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World Muslims Aid Persecuted Rohingyas

Published: 13/08/2012 04:18:16 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Muslim countries are rushing to send aid to Rohingya Muslims in Burma, amid horrifying accounts of murder, arson and rape of the sizable minority. King Abdullah ... has ordered that assistance of the amount of $50 (more)

CAIRO - Muslim countries are rushing to send aid to Rohingya Muslims in Burma, amid horrifying accounts of murder, arson and rape of the sizable minority.

"King Abdullah ... has ordered that assistance of the amount of $50 million be provided to the Rohingya Muslim citizens in Myanmar," the Saudi state news agency reported.

Saudi authorities said the Rohingya Muslims had been "exposed to many violations of human rights including ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and forced displacement".

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The United Arab Emirates has also ordered urgent relief aid to the Rohingya community in Burma.

The move came after Emirati foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan sent a letter to the international community, seeking support to end the plight of Rohingya Muslims.

The Muslim aid comes aid Bangladesh, which hosts thousands of Rohingya refugees, ordered aid agencies to stop providing aid to Rohingyas.

Dhaka argues that international aid to Rohingya Muslims was creating a “pull factor” for refugees.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee their homes in Burma in June after ethnic violence rocked the western state of Rakhine after the killing of ten Muslims in an attack by Buddhist vigilantes on their bus.

The attack came following the rape and killing of a Buddhist woman, for which three Rohingyas were sentenced to death.

At least 77 people were killed in the violence and thousands of homes were burnt and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced.

Human rights groups have accused Burmese police and troops of disproportionate use of force and arrests of Rohingyas in the wake of the riots.

Human Rights Watch has accused Burmese security forces of targeting Rohingya Muslims with killing, rape and arrest following the unrest.

Hundreds of Rohingya men and boys have been rounded up and remain incommunicado in the western region of the country, the group said.

Bleak Future

Restrictions on the Bangladesh side of the border have not prevented Rohingya Muslim refugees from pouring in to flee persecution in their country.

“They were our neighbors,” 65-year-old Mohammad Hanif told Gulf News on Sunday of the attackers who killed his son and son-in-law.

Hanif is still trying to piece together the night his life changed forever when mobs attacked his family, leaving two members dead.

“They cut them down in front of my eyes hacked at them the way knives slice through cabbage,” he said.

“We ran for our lives.”

Such tales are familiar in the remote fishing villages of south-eastern Bangladesh, where thousands of Rohingya Muslims were driven from their homes in neighboring Burma.

On the run from the Bangladesh police and without any legitimate means of livelihood, Rohingya Muslims face a bleak future on the Bangladesh side of the border.

Taking shelter at a Bangladeshi fish trader he befriended two years ago, Shah Noor, 23, from the Akyab area of Arakan state, risked the perilous trip along the Bay of Bengal to Teknaf.

He said he was sent to Bangladesh by his mother mid-July after police started rounding up young Rohingya men.

“It was the government,” Shah Noor said.

“Without the military backing, the Moghs would never dare attack us. The government wants to drive us out.”

Rohingya Muslims are believed to be descended from Arab and other Muslim traders who traveled and settled in the area more than 1,000 years ago.

They live in the mountainous northern Rakhine state, one of the poorest and most isolated in Myanmar.

Rohingya Muslims have been denied citizenship rights since an amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 and are treated as illegal immigrants in their own home.Every year, thousands of minority Muslim Rohingyas flee Myanmar in wooden boats, embarking on a hazardous journey to Thailand or Malaysia in search of a better life.

Reproduced with permission from