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Stop violence against Rohingya muslims in Myanmar: Muhammadiyah

25th July 2012 | 1.774 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The second-largest Muslim organization in Indonesia has called on Myanmar government to put an end to the violence against Rohingya Muslims in the country.

"The persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is a gross violation of human rights. If such actions continue, Myanmar`s efforts during the past years to become more democratic will be ruined," Muhammadiyah Secretary Abdul Mu`ti said here on Wednesday.

He also urged the Myanmar government to recognise Rohingya Muslims as citizens of the country. "The Myanmar government`s statement that the Rohingyas are not citizens but illegal immigrants has no legal base because they have been living in Myanmar for a very long time," Abdul said.

If the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar was not stopped, he added, it might "trigger a broader conflict not only within the country, but also in the entire region".

Rohingya Muslims have been facing discrimination for a long time. The United Nations has even classified them as one of the most persecuted ethnic communities in the world.

However, the Myanmar government considers Rohingya Muslims to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Many other communities within the country also see them as enemies.

A riot happened last month in Rakhine state, Myanmar, between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. Both groups claimed that they were attacked first and then they retaliated. About 80 casualties have been reported so far and thousands of people have lost their homes, while many Rohingya Muslims have been arrested.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in her first ever speech to the country`s fledgling parliament on Wednesday, called for laws to protect the rights of ethnic minorities.

"To become a truly democratic country with a spirit of equal rights and mutual respect, I urge all members of the parliament to discuss the enactment of the laws needed to ensure equal rights for all ethnicities," she said.(*)