Emirates-based Myanmarese to seek UN help for compatriots |
Gulf Today - 10 July, 2012
Rohingya Muslims based in the UAE, while voicing their concern about the recent incidents in their hometown that resulted in hundreds of their compatriots being killed, have requested the UN mission based in the UAE for help on a priority basis.
Abu Muhammed, a Rohingya Muslim UAE resident for the past two years hailing from the unrest-hit Arakan state of Myanmar, told The Gulf Today on Monday that he along with the rest of his community in the UAE are worried about the situation in their home state and are therefore requesting international bodies to help the community.
“In the next couple of days, we are planning to meet the UAE-based UN missions, including UNHCR, UNDP, WFP and other agencies with a demand to extend their relief activities to benefit the Rohingya Muslims in the trouble-torn state as every day, dozens of people are being pushed to the wall and forced to face the harsh realities of life,” he said.
Burma or Myanmar has been in the news for the last couple of years, especially after the release after two decades, and the subsequent UK tour of the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
During the last couple of weeks, the country has been in the media’s scanner, especially the international media, which has been showing the recent unrest in the country’s Arakan state, a state sharing a 171-kilometre-long border with Bangladesh, and separated by the Naaf River.
Muhammed, along with other Rohingyas, including Abu Zain, Salim Khan and Hafiz Sayed in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today shed light on the ongoing situation in their homeland.
“We are all Muslims and we deeply feel for our brothers and sisters in trouble all over the world. It is our request to both the local and international community to support the Rohingya Muslims living in distressful conditions in many countries, as their own country (Burma) is not ready to extend due rights to them,” said Abu Zain, who has been in the country for the last four decades, having retired from a Dubai government department. He is now devoting his life to spread awareness on the plight of the Rohingya Muslims.
Salim Khan debunked some media reports claiming that the Rohingyas were of Bangladeshi descent, having their origins in the British era some 200 years ago.
“However, history tells an entirely different story. On a Saudi channel, a scholar claimed that in the 7th Century (2nd Hijri), during the period of Caliph Harunul Rasheed, three delegations were sent to different areas in this region, one landed in China, another in Indonesia, while the third was forced to take refugee on the Ramree Island (currently Arakan State) after their ship was wrecked in the rough seas. The preaching of the newly-arrived people from another land impressed the locals, mainly Hindus, who then adopted Islam and have since been practising their religion in the area,” he said.
Another member of the group, Bin Jalal, claimed that the Arakan state has a majority of Muslims, as compared to just 15 per cent in the rest of the country.
“The recent wave of unrests has forced hundreds of Muslims to abandon their houses, businesses and other source of living and take shelter in other areas. According to our sources, hundreds of thousands had taken refuge in Bangladesh, but there are many still at the mercy of the local government, which is unable to protect them and provide them food,” he added.