The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has condemned the killings and persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
In a statement by its deputy secretary-general, Salisu Shehu, on Friday, the NSCIA, the highest decision-making body for Muslims in Nigeria, said it was “shocked and distressed by the wanton killings and massacre” of the Rohingya.
The Rohingya are a minority Muslim community that have lived for centuries alongside the Buddhist majority in Myanmar. The 1. 1 million Rohingya, who live in the coastal state of Rakhine are seen by many in Myanmar as illegal immigrants and have faced systematic discrimination by the government who treats them as stateless people stripping them of citizenship.
On August 25, violence broke out after Rohingya militants attacked government forces. Soldiers aided by Buddhist militias responded with what has been described as disproportionate violence sacking whole community, burning houses and killing several Rohingya.
The United Nations said over 123,000 people have fled the troubled area to neighbouring Bangladesh.
The NSCIA said the attacks on the Rohingya amounted to a genocide.
“The level of persecutions and the monumental brutalities being meted on such defenceless, helpless and downtrodden Muslim communities in the Rakhine State of the country amount to genocide in the real sense of it.”
“In the spirit of the Hadith of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that says, “believers, in their mercy, compassion and sympathy for one another are like a single body….”, the NSCIA, on behalf of the entire Muslim Ummah in Nigeria condemns in strong terms such endless, intermittent and exterminatory cruelties against these weak and helpless human beings.”
The NSCIA further condemned what it referred to a “global conspiracy of silence” over the reluctance of the UN and world leaders to act against the government of Myanmar for “years have been notoriously descending on their villages to slaughter them and mercilessly drive them out of their homes and abodes. “
The NSCIA also took a swipe at Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, a prominent member of the ruling party in Myanmar, for being supportive of the violence against the Rohingya.
“The NSCIA is also perplexed that such crimes against humanity are taking place at a time when a supposedly Nobel Peace Laureate in person of Aung San Suu Kyi is at the helm of affairs in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi has unfortunately appeared to be, in power and authority, the opposite of what she used to preach that earned her the global recognition as an unflinching defender of human rights.”
The council called on the UN and world leaders to act promptly to save lives and bring an end to the violence. It also appealed to Muslims all over the world “to exercise restraint, avoid taking laws into their hands and be prayerful unto Allah to bring succour to these helpless brothers and sisters of ours and all other human beings that are suffering in the world, wherever they are, no matter their faith or race.”