EDITORIAL Disgraceful cruelty against children in Myanmar

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SHAFAQNA – Footage of a Rohingya Muslim child circulated on social media today, depicting harrowing and despicable cruelty towards a defenceless child … The words fail me to express my dismay. How can anyone or any religious construct justify such abominable behaviour by the hands of its clergy.

THE VIDEO CAN BE VIEWED HERE SHAFAQNA HAS CHOSEN NOT TO CARRY THE VIDEO ON ITS WEBSITE. OUR GOAL IS NOT TO FEED HYSTERIA BUT TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF RELIGIOUS REPRESSION.

While Buddhism may have reservations towards Islam – everyone is entitled to their opinions in this world, barbarism and inhumanity cannot be used a euphemism for prozelitism.

Children are by definition innocent and should as such be protected – regardless and absolutely. There can never be a rationale behind wanton torture.

I will offer the words of Imam Ali to those who today stand under the yoke of tyrants: “When the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.”

Rohingya Muslims are Indo-Aryan peoples from the Rakhine State, Myanmar and make up about 1.3 million of the of the total 50 million Burmese population. According to al-Jazeera, “They are not regarded as one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups and are denied citizenship under Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law, which effectively renders them stateless.”

A BBC report reads, “The government argues they are from neighbouring Bangladesh not Myanmar, and that the Rohingya identity has been invented by migrants to gain citizenship.” The Rohingya speak a Bengali dialect.

The state religion of Myanmar is Theravada Buddhism, while the Rohingya people practice Sunni Islam.

In 2012, the Rohingya people rioted against the ethnic Rakhine Buddhists. Burma President Thein Sein later admitted that “a wave of communal violence pitting [Rakhine] Buddhists against Muslims” occurred in Rakhine, reports The Guardian.

In 2015, Rohingya migrants fleeing Myanmar made the news as refugees journeyed to Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand by rickety boats.

According to researchers from the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London, “Persecution of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar has been orchestrated by the government, state-level officials and Buddhist monks, according to the findings of an 18-month investigation into state crime.”

Whatever “upset” Myanmar Muslim community may have caused the authorities I would like to think that genocide is NOT the way to go. How can anyone claim any form of legitimacy or even righteousness if knee deep in the blood of the innocent?

If like us, you feel outrage we would like to invite you to spread the following: #RiseUp in denunciation of oppression wherever it may lie and whatever cloak it has claimed to rationalise its madness.

Justice and Freedom will remain empty words if we do not #RiseUp for each other

By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies

 

 

 

 

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