Home > Politics > Burma (Myanmar): History of Persecution of Muslims and Intl. Stance

Burma (Myanmar): History of Persecution of Muslims and Intl. Stance

Bismillahi Al-Rahman Al-Raheem
Question & Answer:  (Source: Hut website)

Myanmar (Burma)

Kindly give us an overview about the political reality of   Myanmar (Burma) and the reasons for the terrible persecution of Muslims   there, as well as the regional and international stances towards it, with   thanks and appreciation.
Answer: Below is an overview of what is necessary regarding this issue.

1.  The population of this country is more than 50 million,   including around 20% Muslims who are concentrated in the capital city of   Rangoon, the city of Mandalay and the province of Arakan. 70% of the   inhabitants are Buddhists and the rest embrace Hinduism, Christianity and   other religions. Burma, however, recognizes only a tiny 4% of the Muslims and   considers the remaining Muslims as foreigners. Consequently, it works to   expel them and neither grants them the country’s nationality nor does it   recognizes any rights for them. Hence, they are exposed to attacks by   Buddhists, with the support of the government machinery to the extent that   they are being killed and forced to emigrate.

2.  The historians mention that Islam entered the country   in 788 AD at the time of the Khaleefah Harun al-Rashid, when the Islamic   Khilafah was the leading state in the world for many centuries. Islam began   to spread throughout Burma, when the Burmese saw its greatness, truth and   justice. The Muslims ruled Arakan province for more than three and half   centuries, between 1430 AD and 1784 AD. In this year, the kuffar got united   against the province. Subsequently, the Buddhists occupied it and wreaked   havoc in the province, killing the Muslims and shedding their blood,   particularly their scholars and da’I, besides looting their resources and   destroying the Islamic architectures such as the Masajid and schools, due to   their hatred and fanaticism from their Buddhist ignorance.

3.  There existed in the region colonialist division and   competition between Britain and France. The British occupied and colonized   Burma in 1824 AD, whilst the French occupied and colonialized the neighboring   Laos. In 1937, Britain separated its colony Burma from “the Government of   British India.” So, it became a separate British colony to be administered by   this government under the name “the Government of British Burma” and the   Arakan province was made subservient to this government,t under the control   of Buddhists.

4.  In 1940 during the World War II, a movement known as   the, “thirty militia comrades – the Burma Independence Army,” was established   in this colony. This movement was formed by thirty people of Burmese   nationality, who received their training in Japan and vowed to expel the   British occupiers. They entered their country with Japanese occupiers in   1941. At that time, Burma was one of the lines of confrontation between   Britain and Japan, until Japan was defeated at the end of World War II in   1945. Then, Britain once again managed to extend its colonialization of   Burma. In 1942 AD, the Muslims were exposed to massacres at the hands of the   Buddhists, which claimed the lives of around one thousand Muslims and led to   the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of them out of the country. In 1948   AD, Britain granted Burma formal independence and one year later, i.e. in   1947 AD Britain held a conference preparing for independence and called on   all the groups and ethnicities in the country to the conference, barring the   Muslims. At the conference, Britain laid down a clause stipulating that   rights shall be given to every group and ethnicity within ten years of the   independence. However, the Burmese government did not implement that and   continued persecuting Muslims.

5.  In 1962 AD, a military coup occurred in Burma under the   leadership of the military general, Ne Win. He established a military council   in the name of the State Council for Restoring Law and Order and ruled the   country directly until 1988, with the Council remaining until 1997 under the   control of Ne Win In 1990, elections were held and the opposition National   Democratic Party got a majority of the seats. However, the military   government did not recognize the transfer of power until a new constitution   was drafted and continuous meetings have been held since 1993 to draft a new   constitution. In the wake of this coup, the Muslims became vulnerable to the   persecution from the fanatical Buddhist military rule, which forced more than   three thousand Muslims to migrate to Bangladesh. More than half a million   Muslims were expelled from the country in 1978, with more than forty thousand   of them, including elderly, women and children, dying due to the harsh   conditions imposed on them, according to statistics of the refugee aid agency   of the United Nations. In 1988, more than 150 thousand Muslims migrated   abroad and more than half a million Muslims became subjected to migration and   expulsion from the country, in retaliation for their support to the   opposition party, which won a majority of the seats in the Council in 1990 AD.   The government of the country turned to looking at the Muslims as strangers   and not as the inhabitants of the country, depriving their children of   education and of marriage before thirty years of age. It even imposed on them   a bar on any marriage for a period of three years, so as to reduce their   number and the worst practices were implemented against them by the   government. in 1989 AD, the government changed its name from Burma in   English, to “Myanmar.” There are countries which recognized the second name,   whilst some other counties recognize and use only the first name.

6. The military continued to rule Burma, sometimes directly   supported by the English and at some other times through the British agent   India. The system of governance in Burma/Myanmar has ostensibly been made   closer to the communist one, to win support of Russia and China, thereby   drawing a cover over its reality, just as many regimes in the Arab world draw   covers over their loyalty to America or Britain, thereby trying to establish   good relations with the communists, particularly Russia and China. America   had previously protested India’s role in supporting the military regime and   its close cooperation with it. France’s news agency, whilst reporting the   Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s, visit to Burma on 28/5/2012 and   concluding a series of the agreements, stated that “India established good   relations with Military Council during the nineties of the last century,   particularly in the area of security and energy. In 2010, Washington condemned   India’s silence on the human rights’ violations in Burma. Even Suu Kyi, who   completed part of her studies in India, where her mother is ambassador,   expressed her grief at India’s support for the military rule in her country”.   In November 2007, the news agencies quoted Washington’s appeal to both India   and China to stop providing the military regime in Burma with weapons. The   military regime in Burma granted China military facilities in its ports in   the Bay of Bengal and in the Indian Ocean, with the aim of gaining China’s   support in view of the US attack on it and also it is in China’s interest to   establish a port in Burma, towards the Indian Ocean. India shares with China   a land border of two thousand kilometers, to its north-east, and India also shares   a land border with Burma, to the latter’s north-western side, which used to   follow the government of British India. And after Britain’s formal departure   from Burma, India became its guardian and so Burma stood under India’s   protection and support.

7.  America raised public opinion against the military rule   and focused the attention of public opinion on the leader of the opposition,   Aung San Suu Kyi, until she was released in November 2010. Then it increased   pressure on the military council and raised public opinion against it so that   the Council dissolves itself and hands the reign over to the civilians. But   Britain along with the government of India treated the matter shrewdly. They   prompted the Council to call for general elections, applying the methods that   they are well-versed in… So the elections were held in 2010 in which the   Solidarity and Development Party won about 80% of the seats, which is the   party of Military. The Military Council dissolved itself and handed the   reigns over to the civilians. These civilians are retired generals, led by   the retired General Thein Sein who took the reigns in March 2011.

8.  America is still putting pressure on the regime in   Burma, in order to remove the military regime of retired generals and bring   the opposition leader, demonstrating its full support to Aung San Suu Kyi and   her National Democratic Party. So, they are publishing future analysis with   the possibility of opposing leader winning the general election of 2015 AD.   The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, paid a visit to Burma on 1   December 2011 and announced that her country would appoint an ambassador for   the first time in twenty years and that it would ease sanctions in line with   progress of democratic reforms in Burma. On 01/04/2011 partial elections were   held over 45 seats and the National Democratic Party, headed by opposition   leader Aung San Suu Kyi, won 43 seats. In spite of this, U.S Secretary of   State clarified saying, “it is still early to judge how much progress has   been made in the recent months in Burma and whether it shall continue to,”   (as quoted by the French news agency, AFP). In this way the US Secretary of   State wanted to exert pressure on the Burmese regime, making the credibility   of progress in the democratic process doubtful, because the military in their   civil form are the ones who are ruling the country and imposing their control   on the political scene of Burma. Under the constitution drafted by the   military in the nineties of the last century, a quarter of the seats in   Parliament can be appointed by the military, without elections.

Thus, America is not satisfied with the political situation in   Burma, although they have made progress by getting the opposition leader   released, whose party is undertaking political activity. However they are   continuously applying pressure on the regime and apparently questioning its   credibility, seeking to apply more pressure so that they can dislodge the   military, which is loyal to the British government, from power.

9.  On the other hand, Britain’s position was supportive as   its Foreign Minister, William Hague, positively commented on what is   happening in Burma and said, “The UK, which is regarded as the largest   provider of bilateral aid to the people in Burma, stands ready to support the   political process in Burma” (Associated Press on 3/4/2012). Its Prime   Minister, David Cameron, after the elections, visited Burma and is considered   the first Western head to visit Burma, since the coup of 1962 AD. He praised   the Burmese regime saying, “Now there is a government which asserts that it   is determined to carry out reformations and has taken certain measures in   this regard and I think this is a good time to come here and encourage these   measures,” (according to Associated France Press). He met with Burmese president,   Thein Sein, who said, “we are delighted at your support on the efforts we are   making to promote the democracy and human rights in Burma.” And so, Britain   is satisfied with the political situation in Myanmar, being supported by it.

10.  On 3/6/2012, a group of Buddhists attacked a bus   carrying Muslim and killed nine of them. In the wake of this mishap, events   such as killing and burning of houses and expulsion broke out between   Buddhists and Muslims, until it covered several populated areas of Muslims   and tens of thousands of them started to migrate from their homes. The   government of Bangladesh refused to assist those fleeing to its land, rather   it sent them back and closed the borders for them. In the same season last   year, Muslims got exposed to similar attacks and were forced to flee the   country. For decades, every year they are faced with such incidents of   killing, displacement and expulsion from their homes, as well as demolition   of their houses at the hands of spiteful Buddhists by the support of Burmese   regime. The West, led by America, applauds the new regime for releasing the   leader of opposition and for democratization of the country, without paying   any attention to the sufferings faced by the Muslims. The US Embassy in Burma   issued a statement mentioning that the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy,   Michael Thurston, had met with local Muslim organizations in Yangon and with   the National Development Party in Arakan separately. Thurston said, “The most   important thing now is that all parties should remain calm and that there is   a need for more dialogue which can occur only when there is calm. He further   said, “The Embassy encourages the Government of Myanmar to investigate the   incidents in such a way that it respects the legal process and the rule of   law.” (Associated Press of America on 14/6/2012 AD), i.e. America advises the   people who are exposed to killing and expulsion that you have to remain calm   and you must adhere to dialogue and respect the legal procedures. This is   because those who are being killed and made homeless are Muslims. But when   the Buddhist monks marched in the 20/9/2007 AD and were repressed by the   military regime in Burma, America stood up, raised concern and imposed harsh   sanctions on Burma and then other western countries followed suit. This shows   that America is not bothered by the suffering of the Muslims, nor does it pay   any heed to it. Moreover, it is only interested in realizing its interests   and extending its influence and in general this is the position of the whole West,   which is hostile to Islam and Muslims.

11.  In summary; the regime in Burma, which in the past was   directly controlled by the generals in military uniform, and is now being   controlled by the retired generals in civilian dress, is still loyal to the British,   who have supported the regime secretly and openly, directly and indirectly,   through their agents in India. Also the British have supported the Buddhists   in the killing and torturing of Muslims, not only in recent times, but ever   since the Islamic rule came to an end in that country.

In their method of political deceitfulness, the British have   brought the military regime in Burma closer to the communists from Russia and   China, in order to gain their support in case the US launches an attack   against this regime.

With regards to the US, it supports the National Democratic   Party led by Aung San Suu Kyi and made her win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.   Her father Aung Sang was opposed to the British and was killed in 1947 AD,   with the opposition leader accused of killing him. Her father was considered   a champion of the independence.

In spite of the political tussle between America and Britain in   Burma, they agree to support the Buddhists in torturing the Muslims, without   the West being moved by any alleged humane feelings, except in some hollow   public statements. However, they protest if the monks are faced with the   repression of their protest or get exposed to prison by any rival Buddhist.

As for China, it supports the regime to achieve the economic and   strategic interests therein without gaining any political influence in the   country.

And as for the rulers in the Muslim countries, they are   subservient to America and the West in totality. So they are completely   inactive, even the neighboring Bangladesh does not support its Muslim   brothers, who are exposed to severe persecution and ethnic cleansing for over   hundreds of years. In addition, not only do they not help them but they also   clamp down on those who take refuge in Bangladesh and close the borders for them.   These rulers instead of responding to the command of Allah,

{ وَإِنِ اسْتَنْصَرُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ فَعَلَيْكُمُ   النَّصْرُ }

“and if they seek your help in religion, it is your duty to help   them” [Surah Al-Anfaal 8: 72]

respond to America and other Western countries and send troops   to other conflict zones, bearing marks of the forces of United Nations on   their heads and shoulders!


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