Gulf | Qatar

Qatar forum stresses foreigner workers’ rights

Scholars present genuine Islamic teachings as model for treating expatriates

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 14:37 April 28, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: A seminar in Qatar has called for the implementation of Islamic ethics with foreign workers, especially in relation to honesty, truthfulness and fulfilling promises, as a way to enhance their living conditions.

The call was issued as the Centre for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE), a member of the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies at the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, brought together this week scholars to discuss migrant worker issues in Qatar and the region at the seminar on “Migrant Workers: Ethical Perspectives on Challenging Questions.”

Ahmad Raissouni, President of the League of Sunni Scholars, focused in his remarks on the principle of human dignity and its critical importance in Islam. Criticising the mistreatment of expatriate workers and the violation of their rights, he referred to Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) teachings requiring “gentle and kind treatment of workers and employees”.

In his statement, Boyko Atanasov, Programme Director at the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, highlighted the living conditions expatriate workers who go through legal and societal difficulties, from signing job contracts in their home countries to settling and submitting to their employers’ rules.

Musab Al Khair, Professor at the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University, stressed the need to use genuine Islamic ethics in dealing with workers.

Qatar and the fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are home to millions of foreigners, mainly unskilled labourers and domestic helpers from Asia.

The seminar, attended by faculty members and students of Hamad Bin Khalifa University and legal specialists, reviewed the collaboration of civil society with governmental institutions to ensure the implementation of laws and the issuance of new ones that protect workers from the abuse of their employers.

The event was part of a series of public seminars and lectures organised by CILE, combining both scholars of the Islamic Law/text and ’scholars of the context’, in forums that tackled the critical issues in various fields and professions, including methodology, bioethics, environment, politics, food, psychology, economics, education, media, arts and gender issues.

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