—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
NEW YORK, NY (Sept. 5, 2017) – The Islamic Circle of North America strongly condemns the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar by the Myanmar military and extremist Buddhist factions.
The recent wave of violence, as reported by several media and human rights agencies, has resulted in the death of over 400 people at the hands of Myanmar military and there are many eyewitness accounts of the dead being burned by the military. The UN refugee agency estimates that over 70,000 people have tried to enter Bangladesh. Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, an independent group that monitors the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, said, “The security forces have encircled villages and then [shot people] indiscriminately, but we also found that – compared perhaps to the violence that took place in October [and] November last year – there is more involvement of the local Buddhist population together with the military.”
Many human rights organizations consider Rohingyas as the most persecuted minority in the world. Rohingya Muslims are indigenous people living in their ancestral lands. They were citizens til 1982 when their citizenship was taken away. The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres said that he was deeply concerned at the ongoing violence in Rakhanie. The chief of the UN Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said, “This turn of events is deplorable”, and called the situation in Rakhanie as, “..decades of persistent and systematic human rights violations”.
“This is ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar and unfortunately the world has not done anything for the protection of this minority from the massacre committed by the Myanmar government,” said Javaid Siddiqi, President of ICNA. He also said, “. It is very unfortunate to see that these atrocities are happening under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Chancellor of Myanmar, recipient of the Nobel Peace prize.”
The UN published a report in February 2017 reporting that it was very likely that Myanmar government troops committed crimes against humanity.
Rohingya villages spanning over 100 Kilometers are burning, with over 700 buildings burned down as documented by satellite images obtained by Human Rights Watch. The Myanmar military must stop these genocidal attacks. For weeks, the Myanmar military has been building its troops in Rohingya areas. The UN, Amnesty International, and others were asking them to deescalate the situation. About 100,000 Rohingya villagers are trying to flee to Bangladesh, but Bangladesh has closed its border. Most of the fleeing refugees are women and children. Suu Kyi and the government of Myanmar must take a moral position and reign in their security forces. Security and stability must be restored for the minority community.
ICNA is urging people of conscience everywhere to take action:
• Tweet & call the Secretary of State. Phone number: 202-647-9572 • Twitter: @StateDept
• Tweet & call Scot Marciel, US Ambassador to Myanmar Phone: (95)- (9)-512-4330, Twitter: @ USEmbassyBurma,
• Call the Burmese Foreign Minister to stop attacks on Rohingyas.
• Call on the US ambassador in Myanmar to visit the Rakhine state
• Call on Bangladesh to welcome more refugees
Amnesty International 2017 Report on Myanmar
Open Letter from Nobel Laureates to Suu Kyi
The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the application of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.
Islamic Circle of North America
Office: (718) 658-1199