23 July 2012
They have faced decades of discrimination but the Muslim minority's plight has garnered little international attention.
They have been persecuted and discriminated against for decades but few can even pronounce their name let alone know of their plight.
"There is a lot of latent prejudice, racism, whatever you want to call it, inside Burma towards this community and it's playing out right now. It's not over by any means. It's a tinderbox and it could blow up at any time." - Brad Adams from Human Rights Watch
Buddhist attacks on the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, have picked up over the last few weeks following the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman in May.
Human rights groups say the security forces are also involved in the targeted attacks, which started in June.
Thousands of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh - but thousands more have been refused entry. For those who do make it across the border their troubles are far from over.
An estimated 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar's Rakhine state with another 200,000 in Bangladesh. They are not recognised by either country.
Myanmar has long faced tensions with many of its ethnic minorities, and the new government has agreed to a ceasefire with many of the groups.
But last week, Thein Sein, the president of Myanmar, told the UN that the solution was either to send millions of Rohingya to another country or to have the UN look after them.
"It is true that we are not Burmese. We are an independent state – Arakan. And Rohingya is one of the races of Arakan not Burma .... They [the Burmese] are the ones who intervened, they are the ones who are foreigners [in] this land, they are the ones who invaded." - Mohamed Nour, a Rohingya political activist
"We will take responsibility for ethnic nationalities but it is not at all possible to recognise the illegal border-crossing Rohingya who are not of our ethnicity," he said.
He added that the conflict poses a threat to the democratic and economic reforms his government has launched, warning that: "Stability and peace, the democratisation process and the development of the country, which are in transition right now, could be severely affected and much would be lost."
Inside Story asks: Is the plight of the Rohingya being deliberately ignored? Why has the world turned a blind eye to them?
Joining presenter Sami Zeidan to discuss this are guests: Justin Wintle, a historian and author of Perfect Hostage, a biography of Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi; Brad Adams, the executive director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division; Mohamed Nour, a Rohingya political activist; and Dina Madani of the Muslim Minorities and Communities Department at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
"When the communal violence backlash hit the Rohingya in Rakhine state, Aung San Suu Kyi came out with expressions of sympathy for them, but so far she has said nothing about granting them the right of citizenship, and somebody's got to do that in Myanmar." - Justin Wintle, a historian and author
WHO ARE THE ROHINGYA?
Their history dates back to the early seventh century when Arab Muslim traders settled in the area. The UN estimates that there are about 800,000 Rohingya in Myanmar, including people of Bengali heritage who settled centuries ago as well as those who entered the country in recent decades. But the law in Myanmar considers as citizens only those who settled in the country before independence in 1948. Post-independence immigrants are officially considered illegal. Adding to the confusion over who is an illegal immigrant is the large exodus of Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh in the 1980s and 1990s because of persecution.
"[We] have urged all member states as part of the Islamic ummah to reach out to our Muslim brothers who are persecuted and to use the international fora to collectively put pressure on Myanmar to stop the violence."
Dina Madani from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
Brothers and Sisters, The Muslims of Burma have been facing such oppression and savagery for the past two months never previously witnessed in the history of mankind. Mercilessly burning children, women and men like toasting sheep on fire is not only against every known law but something no man with any conscious can ever accept but unfortunately the Muslims of Burma are targets of such a gross crime. Not only that, but they are also being expelled from their lands, forcefully ejected from their homes, their wealth is being usurped! and their honor looted while the whole world turns a blind eye to their plight. Pls remember them in ur duas this Ramadan and onwards. Jazakumullahu Khairan.
Allahumma innahum maghloobuna fantasir lahum.
O Allah! They are helpless, so help them.
اللهُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ فِي حَاجَةٍ عَاجِلُةٍ إِلَى رَحَمَاتِكَ، اللهُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ فِي حَاجَةٍ
عَاجِلُةٍ إِلَى رَحَمَاتِكَ، اللهُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ فِي حَاجَةٍ عَاجِلُةٍ إِلَى رَحَمَاتِكَ،
فَأَنْزِلْ عَلَيْهِمْ رَحمَاتِكَ يَا رحْمَاَنُ يَا رَحِيمُ، فَأَنْزِلْ عَلَيْهِمْ رَحمَاتِكَ
يَا رحْمَاَنُ يَا رَحِيمُ.
Allahumma innahum fi hajatin 'ajilatin ila rahamatik, Allahumma innahum fi haajatin 'ajilatin ila rahamatik, Allahumma innahum fi haajatin 'ajilatin ila rahamatik, fa anzil alayhim rahamatika Ya Rahmanu, Ya Raheem, fa anzil alayhim rahamatika Ya Rahmaanu Ya Raheem.
O Allah! They are in urgent need of Your Mercies. O Allah! They are in urgent need of Your Mercies. O Allah! they are in urgent need of Your Mercies, so send upon them Your Mercies. O Most Merciful, O Most Kind, so send upon them Your Mercies O Most Mericufl, O Most Kind.
اللهُمَّ مَنْ آذَاهُمْ فَآذِهِ وَمَنْ عَادَاهُمْ فَعَادِهِ،
Allahumma man adhahum fa adhihi, wa man adahum fa adihi.
O Allah! Whoever has harmed them, then harm him, and whoever has shown enmity to them, then show enmity to them.
اللّـهُمَّ آميـــــــــــــــــــن اللّـهُمَّ آميـــــــــــــــــــن اللّـهُمَّ آميـــــــــــــــــــن
Allahumma Ameen. Allahumma Ameen. Allahumma Ameen.
O Allah! Please accept. O Allah! Please accept. O Allah! Please accept.