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Rohingya on the brink

  • Published at 06:30 pm February 6th, 2017
Rohingya on the brink

There’s a song by a Rohingya activist available on YouTube. Sung in her native language, the song asks Rohingyas to mobilise. There’s a line in the song: “How can one earn freedom without shedding blood?” Of course, the song was shared by many on social media sites, including a few Islamist groups, apparently.

A video of the Harkat al-Yaqeen, or the “Faith Movement,” based in the Rakhine state, (also available on YouTube) has also been making rounds. The clip works as a call by the insurgent group members to other Rohingyas in joining their group. The group was reported to have been active in the Rakhine state and the bordering areas by the Dhaka Tribune.

Muslims in Bangladesh and the greater region are greatly moved by stories of Rohingya oppression, that much we know. I have spoken to various groups in Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue as a part of research. While people from Bangladesh are largely sympathetic towards the Rohingya, they have two distinct types of reactions: Some are saddened, understandably, but some believe Muslims across the region should be united to respond to Myanmar for the atrocities they have committed against the Rohingya.

And this is where it starts to get a bit dicey: A portion of all Muslims in the region want an all-out armed revolt against Myanmar security forces, and that increases the potential for breeding terror across South Asia and Southeast Asia tenfold.

And, of course, Bangladesh is likely to bear the brunt of such a terrifying possibility.

It’s no big secret that institutional oppression and terrorism are interlinked. Many analysts are of the opinion that the Palestine-Israel conflict is what triggered radicalisation in the Middle East. The terrorist groups within that region have found it easy to motivate the youth -- an easy enough task when children are killed because of their religious identity.

When people find no traces of hope, they want an alternative course of action, and terrorist groups take advantages in such situation. It only makes sense.

The Rohingya genocide has far-reaching implications for South Asia and Southeast Asia. They have been on the run for the past couple of years. Many have taken shelter in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and this migration puts the entirety of the region on high security risk

India-Pakistan’s conflict over Kashmir and the atrocities committed by the Soviet Union are thought, by many, to be the smoking gun that triggered radicalisation in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

There maybe too many reasons behind this phenomenon, but violation of human rights on the part of security forces is a factor that just cannot be discounted.

As such, the Rohingya genocide has far-reaching implications for South Asia and Southeast Asia. The Rohingyas have been on the run for the past couple of years. Many have taken shelter in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and this migration puts the entirety of the region on high security risk.

Even if a small group of Rohingyas become radicalised, then they can incite and spread violence across the whole region and recruit jihadists from other locations, in retaliation of their state-sponsored oppression.

Myanmar security forces’ recent crackdown on Rohingyas led the United Nations and various independent human rights groups to investigate and release numerous reports on rape, killing, and the gross violation of human rights in the Rakhine state.

There were reports of entire villages being torched to the ground. The international media reported, citing a UN report, how infants and children were being slaughtered with knives and other sharp weapons during a military campaign on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The claim of the Myanmar government that Rohingyas are not rightful citizens makes no sense. They might have gone to Myanmar from Bengal, but they migrated around 300-400 years ago. After residing in a country for three to four generations, how can they suddenly become unwarranted by their own government?

Unfortunately, the response of the international communities has been inadequate, to say the least. There has been next to no pressure on the Myanmar government from the international community, which made it easy for them to prolong the crackdown.

We have seen strong worded statements from certain groups, but they have failed to convince the Myanmar government of their wrongdoing.

With an inadequate response and commitment, the international community seems to be pushing the Rohingyas to the brink of radicalisation.

There’s no mistaking it. The Rohingya crisis is a global crisis, and the world must act before it is too late.

Mushfique Wadud is a journalist.

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