Burmese Muslims reject ‘morally repugnant’ Al-Qaeda
|In this file picture from May, Muslim men offer Friday prayers in a makeshift mosque in Sittwe, Arakan state. (Photo: Reuters)|
By Colin Hinshelwood
September 6, 2014
The Burmese Muslim Association (BMA) has vehemently condemned a statement by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in which he announced an intention to launch an active cell in the Indian subcontinent and Burma.
“Burmese Muslim Association vehemently condemns the statement of the Al-Qaeda leader who threatened Burma in his latest video,” the group said in a statement on 5 September. “The marginalised minority Muslims in Burma will never accept any help from a terrorist organisation, which is in principle a disgrace and morally repugnant.”
The BMA also lashed out at the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, saying its “inhumane actions are totally contrary to Islamic beliefs and teachings.”
In a 55-minute video on Wednesday, Egyptian cleric Zawahiri announced Al-Qaeda’s intention of launching of a new cell called “Qaedat al-Jihad”, which would be active in Burma and the Indian subcontinent with the aim of expanding jihad to the region.
Zawahiri tops the most wanted terrorist list in the US, with a US$25 million bounty for his apprehension.
The BMA immediately disassociated themselves from Zawahiri’s comments and said they rejected terrorism.
“Muslims are fully integrated into the fabric of Burmese society and belong and support the Burmese nation,” BMA said. “The Burmese Muslims will not tolerate any threat to their motherland. The Muslims in Burma have proved their loyalty to the country throughout the history of Burma with exceptional bravery and with tremendous courage.”
Calling for peaceful coexistence and human rights in Burma, the London-based Muslim organisation also noted its concern at the “silence” of religious organisations and political parties in Burma while Muslims in the country face “ethnic cleansing”.
It called on the Burmese government to stop supporting extremist Buddhist organisations that are promoting anti-Muslim hatred.
Meanwhile, Burmese newspaper Daily Eleven cited an anonymous official at the President’s Office in Naypyidaw stating that Burma, or Myanmar, is cooperating with other governments in the region and around the globe to prevent terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda through an early warning system and the sharing of information on the group’s activities.