Showing posts with label Rohingyas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rohingyas. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Crisis of Muslim Identity


Who is a Muslim ?

Allah says in the Holy Quran: “I have created jinns and men only so that they worship Me.” (Az-Zariyat, 51: 57)

And to be more explicit, Allah (swt) says: “O believers! Fear Allah as He should be feared. And die only in complete submission (to Him).” (Al-Imran, 3:103)

Allah (swt) wants to make it clear that he who dies without knowing his creator dies spiritually blind, and the Holy Quran also tells us: “He who is blind on earth will also be blind in the hereafter.” (Bani Isra’il, 17: 73)

This verse is a serious challenge for all who call themselves Muslims. But what is the situation today? The majority of Muslims are like passengers aboard a boat that took on water and has lost its oars and is tossed about by big waves. Are we then in perdition? Without a doubt [we, Muslims will be lost if the situation continues like this], and moreover, the Holy Quran says: “By time! Indeed, man is in lost, except those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.” (Surah Al-Asr, Chapter 103: 1-4)


The Holy Prophet (sa) once said to Abu Darda (ra), “O Abu Darda, consider yourself to be dead at all times. No one knows when he will die nor does he have any sign of his death. So act like you’re going to die in a moment and be ready to meet it (death).” [In other words, be ready to meet your Lord after death].

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Rohingya Exodus and India's Policy

A Panel Discussion 

Peace and Justice Forum, a student-run Discussion Forum at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, recently organized a Panel Discussion on the ongoing refugee crisis in India's neighbourhood. With hundreds of thousands of people belonging to a minority Muslim faith in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar being suddenly forced to abandon their homes, flee from the land and seek refuge abroad, especially in Bangladesh; the Discussion took place against the backdrop of the evolving national debate in India on the crisis in the region. 


Mr. Siraj, a refugee from the Rohingya community, was one of the Panelists, sharing a searing testimonial of what it means to be a refugee, being forced to abandon one's people and livelihood behind to escape injustice and oppression in the land. He spoke of a time when his grandfather and others of that generation and before could work and live as common citizens in Myanmar with all legal rights and civil protection available to all other citizens in the country, pointing to the enormous change in the fortunes of Rohingyas from being 'citizens' to 'stateless persons' in Myanmar. Two journalists on the Panel- Mr. Prashant Tandon and Mr. Akhlaque Usmani- shared their perspectives on the problem, reflecting on the Rohingya community's travails in recent decades as well as on the debate currently on the issue in the Indian media and government circles. 


As a student of international law and justice, this writer had the pleasure and privilege of chairing the programme that included a lively opinion-sharing,  question-answer session with the audience. In that public conversation, one could argue that international law considerations are potentially important on three distinct sets of issues and concerns in the context of the present problem from the standpoint of (i) ensuring accountability of the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity in Myanmar; (ii) providing immediate humanitarian relief and  assistance to the victims of the forced displacement; and (iii) the duty/responsibility/obligation of States like India to receive refugees even in the absence of a national refugee law.  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Rohingya Crisis: Khalifatullah's Message

With the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar (Burma) under conditions of intense distress occasioned by the brutal military crackdown in the country, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in South and South-East Asia. The UN agencies estimate that close to half a million Rohingyas have become refugees in the last three weeks alone, with the pass over of the people fleeing violence in Myanmar to Bangladesh and India, and also seeking to reach to Malaysia and Indonesia through the sea. The crisis is a direct consequence of the disproportionate and wanton use of force by the military in the so-called "counter-terror operations" in the Rakhine State where the majority of the Muslim people live and face acute discrimination over the decades. 

In a special discourse/Message issued against the backdrop of the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya Muslims, the Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius reminds us of certain important considerations at the heart of the humanitarian problem engulfing the international community. Anyone who is interested in world peace and believe in our common humanity and shared future in a multi-cultural world (of different nations and diverse religions in co-existence) can only applaud the spirit of the Message of Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba). 

As Hadhrat Saheb (atba) notes, the Rohingya humanitarian crisis is happening against a backdrop of "Islamophobia" (fear of Islam and the Muslims) in the contemporary world. The international backlash against the horrendous  9/11 terror attacks in the United States- executed by people avenging the US onslaught on the Muslim world- has created political conditions in different nations that de-legitimize the liberation struggles of oppressed peoples. Hence, post 9/11,  robust political struggles are under intense pressure from the politics of framing and media- creation of negative perception: most political struggles taking the garb of "Jihad" in the cultural language of the Muslims, have been negatively branded and media-framed as "terror" operations. Mindless violence targeting innocent civilians also contribute to the stereotyping of Muslim resistance groups as cults of violence and mayhem, providing the perfect excuse for the governments to suppress legitimate political struggles in the pretext of 'national security' and "war on terror".

The failure of religious and political leaderships in guiding the people to the right course of action is apparent in all the 'fires' that are simmering around the world. Just as the Muslim Ulema have abandoned the Qur'an and distorted the Islamic teachings in our times; the Buddhist clergy and political leaders in Myanmar are also guilty of destroying the fair legacy of the Buddha and his teachings on peace and human relations. There is an urgent need for the priests and chiefs (of the different religions and their nations) to return to the foundational values of their respective cultures: protection of the innocent and helping the indigent is a religious and political duty- an obligation of our common humanity. 

Directly addressing the Myanmar leadership responsible for the 'ethnic cleansing'/genocidal crimes against the Rohingya people, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) delivers a note of caution and warning: Governments and leaders who preside over the egregious violation of fundamental human rights and oppress the poor in God's earth shall be condemned and pursued by the long arm of Divine Justice. 

Reproduced below is the Text of the Speech of September 12, 2017: 

My dear brothers, sisters & children,
May the peace and blessings of the Almighty (Allah) be upon you.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Muslims of Burma: Facing Buddhist Terror

In a number of Buddhist- majority states in Asia- Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, etc. -the Muslim minorities are under siege. Both the State agencies and the Buddhist chauvinists are driving the anti-Muslim hate campaigns and consequent violence against the hapless minorities. The unspeakable horrors committed by the Buddhist marauders against the Rohingya Muslims of Burma have caught international attention in the recent months.

In the latest issue of the international newsweekly Time Magazine of the United States, one may read a graphic portrait of Buddhist Terrorism in Burma and Thailand, where a Muslim-majority province in the deep south of the country is under siege of the Buddhist army of Thailand. Sri Lanka on Tuesday (July 02, 2013) banned the sale of this issue of Time magazine because of the newsweekly’s feature article on Buddhist terrorism. We publish below the Full text of the cover story “The Face of Buddhist Terror” in July 01, 2013 TIME magazine.

The Face of Buddhist Terror
It’s a faith famous for its pacifism and tolerance. But in several of Asia’s Buddhist-majority nations, monks are inciting bigotry and violence — mostly against Muslims
By Hannah Beech / Meikhtila, Burma, And Pattani, Thailand 

His face as still and serene as a statue’s, the Buddhist monk who has taken the title “the Burmese bin Laden” begins his sermon. Hundreds of worshippers sit before him, palms pressed together, sweat trickling down their sticky backs. On cue, the crowd chants with the man in burgundy robes, the mantras drifting through the sultry air of a temple in Mandalay, Burma’s second biggest city after Rangoon. It seems a peaceful scene, but Wirathu’s message crackles with hate. “Now is not the time for calm,” the monk intones, as he spends 90 minutes describing the many ways in which he detests the minority Muslims in this Buddhist-majority land. “Now is the time to rise up, to make your blood boil.”