MY heart goes out to the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar who are enduring horrible persecution at the hands of that country’s Bhuddist majority and it saddens me that every day, it seems, there is more news of Rohingya villages being burnt to the ground while men, women and children are routinely slaughtered, raped, tortured and turned into refugees fleeing for their lives.
News of what is happening to citizens of the world in Myanmar is deeply disturbing. But what makes it even more distressing to me is that this atrocity is taking place at a time when there are many enormously wealthy Muslim states in the world, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, etcetera and I am not hearing anything about what these rich states are doing to help the Rohingya people. In my opinion, they are not even an example to us in these far-off lands as Muslims and even to humanity. They seem lost in the perpetual love and lust for wealth, power and, sadly yes, women.
The insane brutality and bloodshed being inflicted on the Rohingya people are not an ordinary situation. The United Nations has called it a clear case of modern-day genocide and a textbook example of systematic ethnic cleansing. The Rohingya Muslims are fleeing by the hundreds of thousands to find safe places to live and practise their faith, but it appears that they are not getting the type of support they desperately need. Bangladesh, despite its poverty, has accommodated them and yet again the rich so-called Muslim states do nothing to fight for their rights or give comfort to these sad souls and financial support to the Bangladesh Government. Children have been raped and brutalised,parents murdered before their eyes.
The hundreds of thousands have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh where they barely exist as a people with no citizenship. The Bangladeshi Government has offered them refuge, but they face new challenges as they are forced to live in refugee camps. There are reports that desperate refugees are being cruelly exploited and they accept the abuse because they are terrified of being sent back to Myanmar.
Everyone knows that I have a burning passion for peace and justice and I am moved to reach out a helping hand to those who are victimised, underprivileged, less fortunate or those who simply find themselves in bad circumstances through no fault of their own. I also believe charity begins at home; that is why I am so hurt to see these souls as brothers and sisters in such a plight with seemingly nowhere to turn.
From what I can see, the entire world is failing the Rohingya people. The world needs to do a lot more, especially the ‘giants of Asia’: China, Japan, India and Pakistan. In my humble opinion, powerful Asian nations can do a lot more to help the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living precariously in their midst, and put political and military pressure on Myanmar to cease this crime against humanity.
This is a major human rights problem for the world. It is clear to me that Myanmar will not be in any position to take back the refugees anytime soon and it will be a huge, difficult and costly challenge to make logistical arrangements for their journey back. I believe the global community has to double or triple the pressure on Myanmar to guarantee their safe return, or resettle them somewhere safe. Or the rich Arab Muslim countries can purchase an island and resettle them while building industries and farms. They forget that the greatest thing they can do is build a new Islamic country which may save their souls.
I always tell it as I see it, no matter who does not like what I say. Therefore, while I blame the Bhuddist terrorists and government of Myanmar, I also blame the powerful nations in Asia and the world at large for the genocide of the Rohingya people. I think it is pertinent for me to blame the Muslim leaders, Muslim scholars, Muslim Sheiks and rich Muslim countries for not doing enough to help their brothers and sisters, to help humanity, and moreso, those who practise their faith as they wish.
Why can’t their fellow Muslims use the abundant blessings bestowed upon them by the Almighty, their intellect, their ingenuity, their resourcefulness, their riches etc. to allocate or buy an island as I said above, or some appropriate tract of land to set up an enclave for these people? Why can’t they come together and set up camps for them and give them food, shelter and job opportunities? They can set up schools for the children, counselling for the inflicted and damaged children, men and women. These super rich Arab countries and other powerful ones can always find monies for wars and more wars, destabilisation of governments and clandestine behaviour in the world. Warplanes cost between US$10,000,000 to US$100,000, 000 each. Just imagine what these monies can do to alleviate the suffering of the world.
These are stateless people. Why can’t they create a little state for these people and give them the start-up resources to get back on their feet? Why can’t they help them to start over somewhere where they will never be treated as slaves, servants or second- class citizens; somewhere where they can live as peaceful Muslims live — in dignity? If they are moved to attempt to help the Rohingya Muslims, I hope these rich Arab states will not do so in an exploitative way, because there are many reports of abuses of migrant workers who have travelled to these states in search of a better life.
I call on the Muslim community to come together and plan how best we can help our brothers and sisters who are in such extreme distress. They deserve no less than our best.
I do not talk about a problem without trying to be part of the solution, so my door is open to discuss with fellow Muslims and persons of all faiths, colours and creeds who, like me, love peace and justice, to see how we can help the suffering community in Myanmar. Let us talk together, pray together in divine guidance and mercy as we embark on this most noble and holy mission.
Before I close I must call on the United Nations, Europe and North America to institute charges against those culpable, including Aung San Suu Kyi and the 13 generals identified by Amnesty International.
Roshan Khan Snr.