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Stop violence against Muslim minorities: OIC

Saudi Gazette
April 15, 2013

JEDDAH — Secretary-General of the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Sunday warned against widening
of the circle of violence against Muslims in Myanmar to neighboring areas, in
reference to the outbreak of violence committed by Buddhist extremists against
Muslims in Sri Lanka.
In his speech at the emergency OIC Contact Group
meeting on Rohingya Muslim minority, Ihsanoglu reiterated that the violence
against Muslims in Myanmar was unacceptable and should not continue. “Such
violence is a clear indication of the government’s negative approach in dealing
with ethnic and religious tensions that erupted last summer,” he said.
Ihsanoglu called on member states of the Contact Group
to take action through communication with the international community to
implement recommendations of the OIC Islamic Summit held in Makkah. He also
suggested requesting OIC member states which are members in the Contact Group
and which have diplomatic missions in Myanmar to use their good offices to put
this issue forward, expressing readiness of the OIC to continue coordination
and render necessary support to improve the conditions of Muslims in Myanmar
until they regain all their legitimate rights.
“Despite our attempts to establish communication with
the authorities in Myanmar by selecting a prominent figure from a neighboring
country to visit Myanmar and open discussions with officials, the government
was not responsive,” Ihsanogle said.
He told Saudi Gazette that the OIC will ask the United
Nations Human Rights Council to send fact-finding mission to investigate all
human rights violations in Myanmar.
Wakar Uddin, Director-General of Arakan Rohingya Union
(ARU), the voice of Rohingya for political and human rights in Myanmar, said
that they are hoping to draw the attention of Muslim countries and OIC members
to the worsening situation in Myanmar and Arakan state.
“This is no longer a Rohingya issue, it’s becoming an
Islamic issue because the radical elements in Myanmar are trying to eliminate
Islam from the country,” he said.
According to Uddin, among all the refugees around the
world, Saudi Arabia is the only country giving residency to over 500,000
Burmese refugees.
Malaysia is also trying to give the Rohingyas a better
status as also Pakistan, which has more than 400, 000 refugees. “We have some
challenges in Banagladesh and we are working with Indonesia. In Thailand some
of them are in the camps but we are trying to work it through,” he added. “The
most important thing we are trying to reach is basically end the violence.
Myanmar government is very clever in maneuvering. So
every time pressure is put on them, they try to say positive things and ease
the pressure and things go back to being violent,” Uddin said.
According to reports from the UN, Human Rights Watch
and underground Rohingyas, the recent violence which erupted on the March 20
has resulted in the burning of 37 mosques, 77 shops, 1474 houses.
Last year at least 180 people were killed in the
western state of Rakhine in clashes between local Buddhists and Rohingya – a
Muslim minority treated with hostility by most Burmese who see them as illegal
Bangladeshi immigrants.
In March, at least 43 people died in Buddhist-Muslim
clashes which broke in central Myanmar.