By Muhammad Basir Roslan
Close your eyes and imagine, how do you feel when all of your beloved family members including both of your parents had been locked up in a house and burned down until they died tragically?
We should be surprised because it just happened towards our Muslim relatives at Rohingya, recently!
As reported in Utusan Malaysia on 16 November 2016, around 30 Muslim women and children had been locked up in their houses and burned down until all of them died at Yay Kahe Chaung Khwa Sone. The armies of Myanmar used helicopters, tanks, and cannons to kill whoever tried to run away during the operation. As reported, more than 300 Rohingya Muslim villagers had been killed since the armies started the operation on 9 November 2016!
Let us look back on how this Rohingya issue that occurred in Myanmar until it finally caught the attention of the world. It can be seen that the conflict of Rohingya in Myanmar made its comeback in the frontline of every news worldwide when thousands of Rohingyas fled by sea to neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia and their boats were stranded in the Straits of Malacca on May 2015.
Luckily for them, the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia provide efforts to give humanitarian aid to thousands of ethnic Rohingyas who were stranded in international waters recently, where this action considered as a very reasonable action. Any help is believed to be able to alleviate the hardship of life of these refugees before a suitable solution is found and this including Turkey where it is helping in providing assistance to the Rohingya refugees. Prime Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoğlu announced that his government would send naval vessels to waters off Turkey to Thailand and Malaysia in order to deliver humanitarian aid to these Rohingyas.
The news about the ethnic conflict in Rakhine, one of the areas in Myanmar near Bangladesh was again discussed and became a hot topic on social media after last news about the ethnic unrest in 2012.
To make the issue become worse than ever, many of which relating this issue as a religious conflict without knowing the background of the actual problems that have occurred hundreds of years ago. According to historical records, the Muslim community had been living in Arakan (Rakhine’s ancient name) since the reign of a king named Buddha Narameikhla or Min Saw Mun (1430-1434) in the government of Mrauk U. After being exiled for 24 years in the Sultanate of Bengal, Narameikhla got the throne of the government in Arakan with the help of the Sultan of Bengal at that time. Then he brought along the Bengali people to live in Arakan and help the management of his administration thus was formed the first Muslim community in the region.
When the government of Mrauk U held a status as a subordinate kingdom of the Sultanate of Bengal, King Narameikhla used his title in Arabic, including the names of his courtiers and wearing Bengal coins that used Arabic and Persian characters on one side and on the other side of Burma as its currency. After a successful escape from the Sultanate of Bengal, the king’s descendants still used the Arabic title and consider themselves as sovereign and also still using the dress that imitated Mughal sultanate. They still employed Muslims in the palace and Muslim customs of Bengal retained. In the 17th century, the Muslim population increased rapidly because they worked in different areas of life, not only in the government. Kamei, one of the ethnic Muslims in the Rakhine state of Myanmar recognised today, are descendants of people who migrated to Arakan at this time.
The main party responsible for this genocide fell upon the government of Myanmar. Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur for Burma said that human rights abuses committed by Myanmar’s security forces against the Rohingya are widespread and systematic. And with a recent official declaration, the government of Myanmar stated that they have no intention of softening its stance against the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority.
In Nicholas Kristoff’s latest article written for The New York Times it was mentioned: “Soon the world will witness a remarkable sight: a beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner (Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) and the daughter of Aung San ) presiding over 21st-century concentration camps.” There are more than ten thousands of Rohingyas been forcibly confined in Sittwe, and there is also evidence that the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the military government that amounts to genocide. Ever since many of world leaders have called for an end to what appears to be government inaction or lack of accountability for extreme human rights abuses in Rakhine state.
To be clear, the right of Rohingya peoples to claim their citizenship have been denied by the Myanmar government and they have been killed and slaughtered like animals! In addition, the governments of Southeast Asia have failed to demonstrate any serious collective and sustained effort to deal with the decades-old refugee crisis in this region. Shouldn’t this get our attention to help solve this humanity issue that happened right in front of our eyes?
Here is the main problem. We have lost our sense of humanity, and it is our responsible as a Muslim to awaken it up again and help our brothers and sisters of Rohingya from being annihilated by their own government. According to Professor Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi in his book, ‘The Characteristics of the Islamic Society that we wish to see’, the values of humanity must be guided by knowledge, charity, and faith. In addition, people need to live in the feelings of affection and brotherhood by putting others first before themselves. He also added that we must strengthen our cooperation in terms of material and moral life and also the practice of fraternity to be strong as one united Muslim brotherhood.
We can do even a small thing to help spread this unheard Rohingya issue throughout the world with sharing of related information using our own social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channel and personal blogs. With doing this, we do hope that it can touch and open the threshold of awareness of all the peoples of this world to lend their aids and rise together to stop this issue.
We also have to use the medium that we already have such as the United Nations (UN), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and others to have a mutual agreement between world nations as well as take a solid moves to weaken Myanmar’s policy regarding this humanitarian issue and honour the rights of the Rohingya as citizens. It is time for us to wake up, hold our hands together and shut this issue down to the ground!
The time has come for us to help our Rohingya brothers and sisters as it is compulsory for us as mentioned by Rasulullah s.a.w in his famous hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah: “Whoever releases the distress of a believer, Allah surely will rescue him from distress on Judgment Day. Whoever makes easier the affairs of others, surely Allah will make it easier in the world and in the hereafter”.
Let the Rohingya people enjoy peace again and be protected by Allah..###