migration of young and educated

workers takes a large toll on a region whose human capital is already scarce. ”
This decade’s-long disastrous migration trend of the continent cannot suddenly be stopped. African universities have to include time spent studying abroad by using student exchange programs as an integral part of their courses. At the same time, they need to encourage short-term migration courses that allow these well-educated citizens to return to their homelands.

Strategies to reverse the trend

It is not that simple to reverse this trend. Much collective effort and strategies are needed to reverse it. Within their academic curriculum in all their educational sectors and institutions, Muslim countries must include academic strategies leading to winning the brain drain brought back to their homeland. They need to scrutinize how to benefit from the one-way route that took their young talents to the West. Then, they will be enabled to develop new strategies for winning and benefiting from their offsets. Remember, the connection between the country of origin and the naturalized one is limited to the immigrant parents. Once those parents pass away, there will be a very slim chance to win the first generation that was born in the West back to their homeland. They are well integrated and assimilated to where they were born and they do not know much about the country of their parents. The contact will be lost once the parent is gone. Here are some examples that simplify the return of some of the brain drains.

– Academic institutions of the country of origin should try to focus on starting

summer courses and exchange programs for the students in the Diaspora.
They should develop and offer selective cultural and language courses targeting the young brain drain. These courses must be subsidized or made free of tuition fees, and they must be scheduled during the summer as well as different vocational tours in the country. Such programs will be very helpful and appreciated by the young generation. Small nominal fees could be applied to cover the service costs. Through this process, students will learn a lot from their country of origin, including their mother tongue.

– The country of origin should give a piece of land – one blot to each household to build a house of their own as well as a piece of land to plant some of their family’s daily foods. This will be a way to create some level of household income-generating projects to attract some of the emigrated community members in the Diaspora.

– There must be incentives to win back the huge investments of the Muslim capital in the West. Such capital is estimated to be over hundreds of billions of dollars. A good chunk of it should be targeted to be invested in the country of origin. Therefore, friendly investment legal agreements must be developed to attract such investments.

– The creation of a professional directory and a network is needed where most of the communities in the diaspora are concentrated on. Down the road of the journey, a good connection with the communities and the exchange of cultural programs at an early stage is useful and helpful.

– This is a long-term strategy to win brain gain, but it needs long-term solutions from the countries of origin.

– Creation of Foundations that supports collaboration between the Diaspora and their counterparts of the country of origin or through multilateral organizations such African Union, OIC, Arab League, etc.

– Collaboration and joint projects between the community in the Diaspora and the home of origin to boost R & D that could produce a wealth of intellectual property shared by both sides, which eventually leads to the transfer of know-how and technology. – One alternative solution would be to use the brainpower in the diaspora to teach courses in the universities of the country of origin. Such a circulation of skills would be associated with new prospects, which are assets and essentials for the country of origin at the time of inescapable globalization.

In conclusion, I, the author of this article, would relatively narrate my story as a case study. I left Somalia and ended up in Sweden in 1981, at the age of 23. I planned to study and stay between 6-8 years and then go back to the county of origin. The political instability of my country of origin turned from bad to worse until a civil war broke out, the governance system collapsed, and the country became a failed state.

During this journey, I was in limbo, always thinking about returning home. After 40 years I have realized that I have no chance to go back to the country of origin. Now, my children grew up and became professionals in the West. They have not seen Somalia in its heyday. Thus, they cannot easily comprehend the good and beautiful Somalia, in which I was born and grew up. Since 1991, all that they heard and watched from TV screens are the ongoing harsh civil war, famine, starvation, refugee influxes, and

political instabilities. They say to me: “Dad, your country had committed suicide. Your parents have long time passed away while you were in the West and you could not even attend their funeral. Simply, you were far away from them. Now you are old enough and all your children and grandchildren are currently in Toronto. Now, it is time for you to retire in peace and all you need is a piece of mind and your proximity to a better healthcare system’. Indeed the dream of me going back home is fading away day by day. Indeed I fell into a well-designed trap in the West, easy to come in but very difficult to get out of it.

Mohammed Sh. Hassan
(Author & Publisher, Toronto, 2021)

References for the Articles

  1. Qur’an: At-Tawbah – The Repentance: 6.
  2. Qasim H. Farah (2019). Our Holy Rank
  3. Dilip Hero (2002). War without End. The Rise of Islamist Terrorism and Global Response. Routledge, New York, USA,
  4. Oxford reference.(2011). https://www. authority.20110803100355608.
  5. Zulqernain Haider Subhani and Azlin Nor
  6. Article by: Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, of the Arab Brain Drain.
  7. Munir Nayfeh: is a professor of physics at the University of Illinois, USA Article on Immigration to the west: Nurazzaura Mohammed.
  8. Article on African Emigration: The Unesco Courier, By Luc Ngwé
  9. Kyaing Kyaing Thet. (nd ). Pull and Push Factors of Migration: A Case Study in the Urban Area of Monywa Township, Myanmar
  10. Oxford (nd).
  11. International Monetary Fund. (2016)

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