Arakan; A region left to be massacred

The Myanmar government has accelerated its ethnic cleansing of its Muslim citizens who comprise a small minority in the Arakan region (around 1.1 million). What is happening in Myanmar nowadays is actually a result of oppression, cruelty and discrimination that Muslims have been subjected to for decades. Let me list some examples so that the issue can be understood better;

  • According to the Myanmar government, the Arakani Muslims were brought to their country from Bangladesh by the British empire before their independence. The Myanmar government denies them citizenship and regards them as illegal immigrants.
  • Neighbouring Bangladesh is also hostile towards Arakani Muslims, rejecting the argument that they’re originally Bangali. Its borders are closed to fleeing refugess.
  • Azan (call for prayer) has been forbidden for the Muslim minority population since 1983.
  • Muslims are obliged to supply food, construction materials, poultry, etc. to the judiciary and army staff.
  • Muslims are not allowed to make the pilgrimage except for those having close relations with the central government.
  • Muslim scholars, sufis and other religious people are placed under psychological pressure; they’re humiliated and are forced to work in mines.
  • There is no freedom of speech for Muslims. They can’t own nor publish newspapers, magazines, etc.
  • Islamic attire and practices like growing beards are forbidden.
  • Mosques are either demolished or used as museums,schools,etc.
  • Lands belonging to Muslims are confiscated by the government.
  • Muslim workers are not allowed to work in industrial facilities.
  • Some Muslim cemeteries have been converted into pig barns.
  • Muslim children are forced to bow to the Myanmar flag.
  • While Buddhist settlements are protected, those of Muslims are left insecure.
  • Muslim women are raped and Muslim girls of age are obliged to work for the army for a duration of 6 months.
  • Muslim women are given injections to make them infertile so that they can no longer give birth.
  • Muslims are continually coerced to be assimilated and are forcibly converted to Buddhism.

More examples can be given but those listed above provide an idea about the horrible circumstances that Arakani Muslims live under. What is clear is that this is a crime against humanity yet the world is just watching. Perhaps this is because the victims are Muslims. I am sure that if a Christian was butchered in front of the cameras, the developed Western countries would wipe Myanmar off the map.

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About the author

Betül Baykal Dinç

Betül Baykal Dinç

Mrs. Betül Baykal DİNÇ is a Sociologist and Journalist

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