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Muslims massacred in Burma

Muslims massacred in Burma



By Ahmed J Versi

Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar

Riot police fired on more than 500 young Muslim Rohingyas who were demonstrating peacefully in Myoma Kayandan village on June 8 to pay respect to 10 Muslims murdered in Taungup (Taunggoke) in Rakhine State, Myanmar (Burma), on June 3.

According to the state media, this killing was in reaction to the rape and murder of a woman in western Rakhine (Arakan) State, bordering Bangladesh. Three Muslim men were detained. Since then more than 80 people have been killed in a wave of communal violence in western Myanmar.

Burmese Government does not consider Rohingya Muslims as citizens and are hated by the Buddhists. Rohingyans have long demanded recognition as an indigenous ethnic group with full citizenship by birthright, claiming a centuries-old lineage in Rakhine. But the Government regards them as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and denies them citizenship.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, said at a recent visit to Myanmar, discrimination against the Muslim community, particularly the Rohingyas in Rakhine State, was the root cause of the violence, stressing the need for the authorities to take steps to address “long-standing issues of deprivation of citizenship, freedom of movement, and other fundamental rights” for the Rohingyas.

Even Nobel Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, does not consider Muslims as citizens. Speaking at London School of Economics meeting last week during her visit to the UK, she said Rohingya Muslims should be considered as permanent residents but not as citizens. During a press conference in Downing Street last Thursday, she did not condemn the killings of Rohingya Muslims, instead she said, “Ethnic conflict plaguing the country” should be investigated and “dealt with wisdom.”

Eight Muslim pilgrims along with one escort – a Muslim lady – and one helper, were killed in Taungup, at about 3:00pm on June 3 by a gang of hundreds of Buddhist Rakhines, according to a pilgrim who returned from Thandwe after seeing the eight Muslim pilgrims.

The victims were Muslim pilgrims returning to Rangoon in a bus from Thetsa Masjid in Thandwe, southern Arakan, on June 3. “The culprits were celebrating triumph spitting and tossing the wine and alcohol on the dead bodies lying on the road,” said an eye witness.

“These innocent people have been killed like animals,” said Abu Tahay, of the National Democratic Party for Development, which represents the country’s much-persecuted stateless Muslim Rohingya community.

“If the police cannot control the situation, maybe the (unrest) is going to spread,” he said, adding that the biggest fear was for Rakhine state, where there is a large Muslim minority population including the Rohingya.

Meanwhile, Rakhine Buddhists burned down a Rohingya Muslim village – Anauk Pin – in Rathidaung Township on June 9 at about 8:30 am, where 60 houses were burned down. Eight Rakhines and 8 Rohingyas died.

Another Rohingya village – Muzardiya - was also burned down where two Rohingyas were killed. Similarly Rohingya village –Tharapin - was also burned down and most of Rohingya villagers were killed. These villagers are stranded between Rakhines villages and Mayu River.

About 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar, according to the UN, which describes them as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.

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