Muslims massacre in Myanmar
Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik
Army-monks Jihad is underway against the Muslims in Myanmar. Nothing is worse than the State-led terrorism against their own people. Another human tragedy is unfolding. Monks have turned to be the cruelest to the Muslims. They are butchering Muslims all over in Myanmar in collaboration with the army. Now Buddhist terrorism is on the rise.
The country has become a hell for Muslims who are a sensitive and highly oppressed minority in the entire world. The deplorable conditions of the Muslims in Myanmar were ignored for long. The criminal silence is even maintained today. On the face of the international human rights organisations and the Islamic bloc, the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar is a stigma on them.
The percentage share is hardly 4 per cent in the total predominantly Buddhist State. Oppression often leads them to migrate to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Thailand, India, and also through a third-country, to Pakistan, which is separated by sea. Unfortunately, the asylum-seekers and desperate Muslims of Myanmar were apprehended by the Bangladeshi coastguards this time and were sent back to Myanmar where they were discriminately prosecuted.
Over 300,000 Rohingya (as they are called in Myanmar) Muslims live in Bangladesh and around 30,000 asylum seekers in Malaysia. Their desire to seek refuge in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia could not become a reality. Over 11,000 live on the Thai-Myanmar border. Around 782 Rohingya families live in the Jammu city in a deplorable situation. Amnesty International has reported that hundreds of Muslim Rohingyas are being killed, raped, beaten, and arbitrarily arrested while between 50,000 and 90,000 people have been displaced. It is estimated that over 20,000 were killed in the renewed clashes.
In an intolerable and highly deplorable statement Myanmar’s President Thein Sein has declared that 800,000 Rohingya Muslims should be expelled from his country and sent to UN refugee camps. The statement ensures discrimination and not reconciliation. The massacre is even taking place in the month of Holy Ramazan. It should be concern for the Muslim Ummah. Just a little voice was raised in Islamic capitals. Mainstream political parties did not understand the issue. Only Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan protested in Lahore on 21st July. So were the two Indonesian hard-line Islamic organisations, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), protested in front of Myanmar’s Embassy in Jakarta last week over the issue. The rest over was silence.
The notorious silence of Europe is understandable. Japan, being itself a predominantly Buddhist country, also could not raise it voice. Conversely, during World War II, Japan prosecuted around 5,000 Rohingya Muslims. So was the number of other Buddhist populated countries in South East Asia. This signifies the emergence of Buddhist fundamentalism and terrorism in South East Asia. Media has also been keeping complete blackout on the issue of the killings of Muslims in Myanmar. Just few websites highlighted the issue. Iranian media did some efforts. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has put up the plight of Muslims in Myanmar as a foreign policy agenda. The mainstream Western dominated media remained silent. It is also questionable that why Pakistani media also did not show reports on Myanmar’s Muslim killings when it flooded the screens with unwanted breaking news?
Analysts usually criticise US global policy but it is US Government that often questions the legitimacy of the military junta in Myanmar. There is a criminal silence on the part of other countries. US even maintains sanctions today against Myanmar and pushes the human rights, political, and economic reforms in that totalitarian State. The on-going spade of ethnic genocide against the Muslims would deprive the country from the much-desired foreign investment and ASEAN commercial projects.
Genocide would not lead any country to invest in Myanmar. It appears that ASEAN might not be able to uph0ld its responsibility because of conditions of ‘non-interference’ among member countries in its own charter. The situation is a crime and ASEAN members who ratified the UN charter for human rights, must stand up. Still one should ask: America comes to rescue the Rohingya Muslims? If the answer is ‘no’, then who would come to help them out? America is bit on the other side of the card. It has now commercial interests in Myanmar and hence it is not moving with full swing if diplomacy.
Pakistani Government, which keeps friendly ties with the Myanmar’s junta, should take up the matter on behalf of the Muslim world and force the junta there to equally treat those Muslims, especially living in Rakhine State, bordering Bangladesh, and the Arakan region. The UN human rights and the OIC also raise their voice to the Myanmar junta responsible toward acute minorities. The UN itself said that the Rohingyas are the most prosecuted minority in the world. They should immediately accommodate them as religious refugees. The riots are not simply among the civilians. Unfortunately, Myanmar’s military junta itself is involved in Muslims massacre despite a number of inhuman activities and discriminatory treatment to Muslims.
The environment Muslims faces in Myanmar is the dreadful ones. There is intolerable hardship against them. There is a systematic discrimination. They do not have rights to citizenship, education, hospitalization, jobs, and much more thrilling ones. Strangely, they need Government permission to marry and cannot have more than two children per family. There is arbitrary confiscation of property owned by Muslims. Rapes, riots, and arson often happen against them. A foreign Muslim husband should stay in a hotel than in the house of his wife. Muslims are supposed to perform forced-labour for the army just like ancient times slaves. The army is itself involved in the killings of Muslims. The army and the monks go together to target the Muslims. They are displaced in their own country.
Muslims prosecution should be stopped in Myanmar. Ironically, the refusal of granting visa to Ansar Burney, a human rights activist, to visit Myanmar to assess gravity Muslim human rights is another setback to bring normalcy. The response of the Pakistani Government is pathetic. Pakistan must summon the Ambassador of Myanmar, lodge protest to stop the Muslim genocide in Myanmar. Madame Aung San Suu Kyi has received the Nobel Peace prize and the Benazir Award for Democracy in January personally by President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to Myanmar. She should also raise her voice to end Muslim bloodshed in her country; otherwise the value of these awards would be finished besides denting her lifelong struggle for democracy. In the past, she willfully bypassed the plight of the Rohingya Muslims. The time is demanding that she should raise her voice for the depressed Muslim minority.