History and Sufferings of Rohingya Muslims

By Zara Mansoor.

Myanmar (formerly Burma) got independence in 1948 from Britain and succeeded in formulating it’s boundaries in such a way that people belonging to different cults and backgrounds clustered into one state.

Myanmar often remained in news as a headline because of its brutalities towards the Rohingya Muslims. This bloodthirsty violence inflicted on Muslims is completely deplorable. Burma crossed all lines, forgot humanity in its rancour about Rohingya Muslims.

Most of the Countries in the world are unmindful of the reality that why these Muslims of Burma being treated like animals? Actually the government of Burma never accepted these Muslims as their citizens and always denied their citizenship, according to them their forefathers weren’t nestled in Burma before the era of Britain’s and on the other hand Rohingya Muslims are of the view that their forefathers are settled there since centuries.

The Rohingya Muslim majority area Arakan is based on the borders of Burma and Bangladesh. Rakhine state occupies the northern coastline of Myanmar up to the border with Bangladesh and corresponds to the historical kingdom of Arakan.  Muslims ruled Arakan a little more than 3 centuries, many Mosques, Madrassas were built in their era and their currency used to depict the first Kalma of Muslims.

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Until 19th century Rohingya Muslims lived a peaceful life but then in 1826 Britain’s East India Company occupied this tract and according to Divide and Rule policy they provoked hatred in Buddhists against Muslims.

When first time depravity touched that solid ground, people learnt utter disdain for the value of Muslim’s life and these Buddhists started killing innocent Muslims. Just in time of 40 days more than lac people lost their lives and stepped into the world of eternity. Other constrained Muslims started to find shelter in Bangladesh.

It has been heard that 14 armed operations have done against Muslims in Burma and the operation of March 1978 is considered the worst of all. In this operation dozens of Muslim’s townships were set at fire, they burned to death, many were put behind bars, mosques and madrassas were smashed and blasphemy was observed. After that operation more than 3 lacs people migrated to Bangladesh, thousands of Burmi Muslims migrated to Pakistan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. The places left by Muslims were occupied by Rakhine Buddhists and the State named Arakan was changed into Rakhine State.

Now Muslims there are not allowed to offer five time prayers and adhan is also banned by them. Muslims even can’t get married without permission of Government and they also have to get permission to travel from one city to another. Burmese Government wants Arakans to leave their land and migrate to Bangladesh and on the other hand Bangladesh doesn’t want to bear their steps on its land.

These innocent Muslims are just remained as a shuttlecock between Burmi and Bangladeshi Government.

Recent turbulences occurred in Burma forced Muslims to migrate from their places to Bangladesh, in start Bangladesh accepted them but as the number of migrants increased they defied to provide them shelters and asked them to go to their original places and in this way Bangladesh made itself responsible in the massacre of Muslims.

Now many Muslims are aberrating on the roads of Burma; they are helpless. Rohingya Muslims based on the population of 15 lacs are considered as the most downtrodden people on this earth.

Burma’s President asked the United Nations to get rid of these Muslims in Burma but no other Country is ready to accept them.

The first lady of Turkey took a tour to Burma and aided those feeble Muslims. Pakistan’s AL-Khidmat Service to Humanity sent their team to Bangladesh for the help of those weak muslims who have fought enough for themselves. ICNA Relief and Pakistan Islamic Medical Association also worked for Rohingya Muslims.

Information about casualties and the extent of damage are sketchy as media coverage is restricted to state-run news outlets with their own extreme bias.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese Politician and also a Noble Peace Awardee. She was an inspiration but is silent on the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar; she is complicit in crimes against humanity. She no longer deserves this Award.

With the continuing crisis, it remains to be seen whether Aung San Suu Kyi will decide to break her silence on this multifaceted issue. If she wants to retain her status as a freedom fighter and become a Mandela-like figure against apartheid, she needs to stand up for equality and acceptance of the Rohingya.

We should pray for our muslim brothers who are facing horrible conditions in Burma.

About Author:

Zara Mansoor is  student of media studies in Islamabad. She is an article writer and a blogger.  

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