Monday 27 August 2012

Saudi- WAMY seeks further measures to help Myanmar Muslims

Source menafn, 26 Aug

(MENAFN - Arab News) The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) has asked Muslim and Arab countries to take further measures to help Muslims in Myanmar, insisting that Gulf states should assume a "pioneering role" in the drive.

"As the Muslims around the world cheerfully celebrated Eid Al-Fitr, the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar are being subjected to appalling atrocities, finding their life still in danger," said Dr. Saleh Al-Wohaibi, WAMY's secretary-general, here yesterday.

Al-Wohaibi, who launched a WAMY's relief and rehabilitation program for the Muslims of Myanmar, applauded the efforts of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who ordered $50 million in aid to the Rohingyas. "The Saudi assistance and the efforts made by the Saudi leaders in cooperation with the international community will go a long way in alleviating the suffering of Muslims in that country," said the WAMY chief.

Referring to the relief efforts of the WAMY, he pointed out that this Islamic organization would spend $1.5 million in the first phase of its program. "The WAMY is coordinating with several aid organizations including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to extend all possible help to Muslims in Myanmar," said Al-Wohaibi, adding that the Rohingya Muslims have recently been exposed to grave human rights abuses including ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and forced displacement.

He pointed out that the WAMY offices, as well as other Islamic NGOs around Mynamar, had been contacted for the relief and rehabilitation plan. Several volunteers will be sent to that country, if the Myanmar government allows them to enter into the country, he added. He said that the WAMY strongly condemns the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims as well as the brutal acts and flagrant violations of human rights against them with the aim of coercing them to leave their homeland.

Al-Wohaibi, while urging the international community to take immediate action to protect Muslims in that country, renewed his call to all Islamic and Arab countries to adopt a strong stance to put an end to the killing of Muslims in Myanmar. "If there is no strong stance against this tragedy afflicting Muslims in Myanmar, be sure that there will be a repeat of the same ugly episode again," he added.

Al-Wohaibi expressed concerns that the international community has been by and large ominously quiet about the events in Myanmar. More than 2,000 Rohingya Muslims have been murdered thus far in the conflicts that broke out in the region. He also lamented that the mainstream media in the West have been largely silent about the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar.

Along with the media, Western governments have also blatantly turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims. Even renowned Burmese political activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was recently invited to Norway to collect her 21-year old Nobel Prize, preferred not to speak about the affliction of her fellow citizens. Al-Wohaibi, however, thanked the Myanmar government for inviting an OIC fact-finding delegation to visit the country rocked by sectarian violence.

For their part, Amnesty has also accused Burmese security forces as well as ethnic Rakhine Buddhist residents of assaults, unlawful killings of Muslims and the destruction of property. "Most cases have meant targeted attacks on the minority Rohingya population and they bore the brunt of most of that communal violence in June and they continue to bear the lion's share of the violations perpetrated by the state security forces," Amnesty researcher Benjamin Zawacki told the BBC in a recent program.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has set up a 27-member commission to investigate the killings. The commission will be headed by a retired religious affairs ministry official and include former student activists, a former UN officer and representatives from political parties and Islamic as well as other religious organizations.

The commission is tasked with proposing solutions to the longstanding hatred between the two communities and is to submit its findings by Sept. 17.

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