ON THE HUMAN CRISIS OF MUSLIMS IN BURMA
By the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar
Over the last few days, the entire world has been following up the horribly shocking images of the crimes of killing, forced displacements, burning of human beings, genocide, and atrocious massacres that have left hundreds dead among women, children, youths, and elders who are besieged in Rakhine State, Myanmar. The authorities forced them to leave their homes, following the savagely barbarous attacks entirely unprecedented in the history of humankind. Some of them starved to death on their long way of panic and exile under the burning sun. Others drowned after having no shelter on land and being forced to flee through the sea.
This totally brutal and nonhuman scene would never have taken place if the world had any trace of human conscience. The world’s conscience seems to have died and all the lofty human morals can then only die. The voices of justice, freedom, and human rights have all come to a state of the silence of death. All international conventions guaranteeing the protection of human rights, peace among peoples, and the humankind’s fundamental right to live on their homeland have all just become unrealistic statements, and sheer lies unworthy of the ink with which they were written.
Condemnations make no sense in the face of the genocide outrageously committed against the Rohingya Muslims, which only recalls the savage predacious life of wilderness. Really, the shy cries issued by international and human organizations to save the Muslim citizens from the aggression of the Burmese army and government are merely forms of vanities and waste of time. We are sure that these international organizations would take a completely different and strong situation and respond rapidly if the victims were Jews, Christians, Buddhists, or followers of any religion other than Islam.
In cooperation with the Muslim Council of Elders, Al-Azhar has worked to bring all conflicting parties together and reconcile their views about Rakhine. Earlier this year, Al-Azhar hosted in Cairo a number of leading young people representing all religions and races in Myanmar, including monks and clergymen. It was only a first step to pave the way to peace, but a number of religious leaders in Myanmar paid no attention whatsoever to these endeavours and just allied themselves with some extremist elements in the Myanmar armed forces to perpetuate a systematic genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Muslim citizens. This savage atrocity brings shame to all humanity. All religions deny this situation which only marks a permanently shameful line in the history of Myanmar.
Following Al-Azhar’s universal message for peace, Al-Azhar takes its own religious and human responsibility to move against these brutal violations. As such, Al-Azhar will lead human movements at the Arab, Muslim, and international levels to stop these massacres committed purposively against Muslim citizens in Myanmar.
Al-Azhar calls on all international bodies and organizations as well as all human rights associations to undertake their duties and take all necessary measures to investigate these horrible crimes and pursue their perpetrators to bring those responsible for them to the International Court of Justice as war criminals for their brutal atrocities. All should know that such crimes form the strongest reason encouraging terrorist crimes from which the entire humanity suffers.
Here, from Egypt – the heart of Arabism and Islam, and from Al-Azhar, we send a human outcry demanding the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Union, and the United Nations to take immediate action, especially the Security Council. However, it is very important, before anything else, that the decision makers in the Arab and Muslim countries do their utmost and put political and economic pressures to bring the government of Myanmar back to their senses and to the truth, so that they may stop the ethnic and religious discrimination against their own citizens.
It is unforgettable, Al-Azhar affirms, to highlight the paradox committed when a peace Nobel Prize winner holds the prestigious peace prize in one hand while blessing all crimes against peace, with the other hand, thus leaving peace a ridiculously meaningless word.
Finally, we address our fellow Muslims in Burma to remain steadfast in the face of this brutal aggression. We stand by your side and will never fail you. God will definitely give hand to you. Know that He Almighty “never supports the actions of wrongdoers,” (Qur’an, 10:81) and that “the wrongdoers will come to know what evil end they will meet.” (Qur’an, 26: 227)
God’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be with you all!
Ahmad al-Tayyeb, The Grand Imam & Shaykh of Al-Azhar
Dhu’l-Hijjah 17, 1438 AH / September 8, 2017 CE