It was the founding fathers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who were so sympathetic and humane as to give asylum to hundreds of thousands of members of the persecuted Burmese community. Many of the descendants of these refugees are still living in the Western Region of the Kingdom in the area between Makkah and Jeddah.
They are the Rohingyas, the Palestinians of Asia. The Rohingyas have lived in Burma since the 8th century, yet in 1962, the Burmese junta began a program of ethnic cleansing in an attempt to force them to leave the country.
In the past few months, the nearly one million Rohingyas in Burma’s Arakan state have been under siege by the local Rakhine community.
The UN has said: “The government has denied birth certificates and citizenship to the Rohingyas. Today, the community is in a perilous situation as they are being targeted because they are not of the same race and religion as the Rakhine Buddhist majority.”
The Buddhists are targeting the Rohingyas as a part of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing.
The issue is fast becoming one of the worst cases of ethnic cleansing similar to Rwanda and Bosnia. Various Muslim organizations alongside Indian human rights groups are protesting strongly against the killing of Muslims in Burma.
The Rohingyas are being forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh and now a large number of them are living in inhuman condition on boats in the river or in a no man’s land near Bangladesh.
They want to find shelter in Bangladesh but Bangladesh does not always allow them to enter the country.
The news media of the Middle East and of the Muslim world must do more to pressure the UN under the UNCHR to stop the killing of minority Muslims by Buddhists in Burma.