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Even funerals too difficult for Rohingya Muslims in Arakan

May 24, 2013

Muslims in Arakan have to bribe officials in order to bury their dead.

NEW YORK -- Director General of Arakan Rohingya Union, Wakar Uddin, said that Rohingya Muslims in Arakan still had sufferings, despite the messages during Myanmar's President Thein Sein's visit to US. 

The sufferings of the Rohingya Muslims in Arakan (Rakhine) or those who have fled to neighboring countries, have not yet ended. The burnings and looting of their houses in the villages in a number of towns in Arakan are still ongoing. Many are forced to flee to neighboring countries, who are not well received.

During his visit in US, President Thein Sein was warned of the violence towards Rohingya Muslims. US President Barrack Obama called on Myanmar's President Thein Sein to stop ethnic killings of Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Previously, it was stated clearly in US Annual Report on International Religious Freedom that Rohingya Muslims faced serious discrimination and violence.

According to the report Rohingya Muslims faced legal, economic, social and educational discrimination as well as violence and denial of their citizenship.

Wakar Uddin spoke to AA evaluating the recent developments in Arakan as well as the recent visit of President Thein Sein to US. 

Claiming that Myanmar government was trying to balance between China and the western world, Uddin said it was clear that the government did not want to be dependent economically on China only. 

"We are pleased to see that the warning of President Obama against violence towards Rohingya Muslims is serious enough," said Uddin, adding, "time will show how effective the messages of Obama will be."

Uddin pointed out Thein Sein and his government used 'Bengali' for Rohingya Muslims and said changing the terminology was a prerequisite to the solution of the existing problems in Arakan. 

Stating some Myanmar security officials forced Rohingya Muslims to sign a document saying they were 'Bengali', Uddin added that if the Muslims did not allow the officials to write 'Bengali' in their forms, they were faced with violence, arrestment, and destruction of their properties. 

"All the mosques are still closed in Arakan," said Uddin, adding, "they are not allowing us to perform prayers during the funerals. Muslims in Arakan have to bribe officials in order to bury their dead."

Moreover, Rohingya Muslims are also forced to sign another document saying they are coming from Bangladesh, which will pave the way for sending them to Bangladesh in the future.

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