June 19, 2013
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia– The conference on the plight of the Muslims in Burma in the 21st century successfully held at International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) in Petaling Jaya today as an initiative for solution and the way forward. The conference commenced at about 10AM with the opening speech of Prof Dr. Hashim Kamali, founding chairman and CEO of IAIS, followed by the keynote address by the former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi.
In his opening speech, Prof Dr Hashim Kamali said “an unprecedented violence and genocide is going against Rohingya and other Muslims Burma. Buddhists, whose religion is known for encouraging non-violence, in Myanmar have become so brutal and are showing a face that is quite different from Buddhism. We must altogether denounce all their brutalities and work towards stopping all the violence.”
In the following keynote address by Tun Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi, he explained that ASEAN hopes to become one community by 2015. And Muslims make up the biggest community in the region. The oppressions and genocidal actions against Rohingya and other Muslims in Burma have been going on for decades. The injustice against any Muslims in the region can’t be ignored unless it might become an obstacle to becoming one ASEAN community. We must work to end this violence and for peace and tranquility in the region. InshaAllah, they will have better future.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, President of International Movement for a JUST World, was the first speaker as a panelist followed by Dr. Maung Zarni, Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Senior Research Fellow at the department of History, University Malaya, Mr. Mohammed Sadek, Program Coordinator of Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee (RARC), Mr. Saw Closay, Special Advisor of Burmese Muslim Community (BMC) and Mr. M. Raimi Ab Rahim, Secretary General of Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) respectively.
Dr. Chandra said “Civil Societies of Malaysia as well as that of the world have not pressed their respective governments enough to persuade and pressure the Burmese government to stop the genocide against Rohingyas as well as other Muslims in Burma. However, the approach to the Burmese government to end the violence should be non-violent.” He advised both ex-prime ministers, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed and Tun Abdullah Badawi who share good relationships with Tun Mohammed Najib, the current prime minister of Malaysia, to persuade him to work on this issue and solve the problems of Muslims in Burma.
Dr. Maung Zarni started his speech urging the audiences as well as all other people outside to work with the sense of humanity first and to have compassions for others. He moved forward addressing the audiences what is happening in Burma is not simply clash between Buddhists and Muslims but a state-sponsored mass violence targeting Rohingyas and other Muslims in Burma. He further explained how inter-colonial Burmese quasi civilian regime is creating divides and manipulating religion to create violence against Muslims in Burma.
Mr. Mohammed Sadek touched the history of Rohingyas in Arakan and explained the evolution of the ongoing violence against Rohingyas. He further explained the situation of Rohingyas in Malaysian and submitted five proposals. And Mr. Saw Closay, while showing some photographic evidences of the violence against Rohingyas and Burmese Muslims, explained the nature of the violence and named perpetrators such as pseudo Monks, such as Wirathu, are also behind the violence.
The last speaker, Mr. M. Raimi Ab Rahim, mentioned Rohingyas’ problems can be dated back to decades and how Malaysia played a role. He further explained the current problems faced by Rohingyas in Malaysia and submitted some proposals to either resettle Rohingyas in third countries or settle them in Malaysia. He also urged Malaysian government and all the concerned quarters to take a stand to solve the crises being faced by Rohingyas in Arakan.
The last session of the conference was Question and Answer session. Different questions were asked by the audiences and they were answered by the respective panelists. With this, the conference ended successfully at 2PM Malaysian time.
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