Thursday Jul 26, 201205:42 PM GMT
Rohingyas suffer murder, rape, torture: Violence survivor
A Myanmar
A MyanmarRohingya Muslims, trying to cross the Naf river into Bangladesh to escape sectarian violence in Myanmar, look on from an intercepted boat. (File photo)
A Myanmar's ethnic Rohingya Muslim refugee cries while holding a placard near the US and British embasies in Kuala Lumpur on June 12, 2012.
Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:11PM
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Extremist Buddhists in Rakhine state have raped at least one thousand Rohingya Muslim girls. Some three thousands corpses have been dumped into a canal in the area, and between 25,000 and 30,000 Muslims remain missing.”

Zainul Abideen, a Rohingya Muslim victim

A survivor of the recent communal and religious violence in Myanmar says mistreatment, mass slaughter, rape and torture of ethnic Rohingya Muslims is rife in the western sector of the Southeast Asian country.

In an exclusive interview with Bangla Radio of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) World Service on Wednesday, Zainul Abideen said Myanmarese authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in four places of the Rakhine state, including the capital Sittway and Thandwe, Kyaukphyu as well as Ramree towns, on June 10.

The government officials initially urged Muslims not to perform the mid-day prayers on Friday; however, they later tightened the ban and announced that Muslims were not allowed to celebrate any of their religious ceremonies in mosques, he said.

“Security forces arrested four imams soon after the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, and took them to an unknown place. Their fate remains unclear, and they are most likely subjected to excruciating torture,” Zainul Abideen pointed out.

The Rohingya Muslim further said that most of those detained by government troops must have been murdered.

“Extremist Buddhists in Rakhine state have raped at least one thousand Rohingya Muslim girls. Some three thousands corpses have been dumped into a canal in the area, and between 25,000 and 30,000 Muslims remain missing,” Zainul Abideen noted.

He highlighted that local officials have razed all homes to the ground in a Rakhine village, and even uprooted the trees.

“The Rakhine Buddhists placed the dead body of a woman near a Muslim village. They then accused Rohingya Muslims of the murder and attacked them, killing ten people on a bus. The fact is that they (Rakhine Buddhists) had killed the woman and put her corpse close to a Muslim village only to use it as an excuse to accomplish their plot,” Zainul Abideen commented.

He said the government of Myanmar has thrown its weight behind extremist Buddhists, and resorted to ethnic cleansing against Rohingyas.

Zainul Abideen argued that even though Rohingyas have been in Myanmar since the 7th century, the government does not recognize them as the country’s citizens.

He concluded that security forces have called on Rohingya Muslims to leave Rakhine state amid their inability to restore law and order in the area.

The government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas, who it claims are not natives, and classifies them as illegal migrants. This comes while the Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.

Myanmar’s President Thein Sein said on July 19 that the "only solution" to the plight of Rohingya Muslims is to send the country’s nearly one million Muslims -- which the UN says is one of the world's most persecuted minorities -- to refugee camps run by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

However, the UN refugee agency has snubbed the idea of setting up refugee camps to accommodate the Rohingyas.

"We will send them away if any third country would accept them," Sein added. "This is what we are thinking is the solution to the issue."

Over the past two years, waves of ethnic Muslims have attempted to flee by boats in the face of systematic oppression by the Myanmar government.

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