Friday, January 6, 2017

'Du'a' for our Rohingya brothers

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

ONCE again our Rohingya Muslim brothers in Myanmar are brutally persecuted; this time not only by people of other faith in the country but by Myanmar army following attacks on three of its border police posts in October. 

Thousands of Rohingyas had fled their homeland in Rakhine state after their homes were torched but they ended up 'on a dead road' because they were refused entry at the border. 

Recently, Bangladesh border guards have pushed back another 114 Myanmar citizens who were trying to cross into Cox's Bazar and Bandarban district.
They were sent back across ground zero at Teknaf and Ghumdum of Nakkhangchharhi, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) officials have said.
Rohingya Muslim refugees have been trying to enter Bangladesh after Myanmar army started a crackdown following attacks on three of its border police posts in October.  
Nine personnel of the Myanmar Border Police died on Oct 9 after ‘separatists’ attacked three border security posts.
The army began operations in the northern districts of Rakhine state where the Rohingya, a religious minority in Buddhist Myanmar, have highest concentration.
The Rohingya are ethnic Muslims in western Myanmar described by the United Nations (UN) as the most persecuted minority in the world.
Since Myanmar's military junta unleashed pogroms against them in late 1970s, they have crossed into Bangladesh in waves for several decades.
About half a million Rohingya refugees live in squalid, makeshift camps that have melted into the Bangladesh landscape as citizens.
They are vulnerable to human traffickers and exploited as cheap labour.
Myanmar (Burma) Muslims are proud about their history in Burma. The first Muslims arrived in Burma's Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River delta, on the Tanintharyi coast in Rakhine in the 9th century, prior to the establishment of the first Burmese empire in 1055 AD by King Anawrahta of Bagan. 

The early Muslim settlements and propagation of Islam were documented by Arab, Persian, European, and Chinese travelers of the 9th century. Burma Muslims are the descendants of Muslim peoples who settled and intermarried with the local Burmese ethnic groups.

They arrived in Burma as traders or settlers, military personnel and prisoners of war, refugees, and as victims of slavery. However, many early Muslims also held positions of status as royal advisers, royal administrators, port authorities, mayors, and traditional medicine men.

From 1962 to 2011, the country was ruled by the military junta that suppressed almost all dissent and wielded absolute power in the face of international condemnation and sanctions. The generals who ran the country stood accused of gross human rights abuses, including the forcible relocation of civilians and the widespread use of forced labour, including children.

Now after the general election in this year, pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is at helm but this Nobel Peace Prize laureate seemed to walk her talk; the brutal persecution of the Rohingya Muslims was not her concerned.

During her 15 years under house arrest, Suu Kyi won admiration across the globe for her fiery speeches and scathing criticism of the military regime that ruled Myanmar but critics note she is carefully choosing her battles, in part because she has presidential ambitions. After elections she was denied of the president post because she had married a British citizen but still had a powerful position in the government.

In a predominantly Buddhist country of 50 million people, where there is much animosity for the 1.3 million Rohingya Muslims, Suu Kyi has opted to remain silent, even as the world watched in horror while thousands of helpless Rohingya fled their homeland.

Suu Kyi (she was a daughter of Myanmar's late independence hero, Aung San, shares the "anti-Rohingya" sentiment of much of the population) did not care about the Rohingya, our brothers and sisters in Islam. That was her way; what about us? 

Myanmar was among the last country in South East Asia to be included in the regional grouping of Asean, in 1998. It was a well known fact that Asean countries tried not to interfere in the internal affairs of another country including Myanmar.

But must we have no heart or keep a deaf ear when thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to escape the violence and worsening living conditions, many of them making their way by boat or overland Malaysia. 

The UN refugee agency says about 28,000 Rohingyas are registered as refugees in Malaysia, but groups representing them say the real number of Burma Muslim immigrants is much higher and has surged this year because of the violence. 

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had voiced concern that Asean’s Muslim-majority nations were not doing more to resolve the problem. If Muslims nations have been told to buck up in resolving the Rohingya's issue, as individual Muslims have we a thought for our brothers' plight?

The campaign to highlight the plight of Rohingyas is on going but the move is too slow. Muslims countries of Asean and UN should form an ad hoc body to pressure Myanmar authority in all levels on the Rohingya's issue, otherwise the Myanmar government would just turn on a deaf ear. 

Other that heading to Bangladesh's border, thousands of Rohingyas have sailed from the beaches of Rakhine State to Thailand, with the ultimate goal of reaching Malaysia, according to the Arakan Project, a group that monitors Rohingya refugees.

As Muslims all over are celebrating 'Maulud Nabi' (the birthday of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.), Muslim minorities such as the Rohingyas, the Kashmiris, the Uighurs were prosecuted and were 'boot' out of their homelands. The question is are Muslims concerned about the unfortunate fate of their brothers in Islam?

The deportation of the Rohingya people should put shame to regional organization such as Asean and globally the OIC and of course the UN which was seen 'all quiet' regarding the welfare of the Muslims.

Based on previous international development, it was a well known fact the UN only took urgent action to resolved what they claimed to be violence in a Muslim country but keep 'cool' on prosecution on the Muslim minorities.

The crisis in Dafur, Sudan; East Timor (previously a part of Indonesia), Iraq; Afghanistan and Iran were examples 'on how efficient' the UN was but why the poor response towards the genocide of the Muslim minorities such as in Rakhine (Myanmar), Kashmir (India), Xinjiang (China), Chechnya (Russia), Pattani (Thailand) and Mindanao (Philippines)?

Regarding the issue of the Rohingya, why the world is silent when the Myanmar government threatened the Muslim including to be placed in camps and face deportation.

The question is, have we done our part in helping our brothers, the Rohingyas?  If superpowers and rich countries even the Muslims nations had pay little or no interest on the Rohingya issue, as individual Muslims have we a thought for our brothers' plight? We are helpless but at  least we could have 'du'a' (pray) to Allah SWT (The Greatest) for their safety in their homeland and abroad. 

In Malaysia various groups had condemned the regime of Myanmar with 'Persatuan Ulama Malaysia' (Malaysian Ulama Association of Malaysia, PUM) voiced their concern but world leaders and bodies kept on silence on the issue.

"We asked the Myanmar government to stop this genocide," said PUM President, Datuk Syeikh Abdul Halim Abdul Kadir.

He said PUM would asked the Malaysian government and other Muslim country through OIC to pressure the Myanmar government with Suu Kyi at the top to stop the atrocity. PAS leaders too condemned the brutality of the Myanmar government.

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