Protests against 'persecution' of Rohingya Muslims intensify across Muslim world

Myanmar government refuses to change its policy on the 'Bengalis' as no other country is willing to take them in

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The Independent Online

Protests against the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have intensified across the Muslim world today as protesters took to the streets of Kabul to speak out against the ‘persecution’.

Afghan activists launched a rally in the country’s capital to express their anger at the ‘deliberate discrimination’ against the Muslim community in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

They also lashed out at the West for ‘turning a blind eye’ to the plight of the Rohingya minority, with one protestor, Parvez Hameedy, saying: “It is horrendous the way religious fanatics in Burma have been killing Rohingya Muslims and the entire world is watching the horror unfold with silence.”

Activists in Pakistan burn a Myanmar flag during a protest in support of Rohingya Muslims last week


Another activist, Farhad Mahmoudi, added: “Persecution against Burmese Muslims has reached its peak, yet most western and Muslim countries have not broken their silence.”

The government of Myanmar says it is determined to stop migrants from fleeing religious persecution from the country – but is accused of consistently refusing to acknowledge the reasons behind what is causing the people to cross the sea under dangerous conditions.

A young Rohingya boy pleads for water after being adrift on a vessel for three months


Insisting that most of the migrants do not belong in Myanmar – and referring to them as “Bengalis” – the government says it has no plans to change policies that strip them of basic rights and detain more than 140,000 in a crowded government camp.

A deputy director general of the Myanmar president’s office, U Zaw Htay, said this week: “There is no change in the government’s policy toward the Bengalis.”

Tens of thousands of Rohingya have attempted to flee the country in recent months and, just a few weeks ago, a wooden vessel – which was jam-packed full of men, women and children – was spotted adrift in the Andaman Sea between Thailand and Malaysia.

The migrants on a boat which was adrift on the Andaman Sea


The New York Times reported how, when a boat of journalists approached the wooden vessel, cries of: "Please, help us" and: "I have no water" rose from the deck as the migrants told of how they had been on the boat for three months.

With no country willing to take them in, the migrants described how their captain and the crew had abandoned them six days previously and how they dealt with ten fatalities during their voyage: by throwing the dead overboard.

Rohingya migrants pass food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter


The editor of Mayanmar Irrawaddy Magazine, Aung Zaw, described how the country’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is "no longer a human rights activist as we saw her 20 years ago."

He added: "Aung San Suu Kyi has changed. This is a different Aung San Suu Kyi, a new Aung San Suu Kyi. She will not do anything to help the Rohingya."

Aung San Suu Kyi 'will not do anything to help the Rohingya', says Burmese magazine editor


Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, this week became the latest high-profile figure to speak out on the topic and urged world leaders to demand an end to their persecution: "I call on the leaders of Myanmar and the world to take immediate action to halt the inhuman persecution of Burma’s Muslim minority Rohingya people.

Malala Yousafzai is urging world leaders so sit up and hear the plight of the Rohingyas


"The Rohingyas deserve citizenship in the country where they were born and have lived for generations. They deserve equal rights and opportunities. They deserve to be treated like we all deserve to be treated – with dignity and respect.

"Today, and every day, I stand with the Rohingyas and I encourage people everywhere to do so."