Rohingya refugees and indifference of Muslim world

An image of a house on fire in Northern Rakhine state (Photo credit: Al Jazeera)

-Sarim Ahmed

The tragedy of hapless Myanmarese Muslim (Rohingya) refugees is that they are suffering so much at the hands of the country’s military dominated government when the world has at least 57 countries with overwhelming Muslim population. The minuscule minority of Myanmar is being pushed into neighbouring Bangladesh which has the third largest Muslim population in the world. India and Indonesia, which has second and first highest Muslim population respectively, are also in the vicinity.

Except Turkey, hardly any Muslim country has taken keen interest in the issue. The rest of them are just offering lip service.

The big question is why is Myanmar doing this? That too, for the last 35 years. The answer can be traced in the fact that the Muslim world is itself in turmoil. About a dozen of them are in the grip of civil war or facing serious political crisis. The Organisation of Islamic Conference has been reduced to a mere spectator. The Muslim world has lost its bargaining position. Gone are the days when oil was used as a weapon which brought even the powerful nations to their heels.

It is not only from Myanmar that Muslims are fleeing. The hard reality is that they are being forced to leave Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and countries of North Africa.

True the powerful western nations are largely responsible for the political upheaval in Muslim countries. But this does not mean that they are not to be blamed.

Let us take the example of Saudi Arabia towards which Muslims in general look with some hope. Instead of solving any problem, it has complicated the situation in Yemen and Qatar—the two countries which were till recently friends of Riyadh. After 33 years of very good relations with Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, the Saudi rulers discovered that he is a Shia and an ally of Iran.

Similarly, they suddenly found that Sunni Qatar is playing in the hands of Shia Iran and imposed sanctions on it. Not only that , Egypt, Kuwait, UAE and Jordan also followed it, leaving the Qatari people in lurch.

In such a scenario when we are unable to put our own house in order how can one expect from the Muslim world to champion the cause of community elsewhere on the globe. Mind it, Myanmar is an obscure and isolated country with very few friends. China and India have recently befriended it for their own strategic and economic reasons. Otherwise, it had not much clout. Yet the rulers of the Muslim world are looking the other way round. Herein lies the real tragedy.


Sarim Ahmed is a trainee journalist associated with ‘The Morning Chronicle’. He is very young and budding in the field of journalism. If you also have a flair for writing The Morning Chronicle is a place to start with. You can write in Hindi as well. If you like this piece, do not hesitate to appreciate Sarim at

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