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Rohingya Muslims and liberals

Published Jul 24, 2012 02:59am


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MORE than 20,000 Muslims have been decimated and displaced by the extremist Buddhists in Myanmar. It is also one of the most appalling arsenals in recent times.

The world’s liberal conscience and human rights groups went vitriolic when the Taliban gutted down Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. No one can either defend what the Taliban did. But I want to ask a simple question from Pakistan’s so-called liberal and pro-western sections of society: where is there liberal conscience now?

The NGOs and private sector human rights organisations, which anchor themselves on European liberalism and financial grants, went berserk on the Kohistan girls killings which turned out to be a canard. When Muslims reacted violently, and wrongly, against the caricatures published in liberal Scandinavia, and when Facebook was temporarily blocked, the liberals of Pakistan went out of their dens to tear apart the orthodox and fundamentalist elements.

I wonder why the liberals’ conscience remains sleeping when Muslims are subject to torture and genocide. Even Pakistan’s public and social media’s response is very lackadaisical.

RIZWAN AKHTAR United Kingdom


IT was painful to read the report, ‘Myanmar conflict spurs hatred for Asia’s outcasts’, by Todd Pitma (June 15). This is in the backdrop of recent ethnic clashes between the Rohingya Muslims and Burmese Buddhists after a mob lynched 10 Muslims in apparent retaliation for the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman, allegedly by Muslims.

Asia’s more than one million ethnic Rohingya Muslims are considered by rights groups to be among the most persecuted people on the earth. “In Burma they’re told they’re illegals who should go back to Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, they’re told they’re Burmese who should go back home.

They have been persecuted for decades, and it’s only getting worse,” according to Chris Lewa, a rights worker. Some say they are descended from 7th century Arab settlers and that their state was conquered by the Burmese in 1784.

Recently, Bangladeshi coast guards turned back many boatloads of terrified Rohingya refugees trying to flee the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and even shot some of them.

Rohingya’s must get government permission to travel outside their own villages and even to marry. They are also barred from having more than two children.

In 1978, Myanmar’s army drove over 200,000 Rohingya’s into Bangladesh. Some 10,000 died in squalid conditions and the rest returned to Myanmar. The campaign was repeated in 1991-92, and again a majority returned.

In 2009, five boatloads of haggard Rohingya migrants fleeing Myanmar were intercepted by Thai authorities. They were reportedly detained and beaten, then forced back to sea, emaciated and bloodied, in vessels with no engines and little food or water. Hundreds are believed to have drowned.

The same year, Myanmar’s consul general in Hong Kong — now a UN ambassador — described the Rohingyas as ‘ugly as ogres’ in an open letter to diplomats!

Obviously, there’s extreme hostility against these people. Besides other Asian countries, tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have made it to Pakistan. There’s Burma Colony in Karachi where a large number of them live peacefully. The UN and OIC must take notice of the longstanding persecution of these unfortunate folks. The attention of our Myanmar friends is drawn to a wise teaching of Gautama Buddha. “Hatreds never cease by hate, but by love alone; this is an eternal truth.” To their UN ambassador, the words of the Buddhist teacher Josei Toda may be instructive: “We don’t love others when we find them beautiful, we find others beautiful when we love them.”


UN and humanity

MORE than 20,000 Muslims have been killed in Myanmar by police, army and Buddhist extremists. Is this just and humanity?

Now I would like to ask the United Nations and human rights organisations, where are they? It is time the OIC took appropriate action to stop this violence and helped Muslims in Myanmar.


Human rights

Rohingya people in Myanmar have been burnt in their villages and had to take refuge in the jungle. They have been turned away from where they might find sanctuary, while almost 90,000 have been forced out of their homes.The United Nations and humanitarian organisations must take notice of this bloodshed and the Security Council must probe into Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.



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Comments (21) Closed

Taimoor Changezi Jul 24, 2012 02:10pm
i second you bro for your well articulated and thought provoking comment. i don't understand one thing, why do Pakistanis out of the entire muslim world, worry so much about the muslims world wide while their own muslim countrymen are dragged out of the buses in broad day light, identified and brutally executed in front of their mothers, sisters and daughters? why are we Pakistans so sentimental when it comes to muslims being killed in the neighbourhood, while completely disregarding and neglecting the shia as well as hazara genocide taking place in our own home. why dont they raise their voice against this barbaric atrocity which is taking place right under your nose. fix your home first, then worry about your neighbours...
Atif Jul 24, 2012 02:15pm
Dalai Lama and Suu Kyi are the western apologists
Tanvir Jul 24, 2012 03:48pm
So why are the Muslims being persecuted and killed in Burma? Have the Burmese Buddhists forgotten the teaching of the Buddha?
Ali Jul 24, 2012 01:58pm
Great, you want civil rights and "liberals" to "wake up" when the exaggerated and often misleading claims of Muslim killings are coming out of Burma. Where were these civil rights when in your own country minorities are persecuted everyday by fundamentalist? where are is the non-liberal class when temples and churches are burned? Non-muslims (and muslims) are getting killed everyday in our own country by fellow "muslims" and we want Burma to treat their minority in humane way. This is the real hypocrisy. How hard it is for Muslim Bangladesh or even wealthy Saudi Arabia to accept and settle these refugees on "islamic" grounds? The fact is that national interest comes first. Everyone is concerned about their own country except us.
Igloo Jul 24, 2012 07:17am
This is a good time for all sections of the Muslims world to exercise some introspection. Liberals should consider to what extent their genuine and laudable liberal instincts have become hijacked into promoting an inferiority complex whilst ignoring a huge portion of their own countryfolk - the servant class, genuinely poor and downtrodden men, boys at risk of sex abuse, downtrodden social groups like the 'changar' (gypsies) and so on. Of course these causes do not seem to rank highly in prominent western liberal human rights campaigns but they do have a huge impact on the quest for a fair society.
Muhammad Ahmed Mufti Jul 24, 2012 11:43am
Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi and the Budhist perception of non violence has been exposed. Why is the Lama and the darling of democray speechless on this violence? It turns out that this bunch is no different then rest of the humanity. They are susceptible to hypocrisy as anyone.
MKB Jul 24, 2012 10:16am
All kind of violence are bared in Buddhism. The first principle of Pancha Sheel(5 principle) is," one should stay way from killing any living being".Buddha's massage is universal. For him, every human being is equal, that he preached nearly more than 2500 years ago. Buddhist of this subcontinent were the worst suffer from the oppression. History is the witness, they were driven first by upper cast Hindus, than by Muslim invaders. That is the reason , once a very vibrant religion of this land had been reduce to a maser minority. The fillip side, Buddhism has been speared all over South East Asia. When Taliban destroyed(Mr. Rewan Aktar, it was statue of Buddha and not Buddhist statue) very lively, giant statue at Bamiyan, there were not a droop of blood had been shed.
AHA Jul 24, 2012 12:19pm
We liberals are currently preoccupied with the plight of Muslims within the boundries of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. As they say, charity begins at home. And we still have a long way to go in Pakistan itself.
S Ansari Jul 24, 2012 05:44am
Don't worry brothers, Allah will take care of them. Did Jesus not preach peace? Keep patience. We have 1.5 billion muslim population.
AHA Jul 24, 2012 12:28pm
Killing Muslims is the easiest thing to do these days. When we Muslims do not sympathize with our fellow Muslims when they are routinely murdered by the 'religiously motivated' Muslims, what right do we have to expect sympathy from others when Muslims are killed elsewhere.
AHA Jul 24, 2012 12:22pm
Goes to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that religious teachings don't mean a thing. It is what people do, both within and outside of religion, that matters. Religious teachings are simply irrelevant.
dr ghulam Jul 24, 2012 12:01pm
shame for world community that they are silent on these killings.
AAS Jul 24, 2012 05:08pm
Rohingya's have long history of violence that is the reason everyone is trying to avoid them whether in Bhudhist Burma, Muslim bangladesh or indonesia. Earlier also they have shown similar flavor. This is a lesson for communities how they get labeled and create problem for their children.
Syed Ahmed Jamal Jul 24, 2012 06:28pm
Why did Bangladesh turn away the Rohingya'a recently? The governemnt could have asked the UN and OIC for money to support them?
Lajwar Jul 24, 2012 06:31pm
Still not a valid reason to ignore a genocide happening in real time in the region.
Kallook Jul 24, 2012 07:35pm
The Muslim country right next door, Bangladesh, is in the best position to help, both physically and diplomatically. Instead, they are turning away and shooting at the Rohingyas. So shouldn't all those fulminating against the West and the liberals, first ask Bangladesh to help their fellow religionists? Or at least, shouldn't they find fault with Bangladesh as well? Or is it that it is more fun to point fingers at non-Muslims?
bangash Jul 24, 2012 07:45pm
Leave Burmese and Syrians to someone else and stop the regular killing of minorities in Pakistan.
Rizwan Jul 24, 2012 09:05pm
It further reinforces my point. The Taliban gutted down" stone images" but the extremists Buddhist shed human blood. In both cases the spiritual side is bruised.
Rubina Jul 24, 2012 11:37pm
Where is Asma Jehangir? Why is she and others like her silent?
siddhu Jul 25, 2012 01:16am
why dosen't pakistan help these rohigya muslims in any possible way?
Shah Arkani Jul 25, 2012 04:32pm
You must be out of your mind or at a state of druckard AAS. Can you prove any occurance, just a single occurance where the Rohingya is proven as "violent" or their voilent action? Nearly all the ethnic groups in Burma including Burman, the major clan, have been taking arms and fighting against the central government for the last HALF A CENTURTY, and some are even longer than that. Rohingya even doesn't have the arm rasistant group fighting against the government. That's the reason they are being killed like chickens and ducks. What kind of non-sense you, AAS, is talking about?