While thousands of Muslims are being slaughtered in Burma, Myanmar, not a single news channel has shown its coverage. Why are these double standards in the world media? Do they think killing innocent Muslims is not an act of terrorism but salvage?
If they’ve any misconception about Islam and Muslims, let them understand Qur’an if they have little intellect left in this violence. Download Qur’an in Burmese language.
Monks Fuelling Terrorism:
Monks who played a vital role in Burma’s recent struggle for democracy have been accused of fuelling ethnic tensions in the country by calling on people to shun a Muslim community that has suffered decades of abuse.
In a move that has shocked many observers, some monks’ organisations have issued pamphlets telling people not to associate with the Rohingya community, and have blocked humanitarian assistance from reaching them. One leaflet described the Rohingya as “cruel by nature” and claimed it had “plans to exterminate” other ethnic groups.
The outburst against the Rohingya, often described as one of the world’s most oppressed groups, comes after weeks of ethnic violence in the Rakhine state in the west of Burma that has left more than 80 dead and up to 100,000 people living in a situation described as “desperate” by humanitarian organisations. As state-sanctioned abuses against the Muslim community continue, Burma’s president Thein Sein – credited by the international community for ushering in a series of democratic reforms in the country and releasing political prisoners such as Aung San Suu Kyi – has urged neighbouring Bangladesh to take in the Rohingya.
“In recent days, monks have emerged in a leading role to enforce denial of humanitarian assistance to Muslims, in support of policy statements by politicians,” said Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan project, a regional NGO. “A member of a humanitarian agency in Sittwe told me that some monks were posted near Muslim displacement camps, checking on and turning away people they suspected would visit for assistance.”
The Young Monks’ Association of Sittwe and Mrauk Oo Monks’ Association have both released statements in recent days urging locals not to associate with the group. Displaced Rohingya have been housed in over-crowded camps away from the Rakhine population – where a health and malnutrition crisis is said to be escalating – as political leaders move to segregate and expel the 800,000-strong minority from Burma. Earlier this month, Thein Sein attempted to hand over the group to the UN refugee agency.
Aid workers report ongoing threats and interference by local nationalist and religious groups. Some monasteries in Maungdaw and Sittwe sheltering displaced Rakhine people have openly refused to accept international aid, alleging that it is “biased” in favour of the Rohingya. Monks have traditionally played a critical role in helping vulnerable citizens, stepping in to care for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 after the military junta rejected international assistance.
Many have been shocked by the response of the monks and members of the democracy movement to the recent violence, which erupted after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman, allegedly by three Muslims, unleashed long-standing ethnic tensions.
Monks’ leader Ashin Htawara recently encouraged the government to send the group “back to their native land” at an event in London hosted by the anti-Rohingya Burma Democratic Concern. Ko Ko Gyi, a democracy activist with the 88 Generation Students group and a former political prisoner, said: “The Rohingya are not a Burmese ethnic group. The root cause of the violence… comes from across the border.” Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said: “We were shocked to have [Ashin Htawara] propose to us that there should be what amounts to concentration camps for the Rohingya.”
Ms Suu Kyi has also been criticised for failing to speak out. Amal de Chickera of the London-based Equal Rights Trust, said: “You have these moral figures, whose voices do matter. It’s extremely disappointing and in the end it can be very damaging.”
The Rohingya have lived in Burma for centuries, but in 1982, the then military ruler Ne Win stripped them of their citizenship. Thousands fled to Bangladesh where they live in pitiful camps. Foreign media are still denied access to the conflict region, where a state of emergency was declared last month, and ten aid workers were arrested without explanation.
COURTESY: THE INDEPENDENT
The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim community that lives in the Arakan region of Mayanmar. Numbered around 8 lacs according to the United Nations and close to 1 Million by other sources, the Rohingya Muslims according to the United Nations are “one of the most persecuted minorities” of the world. Various historians have varied opinions on the origins of the Rohingya Muslims, some tracing them to Afghanistan and others tracing their descent to shipwrecked Arab traders who landed on the Ramree Island of the Arakan kingdom in the 8th Century. Those historians who regard the Rohingyas as aliens in Mayanmar are of the biased opinion that the Rohingyas were descendants of Bengalese immigrants during the colonial era. The Burmese State considers Rohingya Muslims as “non-people” and as far as the State is concerned, the Rohingyas have become exterminable pests after a law passed in 1982 declared the entire community as illegal, divesting it of all human, legal and political rights despite the fact that the Rohingyas have lived in Myanmar for centuries.
Right since the end of British Colonialism in the subcontinent, the Rohingya Muslims have been persecuted as a part of the Burmese State Policy. The ongoing Rakhine riots where violent and armed Rakhine groups are involved in one of the most gruesome communal massacres of recent times is just another violent chapter in the consistent policy of treating Rohingya Muslims as sub-humans and non-citizens. Rohingya Muslims, would be fair to say are living the life that Kashmiris have lived in the darkest phases of our history. Rohingya’s are bereft of the right to education and the dream of employment and are regularly enlisted in forced labor, reminiscent of the Kashmir’s “begaar” during the era of dictatorship here. The Rakhine people, predominantly Buddhist have torn to shreds the myth that people belonging to a certain religion are universally good or universally bad. The violence let loose on the Rohingyas by Rakhine vandals and rioters is gut wrenching. Arko Dutta, a Reuters photographer captured the famous image of Quttubudin Ansari – a Muslim tailor begging for his life during the 2002 communal pogrom in Gujarat. The image captured the world’s selective, subconscious morality and made it to cover-pages of global magazines and newspapers. The images appearing on websites and newspapers from Myanmar are of a similar nature, yet again giving wind to the notion that Muslim blood is a shade lighter than human blood in its dispensability and value. As Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar towards neighboring Bangladesh, the Bangladesh government has instructed its Army and Security Forces to push them back into the certain jaws of death, come what may. Incidentally fleeing Rohingya Muslims are being mowed down by the Burmese State and the Rakhine gangs. Those who expected a Muslim nation to take into its fold Muslims who were fleeing the embrace of extermination should not be shocked. We all witnessed how Egypt, during the tragic cease of Palestine recently locked down its borders, leaving fleeing Palestinians with no hope of survival. It is estimated that around 20,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed in the last few weeks with a tacit support from Myanmar’s Military Controlled Government – the infamous, ruthless ‘Junta’.
A few days back, boats ferrying escaping Muslims towards Bangladesh were fired upon by helicopters belonging to the Junta Government killing every single man, woman and children on board the vessels. The Junta’s participation in the pogrom is no shocker. Since the 1962 military coup in Burma, the Junta has set new records for brutality and persecution. Hence this new bloodied feather in the Junta cap is no surprise. However what’s utterly discouraging, disillusioning and even heartbreaking is the indifference of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese heroine of democracy’s triumph over despotism – the poster girl of the new-world’s struggle for justice. The Junta put Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) under a cumulative house arrest for almost 21 years for her stance and fight for upholding democracy in Myanmar. On 1st April, 2012 – San Suu Kyi’s NLD won 43 of the 45 “vacant” seats in the Burmese Parliament – still reneging it to the status of an ‘opposition’ in the despotic, military controlled political setup of the country.
San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and the Wallenberg Medal in 2011 for her prolonged struggle for justice. San Suu Kyi will soon be on her way to the United States where she will be honored with the highest civilian honor in the US – the US Congress Gold Medal for her quest for peace and democracy. But, sadly, when it comes to the hapless, ‘alien’ Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar – the homeless ‘dark outsiders’ – San Suu Kyi has chosen to absolve herself of this moral battle. For many of her ardent supporters like me, who were buoyed and heartened by her release and equally inspired by her long struggle – this apathy from one of the most ardent champions of democracy and human rights for this era – is heart rending. I can only imagine the pain and disappointment caused to the Rohingya Muslims. When it comes to them, even the saviors of the world turn away. So let’s then also not be surprised at the Dalai Lama’s guarded stance on human rights violations in Kashmir and his willingness – despite being a spiritual leader and crusader for peace and justice – to be a State guest in the most ruthlessly militarized zone in the world. The world is round for a reason.