The Rohingnya People
The Rohingya are a Muslim people who live in the state of Rakhine (Arakan) in western Myanmar (Burma). As of 2012, 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar. According to the UN, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Many Rohingya have fled to ghettos and refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, and to areas along the Thai-Myanmar border.
The Rohingya people practice Sunni Islam with elements of Sufi worship. Because the government restricts educational opportunities for them, many pursue fundamental Islamic studies as their only educational option. Mosques and religious schools are present in most villages. Traditionally, men pray in congregations and women pray at home.
The Rohingya people have been described as “among the world’s least wanted and “one of the worlds’s most persecuted minorities. They have been stripped of their citizenship since a 1982 citizenship law. They are not allowed to travel without official permission, are banned from owning land and are required to sign a commitment to have not more than two children.
Muslim settlements have existed in Arakan since the arrival of Arabs there in the 8th century CE. The direct descendants of Arab settlers are believed to live in central Arakan near Mrauk-U and Kyauktaw townships, rather than the Mayu frontier area (near Chittagong Division, Bangladesh), where the majority of Rohingya are populated.
2012 Rakhine State riots
The 2012 Rakhine State riots are a series of ongoing conflicts between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. The riots came after weeks of sectarian disputes and have been condemned by most people on both sides of the conflict. The immediate cause of the riots is unclear, with many commentators citing the killing of ten Burmese Muslims by ethnic Rakhine after the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman as the main cause. Whole villages have been “decimated”. Over three hundred houses and a number of public buildings have been razed. According to Tun Khin, the President of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK), as of 28 June, 650 Rohingyas have been killed, 1,200 are missing, and more than 80,000 have been displaced According to the Myanmar authorities, the violence, between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, left 78 people dead, 87 injured, and thousands of homes destroyed. It also displaced more than 52,000 people.
The government has responded by imposing curfews and by deploying troops in the regions. On June 10, state of emergency was declared in Rakhine, allowing military to participate in administration of the region. The Burmese army and police have been accused of targeting Rohingya Muslims through mass arrests and arbitrary violence. A number of any humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community. In July 2012, the Myanmar Government did not include the Rohingya minority group–-classified as stateless Bengali Muslims from Bangladesh since 1982—on the government’s list of more than 130 ethnic races and therefore the government says that they have no claim to Myanmar citizenship. (Taken from many sources)
~EDISI 11/ NOVEMBER 2012~