DOHA – A leading union of international Muslim scholars has stressed that Muslims worldwide are obliged to help Rohingya Muslims fleeing death in Burma’s Rakhine state within their abilities, urging Muslim countries to boycott Burma.
“The situation in Arakan [Rakhine state] is shameful to the whole world and its governments, institutions, politicians, intellectuals, and scholars,” Sheikh Ali al-Qaradaghi, Secretary General of the International Union of Muslim scholars (IUMS), said in a statement cited by Daily Sabah on Thursday, September 7.
“Thousands of people are being killed and displaced and nobody cries for them.”
The union of the world-wide Muslim scholars asked leaders to make political efforts to protect Rohingya and for relief agencies to provide aid to the persecuted minority in Burma.
The Rohingya Muslims have been running for their lives, hoping to escape what they believe is certain death and risking it all to cross illegally from Myanmar to Bangladesh. As of today, nearly 164,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh, according to the UN.
There have been reports of villages surrounded and homes burned to the ground as well as torture, executions, and rape.
Satellite images obtained by Human Rights Watch captured pictures of the devastation. Yet, international aid to the region has recently been blocked by the government.
Rohingya representatives said around 400 people had been killed in the crackdown.
In recent weeks, the government has boosted its military numbers in Maungdaw, and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claimed responsibility for attacks in which the government said dozens were killed.
The ARSA said the attacks were in response to raids, killings, and looting by soldiers.
Rakhine State, one of Burma’s poorest regions, is home to an estimated 125,000 stateless Rohingya Muslims, the majority of whom remain confined to temporary camps following waves of deadly violence in 2012 between Buddhists and Muslims.
Described by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, Burma’s ethnic-Bengali Muslims, generally known as the Rohingyas, are facing a catalog of discrimination in their homeland.
They have been denied citizenship rights since an amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 and are treated as illegal immigrants.
Burma’s government, as well as the Buddhist majority, refuse to recognize the term “Rohingya,” referring to them as “Bengalis.”
Construction of mosques and religious schools in the region was banned in 1962 when military rule was first established in the country.