Ethnic Rioting in Burma: Muslims are Victims of Brutal Oppression
July 26, 2012
Ethnic violence has broken out in the last few weeks, after 10 Rohingya Muslims were killed by local nationalists. The attack was in response to recent allegations that three Rohingya youths allegedly raped and killed a local woman.
According to a report by the Humanitarian Aid Foundation, more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar have been killed and more than 90,000 have been left homeless since the violence began.
According to the Associated Press, 1,336 homes belonging to the Rohingya Muslims were burnt during the unrest, and other organizations say the number could be as high as 6,000. The Burmese army and police have been accused of playing a leading role in targeting the Rohingyas through mass arrests and arbitrary violence.
Rohingyas are a Muslim people living in the Arakan region of Burma. The Rohingya have lived in Burma for centuries (as of 2012, 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar) but in 1982, the military ruler at the time, Ne Win, stripped them of their citizenship. The United Nations says that the Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Because the Burmese government denies the Rohingya the right to citizenship in their homeland, many Rohingyas have their land confiscated, have limited access to education and are restricted from travel. Rohingya Muslims require government permission to marry, are forbidden from having more than two children per family and are subjected to modern-day slavery through forced labor.
As a result of systematic discrimination they have endured, many Rohingya Muslims have been forced to migrate to Bangladesh and Malaysia: currently 300,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Bangladesh and 24,000 in Malaysia.
Disturbingly, some monks’ organizations in Burma have issued pamphlets telling people not to associate with the Rohingya community, and have blocked humanitarian assistance from reaching them.
Unfortunately, the Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh in response to the violence live in pitiful camps. Foreign media are being denied access to the conflict region, where a state of emergency was declared last month, and ten aid workers were arrested without explanation.
Zakat Foundation of America and its partners are committed to helping the Rohingya Muslims suffering in Burma and Bangladesh. Help us alleviate the pain of Burmese Muslims by donating today.