Pope Francis fails to mention Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar speech

From the webmaster: This is a  huge disappointment to those concerned with the ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Muslim minority 

684x384_story-dd8c2711-7259-5f5c-98e2-f80f95743ab4_121300Pope Francis has given a speech in Myanmar without specifically mentioning its Muslim Rohingya community.

The south-east Asian country has been accused of ethnic cleansing with 620,000 Rohingya fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh since August.

Escapees told Save The Children there had been widespread rape, children burnt alive and dams being filled with bodies.

The pope said in his address on Tuesday (November 28): “The arduous process of peacebuilding and national reconciliation can only advance through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights.

“In the great work of national reconciliation and integration, Myanmar’s religious communities have a privileged role to play.

“Religious differences need not be a source of division and distrust, but rather a force for unity, forgiveness, tolerance and wise nation-building.

“The religions can play a significant role in repairing the emotional, spiritual and psychological wounds of those who have suffered in the years of conflict.”

His trip is so delicate that some papal advisors warned him against even saying the word “Rohingya”, lest he set off a diplomatic incident that could turn the country’s military and government against minority Christians.

Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as citizens nor as members of a distinct ethnic group with their own identity, and it rejects the term “Rohingya” and its use.




Immigrants from Myanmar hope for papal message of compassion

20171011T1159-12137-CNS-POPE-SCHEDULE-MYANMAR-BANGLADESH cropPHOENIX — Muslims and Catholics from Myanmar living in the United States would like Pope Francis to reiterate the message of “compassion for humanity” when the pope visits their country.

Sheraz Islam, a Rohingya refugee, said the pope is a “holy man and a God-fearing person” and he has “great compassion” for Myanmar’s Rohingya people because of their plight. Regardless of what ethnicity they are, what religion they belong to, or whether they are men or women, “they are a part of humanity,” said Sheraz, who is convinced that is the reason why the pope calls the Rohingya his “brothers and sisters.”

Francis is scheduled to visit Myanmar Nov. 27-30 and Bangladesh Nov. 30-Dec.2.

Sheraz was born in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state, home to the Rohingya Muslim people since the eighth century. However, Rohingya are not only denied citizenship, but also freedom of movement and education. Their jobs are also restricted. They have faced military crackdowns since the 1970s.

In the most recent attacks, Rohingya survivors recounted stories of sexual assaults, murder and arson of homes in villages in Rakhine state.

Sheraz resettled in the United States in 2012. He said the oppression against the Rohingya people by the Myanmar military was not as bad then.

His parents and relatives decided to flee to Bangladesh because of the recent military crackdown. During the four- to five-day journey from Myanmar to Bangladesh, “my father died along the way in early September. It was a difficult journey and he probably died of exhaustion,” Sheraz said.

He hopes that during Francis’ visit, the pope will give the message that Rohingya are a part of humanity, no matter their religion, and that they are suffering from persecution.

The oppression Sheraz referred to was a response by the Myanmar military and Rakhine militants toward Rohingya militants who attacked security checkpoints in late August.

The crackdown — called “ethnic cleansing” by the U.N.’s high commissioner for human rights — forced more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. The latest arrivals were added to the more than 300,000 Rohingya who had fled attacks in past years.


Christians, Muslims Unite to Protest Against Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis


As thousands of civilian Rohingya Muslims are fleeing what the United Nations has called “ethnic cleansing” in northern Myanmar, India’s Christians and Muslims and people of other faiths got together in the central Indian city of Lucknow on Friday to protest and call for an end to the ongoing “genocide.”

The protesters, who gathered after Friday prayers at the Aishbagh Eidgah mosque in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, used strong language on placards, including “United Nations should boycott the Myanmar government” and “Those putting Hindus and Muslims of Rohingya to torture are terrorists,” according to The Time of India.

The ethnic Rohingya Muslims have faced discrimination and statelessness in Buddhist-majority Myanmar for decades, and torture and killings in recent years. About 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh due to Myanmar’s military attacks on them in Rakhine state since since Aug. 25, when the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, allegedly a “separatist” group, launched an attack on police posts and a military base in Rakhine state.

Those fleeing are having to walk for more than a week to cross the border.



Christians stand up for Rohingyas censuring human rights abuses

Pakistani Christians stand up against atrocities being committed in Myanmar. Raising their voice against human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims, Christians staged a protest in the Capital. They urged the international community to act in order to thwart violence and save lives of Rohingyas.

Myanmar a Town Divided

As condemnation continues to pour in from international community, Pakistani Christians also staged a protest in front of National Press Club in Islamabad. Christians from all walks of life took part in this protest. They urged the international community to provide security to the Rohingya Muslims who are facing systematic genocide.

Also Read: Christian student’s lynching discussed in National Assembly of Pakistan

The protesters said that the killings of Rohingya Muslims can be termed as a genocide which needs to be checked. Addressing the gathering, Christian lawyer Advocate Sheheryar Shams Chairman of Pakistan’s Christian Citizen Forum said that Rohingya Muslims were declared foreigners on unfair and illegal terms.

He said that Rohingyas were illegally deprived of their nationality. Moreover, they were not being accepted by either Myanmar or Bangladesh. He said that out of 60 million total population of Myanmar, there are 25 percent religious minorities including 22 percent Muslims. The protesters were carrying placards while they chanted slogans government and military of Myanmar for carrying out inhumane violence against Rohingyas.