Rohingya news sites, activists and social media users have been sharing reports that a landmark Rohingya mosque that is over 200 years old and predates British colonialism was demolished by Myanmar’s military. The state of Myanmar has systematically demolished Rohingya historic sites since the 1940s.
Buthidaung — A 200-year old historical mosque in Buthidaung Township was bulldozed by the Myanmar military on April 3, 2017.
It was located at the village of ‘Lawei Dek’ in Buthidaung and was built even before the British before the British occupation of Arakan, according to the local folklore.
“During the British time, there existed shops and bazaar at the both sides of the road nearby the Masjid. It was known as ‘Botoli Bazaar.’ The mosque was closed by the authorities only in the mid-1990s.
“But yesterday, the military from a battalion from a battalion nearby ‘Lawei Dek’ arrived with a bulldozer and razed the mosque,” said an elderly Rohingya man in Buthidaung.
Although the Myanmar government claims of putting its best efforts to end the crisis in the Arakan state, the Rohingya people are suffering from the persecution at all fronts including restrictions to freedom of worship. Majority of their places of worships have officially remained closed since June 2012.
Different Myanmar regimes throughout history have involved in systematic demolitions of the Rohingya historical monuments.
[Edited by M.S. Anwar]
The Rohingya suffered for decades under a brutal military regime in Myanmar, and now despite a “democratically” elected civilian government headed by so-called “human rights icon” Aung San Suu Kyi, the “slow-burning” genocide (as one Burmese scholar described it several years ago) has accelerated.
From October 2016 until February 2017, the Myanmar military conducted a horrific “clearance operation” targeting the Rohingya that displaced nearly 100,000. Reports and action alerts by rights groups, Rohingya activists and media organizations have been sounding the alarm to war crimes and ‘crimes against humanity’ for years now. These calls while gaining some attention have failed to garner the requisite awareness in proportion to the magnitude of the issue; it often gets swept under the carpet.
The UN recently published the most damning and devastating report on the Myanmar military’s crimes against Rohingya that I have ever read. The response has been one of categorical dismay from many who were unaware of the Rohingya cause.