Ramadan and Rohingya Muslims in Arakan


Since July 11, 2013 Muslims around the world has been celebrating the holy month of Ramadan in the world. But, in Arakan State, Rohingya Muslim is passing Ramadan month with acute difficulties.  One year has passed since the last violence in Arakan State but until now the situation has not change. But, persecution against the Rohingya people is still going on.

Yesterday, about one hundred Nasaka personnel went to the Wabeg village of Nasaka Headquarters of Kawarbill of Maungdaw north, and forced villagers to sign a document to confess that they are “Bengali” instead of “Rohingya.” Regarding this, villagers strongly opposed to the Nasaka and fled from their village not to give signatures or finger prints to a document.  But, Nasaka personnel arrested some of the villagers including men and women and forcibly taken away their signatures and finger prints.

As a result, most of the villagers including men and women along with their children were passing the whole day in the paddy fields or in the forest to avoid the arrest of Nasaka. Besides, the Nasaka also extracted forced labor from Rohingya community for road construction during the Ramadan month.

This Ramadan (Sabbath) month is for worship for the Muslims after taking fast and takes rest from the work. Even, during the holy month of Ramadan, Rohingya people are not able to sleep in their houses for fear of arrest. But, Government declared that Burma is a religious free country.

“We are forced by the government to sign a document to confess that we are “Bengali” in place of “Rohingya”. Many of us have been arrested and prosecuted as we refused to change our identity,” said a local youth.

In the name of curfew, everything has been control by the security forces in the name of safety. But the safety is indeed not for the Rohingyas.

Currently more than 140, 000 Rohingyas are living in the temporary camp of Sittwe (Akyab), the capital of Arakan State with severe lack of food and water, medication, clothes and other basic needs. Many children, women and men have died due to diseases and lack of proper treatment.  How will they pass Ramadan month?

Besides, there are many IDPs in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung Townships. They do not get any supporting from government side or any other side. They have no work, no ration and no money. Moreover, there are many refugees in southern side of Arakan State— Kyauktaw, Pauktaw, Mraybon, Minbya,  Mrauk-U, etc.  How will they pass the Ramadan month?

This holy Ramadan will be among the most joyful moment for children around the world. However, there will be no joys for the Rohingya children for this Ramadhan as they lost their beloved parents, brother and sisters in last year violence.

Every Muslim in the world is hoping that they can go through this holy month of Ramadhan in peace. But for us in Arakan, we are going through the holy Ramadan in the starvation and hardship. There is no food for morning breakfast (Sheri) and break fasting (Iftari). We cannot perform Ramadhan prayers (Tarawi) and other religious duties as the mosques and madrasas were still locked by the government.

Rohingya people need to open all the mosques and madrasas and lift all the restrictions towards Rohingya so that Rohingyas could perform their religious duties.

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