Why Muslim persecution in Myanmar went unnoticed?
‘Media Didn’t Highlight The Situation Effectively’
Srinagar, Aug 12: At a time when killing of Muslims in Myanmar, formerly Burma even awakened the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) prompting it to go for a fact finding mission to this small south Asian country, why did the issue by and large went unnoticed in Kashmir, a Muslim dominated region? This question has left many curious that too when the persecution is being widely debated on the internet with over 650 million and growing web pages narrating the spine shivering tales.
While some opine that media didn’t duly highlight the issue, others say Kashmir is “too small place to raise voice when it couldn’t attract the attention of world bodies towards its own conflict”, believed to have claimed around one lakh odd lives in the past over two decades.
GROWING WEB DEBATE
On social networking websites, blogs and other online stuff, the content on killing of Myanmar Muslims is growing like the unabated atrocities on this minority community in the Buddhist majority country.
A simple Google search on “Muslim killings in Burma”, gives instant result of over 65,000,000 and growing web pages with popular online encyclopaedia Wikipedia having dedicated an exclusive page titled “Persecution of Muslims in Burma.”
THE CIVIL SOCIETY CONFESSION
Prominent scholar and civil society activist Prof Hameeda Nayeem candidly admits that the issue remained a low key affair in Kashmir, a Muslim dominated region.
“Why raise voice for Burmese Muslims when nobody listens to us. But what all is happening there is at the behest of America,” Prof Nayeem who also heads the Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) told Greater Kashmir.
She however said that “Government of India with over 20 crore Muslim population should strongly react to the killings.”
MIRWAIZ PLEADS MEDIA FACTOR
Valley’s head priest and senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on the other hand regrets that the “ethnic cleansing” went unnoticed in Kashmir when Muslims were being killed in Myanmar, particularly in the past two odd months. “It’s very sad that it got overlooked and reactions came late,” Mirwaiz said.
The head priest minced no words to admit that even he didn’t speak on the issue much during his Friday sermons at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar where thousands listen to him every week.
“Last week I spoke about the issue but it was a passing reference. An appeal to the OIC to look into the matter,” he said. He however pointed out that the New Delhi based, and the international media didn’t highlight the issue as required. “The main reason was that media didn’t highlight the issue, the way it needed to be,” he said.
THE KASHMIRIS OUTSIDE
But for Kashmiris settled outside, Myanmar killings remained an issue worth condemnation at-least online. Mumbai based Kashmiri Supermodel Muzamil Ibrahim didn’t miss to post protests on his Facebook wall even as he asked other fellow Kashmiris to register their concern.
Talking to Greater Kashmir on phone from the port City, Ibrahim said he couldn’t hold his cool when he saw online videos of how “brutally our brethren was killed in Burma.”
People like him settled outside wondered why Kashmir didn’t resent the massacre, on since end of May this year.
Since June 2012, hundreds of Muslims are believed to have been killed in sectarian violence in the state though there are no accurate figures of the killings.
Credible reports available online suggest that “It began on 3rd June 2012 when 11 Muslims were killed by the Burmese Army and the Buddhist mobs after bringing them down from a bus.”
“A vehement protest was carried out in the Muslim majority province of Arakan, but the protesters fell victims to the tyranny of the mobs and the army. More than 50 people were reported killed and millions of homes destroyed in fires as Muslim-ethnic Rohingya and Buddhist-ethnic Arakanese clashed in western Burma,” adds a report.
In Muslim stronghold, the Arab world, the Myanmar issue has emerged as a big debate with intellectuals critically evaluating the issue. “A genocidal massacre is taking place in Myanmar these days, in the heart of Asia,” wrote columnist Hussein Shabakshi in edition of the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.
Shabakshi added: “World powers were quick to embrace Myanmar as soon as the reclusive, resource-rich country announced structural reforms earlier this year. Now, however, it appears that those world powers are too slow and too shy in condemning the Myanmar government for conducting unlawful killings of dozens of Muslims since Jun.”
Media reports suggest that persecution of the Muslim minority in the country, poorly covered by the media as it is, has a history.
For instance, reports suggest that about 25,000 Muslims were killed by extremist Buddhists in 1962. In 2009, about 1,500 members of the country’s Muslim minority were displaced and fled to Thailand.
Myanmar has a Buddhist majority. As the Wikipdeia, the Muslim minority in Myanmar mostly consists of the Rohingya people and the descendants of Muslim immigrants from India (including what is now Bangladesh) and China (the ancestors of Chinese Muslims in Myanmar came from the Yunnan province), as well as descendants of earlier Arab and Persian settlers. Indian Muslims migrated to Burma during British rule to fill jobs in the expanding economy, especially in clerical work and business. After independence, many Muslims retained their previous positions and achieved prominence in business and politics.
But the alleged carnage of Muslims in Burma looks as old as the written history of the place. “The first Muslim documented in Burmese history (recorded in Hmannan Yazawin or Glass Palace Chronicle) was
Byat Wi during the reign of Mon, a Thaton King, circa 1050 AD. He was killed because he was a Muslim and because the king was concerned about his strength,” the Wikipedia states.
Custodian of the Two Holy Masjids, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has called an emergency Islamic summit in Makkah on August 14-15 to focus on Islamic unity and solidarity and address major issues facing the Islamic world today. “Strengthening the unity and solidarity of the Islamic Ummah is the summit’s main agenda,” the Saudi official pointed out. The OIC is sending a fact finding team to Myanmar.
Only Muslim leader who visited the area is the Turkish Prime Minister and his family.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 12 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 12 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 13 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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