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Marking Four Years Of Rohingya Genocide: Khutbah On Rohingya Muslims 

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ان الحمد  لله نحمده……..  


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ  

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O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. (4:135)


قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّي بِالْقِسْطِ  

Say, O Prophet that my Lord has ordered to do justice. (7:29)

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِٱلْبَيِّنَتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الكتب والميزان لِيَقُومَ الناس بالقسط 

‘We sent aforetime our messengers with clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance, that men may stand forth in Justice.’ [57:25] 

واذا حكمتم بين الناس ان تحكموا بالعدل

And when you judge between people that you judge in fairness (4:58)

Justice to whom?

Justice to those who are wronged; who are discriminated against, whose voices are suppressed, and whose human rights are violated.

Who are oppressed and persecuted today?

It is the Muslim minorities who are being persecuted in Palestine, Burma, China, India, Kashmir and Sri Lanka. 

Islam is strongly opposed to all forms of injustice and takes all measures to ensure that justice prevails in every field but unfortunately Muslims themselves are the victims of injustice in most parts of the world today.

Who can play a momentous role in protecting Muslims from tyranny, torture, and genocide? Undeniably, the Muslims living in the West especially in the US and Canada can play their most effective role in providing justice, and striking substantial economic embargoes over despotic governments and pulling back the hands of tyrants from oppression.

Because of the upcoming 4th anniversary of their genocide, today the focus of the khutbah will be the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar/ Burma. 

  • The Rohingya are one of the many ethnic minorities in the country of Burma, also known as Myanmar. Rohingya Muslims represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, with the majority living in Rakhine state.
  • Rohingya have their own language and culture and they say that they are descendants of Arab traders and other groups who have been in the region for generations.
  • But for decades the government of Burma denied the Rohingya citizenship rights and even excluded them from the 2014 census, refusing to recognize them as a people of Burma. The government considers the Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
  • Especially since 2012, the military-led authorities have promoted laws that isolate the Rohingya, who do not even have freedom of movement in their own country, and therefore lack access to school or jobs or healthcare.
  • Since the 1970s, Rohingya refugees have fled oppression to Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia in significant numbers. Estimates of their numbers are often much higher than official figures.
  • In the last few years, before the latest crisis, thousands of Rohingya made risky journeys out of Burma to escape communal violence or alleged abuses by the security forces.
  • Unfortunately in many host nations Rohingya refugees lack basic rights as well and are not even recognized as refugees.
  • Are they not refugees? Why did Rohingya Muslims leave their homes? Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh report they fled after Burmese troops, backed by local Buddhist mobs, responded by burning their villages and attacking and killing civilians.
  • At least 350 villages were partially or totally destroyed by fire in northern Rakhine state soon after August 2017, according to analysis of satellite imagery by Human Rights Watch.
  • At least 7,700 Rohingya, including at least 730 children under the age of five, were killed in the month after the violence broke out.
  • Amnesty International and other similar groups have found that the Myanmar military also raped and abused Rohingya many thousands of women and girls, up to 55 percent of survivors report this treatment.
  • A report published by UN investigators in August 2018 accused Myanmar’s military of carrying out mass killings and rapes with “genocidal intent”.
  • The International Court of Justice of the UN has listened to the case, lodged by the small Muslim-majority nation of The Gambia, in West Africa, on behalf of dozens of other Muslim members nations of the OIC, and the court called for emergency measures to be taken against the Myanmar military, known as Tatmadaw, until a fuller investigation could be launched. The court and other UN mechanisms have been investigating.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi avoided saying the word “Rohingya” and rejected allegations of genocide when she appeared at the court in December 2019. At that time she was in a power-sharing relationship with the genocidal military. Now she is locked up again by that same military.
  • The Burmese military is an extremist group that has been largely in control of the government since 1962. Their recent coup in February 2021 overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.  For the last decade, they have allied themselves with extreme Buddhist nationalists who have been targeting Rohingya Muslims. However, the 50 million people of Burma are beginning to wake up to Rohingya suffering and also strongly oppose the coup.
  • China, India and Russia have been supplying arms to the Burmese military and blocking strong action in the UN.
  • Though the door to return is closed for Rohingya right now, there are some new possibilities in building resistance to Burmese military forces especially in alliance with christian minorities and democracy activists.


REVIEW OF FACTS

  1. The United Nations has called the Rohingya Muslims of Rakhine State in western Burma the “most persecuted people in the world.” 
  2. The total number of Rohingya displaced by the genocide remaining in Rakhine State is unknown, but over 1.5 million Rohingya refugees have been scattered across South- and Southeast Asia, making the perilous, often fatal journey by land and sea to find some basic measure of security in their lives. Their children lack educational opportunities, often restricted by local governments. 
  3. Over 1 million Rohingya are displaced into Bangladesh camps alone, including 340,000 children living in squalid, refugee camp conditions. Some 600,000 of that number reside in the massive, sprawling Kutupalong refugee camp in eastern Bangladesh. They are at risk for COVID 19 infection. But also, the government of Bangladesh has restricted education to children and even for most of last year cut off internet and mobile phone access.
  4. The lack of rights for Rohingya children is a global problem. Even in Saudi Arabia Rohingya children are not given equal access to education, even though the royal family invited Rohingya to live there during an earlier persecution. 
  5. Responsibilities as a Muslim:

As conscious Muslims, we must firmly stand with Rohingya Muslims to get justice from oppressors. The hadith of the prophet SAW explains that the parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever (Sahih al-Bukhārī and Sahih Muslim)

  1. Muslims living in the West and especially those privileged Muslims who live in the US and Canada are obliged to play their effective role for the support of Rohingya brothers and sisters. American Muslims have made a great struggle to stop genocide of the Bosnian Muslims, and we have successfully lobbied to get 800 million dollars for the rehabilitation of Burmese Muslims in Bangladesh. American Muslims have played an important role to impose embargos on Chinese merchandise manufactured by Uighur forced labor. 
  2. There are not many Rohingya refugees in the USA, about 5,000 but they have their active leadership and their institutions, especially in Chicago, Milwaukee, Upstate New York and parts of Indiana. The lack of formal education means that many of these hard working refugees are working in low wage jobs. How can we help their children to rise and prosper in the USA and Canada? To help Rohingya help themselves please reach out to Rohingya groups, including the Rohingya Cultural Center of Chicago.

 

Action Items: 

  1. Like with the Palestinians and the Uyghur, we Muslims must have a comprehensive knowledge of the Rohingya oppression to share with individuals and communities.
  2. Share information about Rohingya Muslims through social media and print media. Please look at the Burma Task Force website as a reliable resource both for information and for action steps. For example:
  3. Please ask President Biden to simply pick up the phone and call the French President Macron, asking for more pressure on the oil and gas companies (like Chevron and Total oil) that continue to pay millions to the Burmese military. Contact White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
  4. Finally, please donate to help the humanitarian needs of Rohingya. However remember that we also need to address the root causes of this disaster. Muslim groups like Burma Task Force and non Muslim groups like Human Rights Watch push governments to stop oppression and genocide. It’s not easy.

Let’s make dua for our Rohingya Muslims.

اللهم انصر اخواننا المستضعفين في بورما O Allah help and support our weaker brothers in Burma

،اللهم انا نجعلك في نحورهم ونعوذ بك من شرورهم O Allah we request you to controll the cruel oppressors of Rohingyas and we seek your protection from them.

اللهم انصر عبادك المومنين المستضعفين في كل مكان،اللهم انصرهم في بورما

اللهم كن لهم ناصرا ومعينا وحافظا ٥  O Allah our prayers for the Rohingya Muslims is full of hope , O Allah bring permanent and honorable solution to their problem.

O Allah our hearts go out for the innocent hildren and women who have been butchered by their enemies 

O Allah take mercy on those displaced Rohingya brothers and sisters who are forced to live in filthy, muddy, musty and moldy refugee camps in different parts of the world. 

O Allah give them dignity and honor because they believe in your oneness and in the prophethood of our beloved messenger SAW.

O Allah forgive all those innocent Rohingyas who have been killed, burnt to death or tortured because of being Muslims.

O Allah give them Sabre Jameel to those parents whose children have been killed and maimed.

Ameen!!

-contributed by Imam Abdul Jabbar

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