Four months ago, while walking to his house from the mosque in his village in Maungdaw in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Rasheed Ali was approached by a mullah from the local madrassa, the same man who taught him to recite the Koran as a child, with an offer he literally couldn’t refuse.
The mullah, or Islamic teacher, implored him to join the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an insurgent group originally known as the Harakah Al-Yakin, or “Faith Movement”, that came to public light last October 9 in a series of coordinated lethal attacks against Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP).
“He told me that I had to join ARSA to defend our religion, which is under attack in our country, and that ARSA was also fighting for our rights so we could recover our citizenship,” Rasheed Ali, an ethnic Rohingya, told Asia Times from a safe house in a refugee camp in neighboring Bangladesh.
He fled to Bangladesh with over 600,000 other Rohingya after the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, launched brutal “clearance operations” in Rohingya-majority areas of northern Rakhine state in response to coordinated ARSA attacks on security personnel launched on August 25.
Rasheed Ali, a seemingly timid 21-year-old, says he was given few options but to join the insurgent group. “[The mullah] told me I would be branded as a traitor if I refused to join, [that] he would make sure that the community would shun me and that I could even be killed,” he recounted.
The young insurgent recruit claims he did not receive any militant training, nor was he given any explanation of ARSA’s wider insurgent strategy. He says he only knew seven other ARSA members, all from his village, and that he received marching orders solely from the mullah, without having any knowledge of the organization’s hierarchy beyond him.
He was given one task: to keep an eye on four local government informants and to report periodically on their meetings and movements. “You have to do it for God,” he said the mullah told him.
Since ARSA’s low-intensity insurgency first ignited last October, dozens of Rohingya village administrators and suspected government informants have been killed, with many pointing the finger at ARSA. Rasheed Ali said that none of the four informants he was asked to spy on has been killed and that they are now living in the same refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Around a month before Rasheed Ali was coerced into joining ARSA, Ahmad Jarmal, a 25-year-old shopkeeper, also joined the group in his village in northern Maungdaw. “People of Al-Yakin came to our village and asked us to join them,” he told Asia Times from Bangladesh. “We liked them because they assured us that they would get citizenship and rights for us. Some village elders knew people in the group and told us to join.”
Ahmad Jarmal estimates that around 100 people joined ARSA from his village, many of them his friends or acquaintances. He likewise did not receive any militant training and was in touch with only a few other members and his immediate superior, a man who he was told received his marching orders from the organization’s commanders.
“A famous mullah in the village also told us that it was the right group to join, because they keep religious practices and follow the Prophet,” he explained.
“When I joined, my task was to be a sentry in the village, to warn people if the BGP or the military approached the village,” Ahmad Jarmal said. “Another task was to make sure people fulfilled their religious duties, so we would tell them to go to the mosque before prayers if we saw them walking in the street.”
Both Rasheed Ali and Ahmad Jarmal claimed that they had no prior knowledge that ARSA would launch its attacks against Myanmar security forces’ positions on August 25, and that BGP posts near their villages were not targeted. They only learned of the attacks later, when the military and BGP attacked their villages in retaliation, an assault that has caused one of the largest mass movements of refugees in recent memory.
“The day after the attacks, the BGP came to our village and some [ethnic] Rakhine people joined them. We wanted to fight them, but we only had sticks and knives. We couldn’t defend ourselves and we ran,” said Ahmad Jarmal.
“My brother was shot by the BGP and I carried him, but he died when we reached the border. I saw four people shot by the BGP. All the people in the village fled, and the BGP and the Rakhine torched our houses.”
Rasheed Ali’s village was attacked by Myanmar security forces in the early hours of August 26; he says he was forced to flee alone. He found his family a day later hiding in a nearby pond and they subsequently traveled together to Bangladesh. After a grueling journey, they reached the border and were taken to one of Cox Bazar’s sprawling and overstretched camps.
Both ARSA members say they are deeply embittered about being uninformed about the insurgent group’s leaders’ attack plans. “If I could talk with the leaders I would ask them, ‘why did you do this? You knew we couldn’t win and that the Tatmadaw and the BGP would massacre us. Why didn’t you [just] kill us directly?’”, Rasheed Ali said.
Little is known about ARSA and its overall strategy. According to the International Crisis Group, a conflict resolution outfit, the group’s leadership is formed in a committee in Saudi Arabia. Its on-the-ground leader, Attah Ullah, is a Rohingya male born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia.
In the group’s frequent public statements, ARSA insists that it is carrying out an ethno-nationalist struggle for Rohingya rights; the group’s unexplained sudden name change from Harakah Al-Yakin to ARSA, however, points to a desire to distance itself from religious connotations, at least in the international eye.
Ahmad Jarmal and Rasheed Ali’s accounts suggest that religion plays a bigger role in the insurgency than ARSA cares to admit, but at the same time do not necessarily imply a jihadist ideology. In public statements, ARSA studiously avoids association with transnational jihadist networks, a connection that the Myanmar government has hastily made in branding the group as “extremist terrorists”, despite the lack of hard evidence of such links.
While the Rohingya had shown little inclination for armed struggle for over two decades, ARSA’s emergence is a direct consequence of the oppression the group has long suffered. That oppression dramatically worsened after a wave of sectarian violence engulfed Rakhine state in 2012. Myanmar’s democratic opening after decades of direct military rule has only served to further disenfranchise the Rohingya.
Around 120,000 Rohingya have languished in internment camps since the 2012 violence. Meanwhile, racist vitriol against them in both mainstream and social media has spread widely. The group was not included in the 2014 census, and they were not allowed to vote in the 2015 elections that put the National League for Democracy and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the helm of the civilian side of a quasi-democratic government.
Both Rasheed Ali and Ahmad Jarmal contend that ARSA’s insurgent actions have only worsened the situation for their people. The Myanmar military responded to the August 25 attacks with a savagery that has been as predictable as it has been shocking, a campaign that the United Nations and rights groups have said constitutes ‘ethnic cleansing.’
Rasheed Ali says he believes that ARSA “provoked the military deliberately” to elicit a reaction against its own people that they were hardly equipped to counter or resist. In retrospect, he says, that might be exactly what ARSA leaders intended.
In a recent investigation, the Bangladeshi newspaper The Dhaka Tribune quoted an ARSA commander as saying: “To gain something, you have to lose something. We have been dying for 70 years. At least now the world is taking notice of our deaths!”
ARSA has not launched any major attack since August, even after it ended a month-long unilateral ceasefire on October 9. While it is impossible to predict the group’s next move or gauge its capability to launch another stinging coordinated attack, it is equally difficult to know how much popular support the group enjoys.
Some refugees interviewed by Asia Times in Bangladesh blamed ARSA for their desperate plight, while others said they regarded the group as their freedom fighters. Either way, desperate conditions in Bangladesh’s refugee camps are fertile ground for ARSA to take cover and reemerge with fresh recruits drawn from a huge and mounting pool of frustrated, angry young men.
“They are our people and they are fighting for our Rohingya homeland and our rights,” said Fateemah, a 50-year-old woman from Rakhine state’s Buthidaung Township. “We are ready to die in the fight, for our future generations.”
Ahmad Jarmal, for his part, feels badly betrayed. Back in his village, he had asked his ARSA recruiter when they would receive weapons to fight the Tatmadaw. “They told us we didn’t have to worry, so we thought we would receive weapons at some point. But we never got them.”
Embittered and disappointed, Ahmad Jarmal says he no longer considers himself an ARSA member, regardless of the risks of abandoning the group. But when asked about his desire to fight back against Myanmar’s military, he replied: “I would join the struggle if we got weapons, wherever they come from.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Interviewees’ real names have been changed and the exact names of villages have been withheld for security reasons.
the Muslim Rohingya & the influx of Muslim Bengalis needs to be explained from
1947: Muslim Rohingya Mujahideens insurgency demanding to secede portions of Yakhine State to be joined with the then East Pakisatn (Bangaldesh) to be with their Muslim Brothers. The beginnings of Religion taking precedence, not ethnicity.
Mr. Jinnah of Pakisatn refused this suggesstion and advised them it was an internal matter.
1970/71: Bangladesh War of Liberation and the Fratricide/Genocide of Urdu speaking Muslim against Bengali speaking Muslim – with more tnan 4 million lives lost and 10 million refugees crossing over the India/Myanmar borders.
1975: Bangladesh PM assassinated and once again Fratricide/Genocide Muslim against Muslim and more than 1 million lives lost and million refugees crossing over the India/Myanmar borders.
British FO record of converstaion between Bangladesh Ambassador Mr.Khawaja M Kaiser and British Ambassador Mr. Terence O’Brien one of the subject relating to Bengali Muslims from Bangaldesh crossing into Myanmad Yakhine State during the mentioned periods.
I could be safely assumed that more than 1 million would have crossed over and subsequent population increase with the acknowledged prolific breeding of the Bengali Muslims, as such the current estimated Muslim Rohingya reverse crossin over from Myanmar to Banglades, even if at 1 million, is a fraction of what is still unaccounted for in Myanmar Territory.
Myanmar has been targeted by the UNHCR, World Meidia and with the interference of the Malaysian PM Najib Razak, dragging the OIC into the matter between Myanmar and Bangladesh a very possible Muslim/Buddhist problem, notwithstanding the current Musim/Christian & worse still Muslim/Muslim problems in the Middle East – it does appear that the Muslims ARE THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM.
Myanmar might consider whether the question of accepting those so called Rohingyas back, without first settling the unaccounted for Bengali Muslims taht are still in Myanmar.
Myanmar might also consider adopting the Muslim Bumiputra/Non-Bumiputra classification, priviliges, restrictions as is imposed in Malaysia, but a Myanmar Version with the objective of the restrictions to be imposed on the Muslim Rohingyas in particular and making exceptions for the accepted Bamar Muslims.
The more Bengali Rohingya ARSA Islamic terrorists want jihad war and waging it, the more they are killing themselves and their community. They simply don’t want peace while the whole world wants it. The whole world knows their lies and their hidden agenda.
The terrorist ARSA has committed atrocities and is solely responsible for this humanitarian crisis.
India and other humane nations need to do something to stop Burma genocide as well. Burma is a barbaric greedy racist nation. Latest proof is that Burmese Army are harvesting 71,000 acres of crops farmed by those Burmese Rohingya nationals who were recently burned alive or raped or forced to flee to save life. This is a classic example of state sponsored violation of human rights to property. Burma is likely to directly or indirectly damage the great OBOR initiative as well when it suits their greed. Suu Kyi along with her generals and monks must be tried so that none can state sponsor terrorism and extremism in this 21st century.
The Muslim hardcore groups in Rhakine state are financed by Saudi Arabia who are still promoting a tribalistic Islam called Wahabism. For years these muslims have cloistered themselves, reproducing at a high rate, even though they may be living in utter poverty, and refusing to blend with the majority Myamarese. In fact they carried out acts of rape and violence against the Buddhists. Their ultimate aim was a separate Rhakine state. Finally unable to take it anymore, a buddhist monk took it on himself to lead a retaliation against these muslim radicals. This had the blessing of the military government. The Muslim Rohingyas will not be alllowed to return, because the core of radical Islam is still there. Even India and Bangladesh don’t want them. They are trouble makers. Their leaders promote a high birth rate to get the numbers. Poverty is not their concern. In fact they make use of it to promote their brand of radical islam. Radical islam brought about their own ethnic cleansing, by taking on the Myanmar govt. Myanmar’s govt. did the right thing.
please know the fact
What is the goal of this kind of reporting while rohingya’s being slaughtered mercilessly? Where in the history did you find picking arms against injustice is wrong? Remember Baghwat Singh picked up arms against British and became a hero not a terrorist
What about other Muslim nations taking few Rohingas for the sake of Ummah!
You said Bangali farmers own 71,000 acres of crops, then how can you and the western media and muslim media accuse these Bangali were oppressed and put inside the camp?
WHAT IS ROHINGYA?
The term Rohingya is neither a name of an ethnic group nor a historical name instead that name was invented for the sake of a political movement.Hence it is a political term.
In the Chittagong dialect of Bangali
language,the Rakhine land (Arakan)
is called ‘ Rohan’ and the Rakhine
people (Arakanese) are called ‘Rohingya'(Rohan=Rakhine,gya=man)Some of the Muslim secessionists used the named to identified themselves to be the native of Arakan (Rakhine) in the Benglali language.
That’s why the whole populace of Burma cann’t accept that term as they are aware of historical data and
view this as a political play by a group who had secessionist ambitions.
The Rohingya Problem is not a basic
conflict between the Buddhists majorities and the muslin minorities
as the way some authors claimed because they are the majority in Northern Arakan .Also the Rohinya issue cann’t be compared with the
Karen, the Kachin, the Shan and the
other problems in Burma basically
because so-called Rohingyas do not
fall under the same catergory of ethnic minority.Most of them are illegal immigrants from over populated Bangladesh.
This problem is responsibility to ARSA group and backing Supporters who are links with international Fake name people as Rohingya self -identifying leader ARU groups. Those are creating crisis like that Kosovo Crisis of Ugoslavia .But we are humaniterian people but we did not like the liars who are nationalities of Bangladesh.
Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)
Press release 15 October 2017
How Long You Lie To Deny Rohingya Existence
We strongly condemn the remarks of Myanmar Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to American Ambassador Scot Marciel.
On 11 October the General said, “Rohingya are Bengali. The Bengalis were not taken into the country by Myanmar but by the colonialists. British colonialists were responsible for the problem. Their native place is really Bengal. They might have fled to the other country (Bangladesh) with the same language, race and culture as theirs, assuming they would be safer there. They are not the natives and the records prove that they were not even called Rohingya but just Bengalis during the colonial period.”
But the historical evidence or observation by Scottish doctor Francis Buchanan in 1795 proves “… Mohammedans, who have long been settled in Arakan, and who called themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan” The former Democratic government of Burma headed by Prime Minister U Nu had recognized Rohingya as an ethnic group of Burma equal to all other ethnic nationalities of the country. On top of that, as a people, the Rohingya have the UN-recognized group’s right to self-identify.
We remind Myanmar civil and military leaders that the true history of Arakan must be studied with minus Bama/Myanmar if they sincerely want to know the Rohingya historicity. Arakan was an independent country for centuries having extensive relations with Bengal (not with Burma) in all fields, political, ethnological, cultural and economic activities. It was Muslims who paid extraordinary contribution to the development of Arakan, with their sublime civilization, towards advancement of administration, literature, agriculture and economic activities.
We emphasize that the ancient people of Arakan were Indian Bengalis and the language then used had no connection with the present Rakhine, who have been largely Burmanized in language, culture and life style. Here the root cause of the problem in Arakan is the Burman annexation of it. That is why the Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen said, “Rohingya did not come to Burma. But the Burma came to Rohingya”.
We reiterate that Arakan is our ancestral homeland, where Muslim rule and influence lasted for centuries particularly during the glorious period of Mrauk-U dynasty (1430-1784). Followings are some of the realities of Arakan.
Arakan was virtually ruled by Muslims from 1430 to 1531.(Statement of Col. Ba Shin, the then Chairman of the Burma Historical Commission)
Islam spread and deeply rooted in Arakan since 8th century from where it further spread into interior Burma”. (Sasana Ronwas Htunzepho, a book published by military regime in 1997)
The Mrauk dynasty was a new golden age of power and prosperity with hybrid Buddhist-Islamic court, fusing tradition from Persia and India as well as the Buddhist worlds to the east.
Muslim etiquettes and manners, system of administration copying the imperial courts of Delhi and Guar had been practiced. Taslim or Muslim salutation was performed in the king’s palace.
The Muslim played the phenomenal rule of kingmakers with Muslim Prime Ministers, Lashkar Wizirs (Defence/War Ministers), and Ministers, Qadis, other administrators and large contingents of Muslim army.
The kings had involuntarily as well as voluntarily to adopt Muslim names and titles “Shah” “in addition to Pali names and titles. Mrauk-U kings appeared in Persian-inspired dress and the conical hats of Isfahan and Mughal Delhi.
Members of the Royal families and class of persons enjoying superior intellectual or social or economic status also willingly adopted Muslim names.
Muslim Qazi courts had been set up throughout the kingdom of Arakan.
Persian and Bengali languages were patronized and used as the official and court languages of Arakan.
Coins and medallions inscribing kalima (Islamic declaration of faith) in Persian and Arabic script were minted.
The people followed the Muslim tradition at home. Buddhist women of those days practiced “purda”.
Muslim missionary works hit the highest point. People converted into Islam in groups.
Muslims were in control of trade and business. They were the main forces of agriculture.
For more details, please contact:
Australia: Dr. Hla Myint + 61-423381904
Bangladesh: Ko Ko Linn: + 880-1726068413
Canada: Nur Hasim +1-519-5725359
Japan: Zaw Min Htut + 81-8030835327
U.K. Ronnie: +44-7783118354
U.S.A: Dr. Habibullah: +1-4438158609
PLEASE FORWARD THIS PRESS RELEASE TO YOUR CONTACTS
http://www.rohingya.org | forward to a friend
Copyright © 2017 Arakan Rohingya National Org., All rights reserved.
This is combination of all existing list
Our mailing address is:
Arakan Rohingya National Org.
134 Lowbrook Road, Ilford
Essex, IG1 2HJ
Add us to your address book
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences
I agreed with Mr.John Boyd.
“People of Al-Yakin came to our village and asked us to join them. We liked them because they assured us that they would get citizenship and rights for us."
…how naive can one be to believe that?…
Baydah Bakhat Shibly does not what he istalking about even aftering the article. Mr. Thein Maung facts are correct.
India is Bhagawat Singh land but Myanmar is not immigrant’s land. They can live as second citizens as lots others
This is pure Genocide, pre planned by the Myanmar government. 25 August attack was staged by the Myanmar army in the name of arsa.
Bogus story. Try to write about Mass killing of Rohingya people,raping their women and and burning their houses by Myanmar Army and Buddhist Monks . Now 1 Million Rohingya refugees are staying here in Bangladesh. Write about to take back them with full security and give them citizenship of Myanmar.
Don’t mix up the truth with fad intention. Is it your duty to blame Islam everywhere?
NiNi Maharaj Rohingya political participation in Burma
In the prelude to independence, two Arakanese Indians were elected to the Constituent Assembly of Burma in 1947, including M. A. Gaffar and Sultan Ahmed. After Burma became independent in 1948, M. A. Gaffar presented a memorandum of appeal to the Government of the Union of Burma calling for the recognition of the term "Rohingya", based on local Indian names of Arakan (Rohan and Rohang), as the official ethnicity of Arakanese Indians. Sultan Ahmed, who served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Minorities, was a member of the Justice Sir Ba Oo Commission charged with exploring whether Arakan Division should be granted statehood. During the Burmese general election, 1951, five Rohingyas were elected to the Parliament of Burma, including one of the country’s first two female MPs, Zura Begum. Six MPs were elected during the Burmese general election, 1956 and subsequent by-elections. Sultan Mahmud, a former politician in British India, became Minister of Health in the cabinet of Prime Minister of Burma U Nu. In 1960, Mahmud suggested that either Rohingya-majority northern Arakan remain under the central government or be made a separate province. However, during the Burmese general election, 1960, Prime Minister U Nu’s pledges included making all of Arakan into one province. The 1962 Burmese coup d’état ended the country’s Westminster-style political system. The 1982 Burmese citizenship law stripped most of the Rohingyas of their stake in citizenship.
Rohingya community leaders were supportive of the 8888 uprising for democracy. During the Burmese general election, 1990, the Rohingya-led National Democratic Party for Human Rights won four seats in the Burmese parliament. The four Rohingya MPs included Shamsul Anwarul Huq, Chit Lwin Ebrahim, Fazal Ahmed and Nur Ahmed. The election was won by the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who was placed under house arrest and not permitted to become prime minister. The Burmese military junta banned the National Democratic Party for Human Rights in 1992. Its leaders were arrested, jailed and tortured.
Rohingya politicians have been jailed to disbar them form contesting elections. In 2005, Shamsul Anwarul Huq was charged under Section 18 of the controversial 1982 Burmese citizenship law and sentenced to 47 years in prison. In 2015, a ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party MP Shwe Maung was disbarred from the Burmese general election, 2015, on grounds that his parents were not Burmese citizens under the 1982 citizenship law.
As of 2017, Burma does not have a single Rohingya MP and the Rohingya population have no voting rights.
Who is behind this all, similar to DAESH, the Deep State Establishment behind all the wars in Middle East and now aiming South and South East Asia. No war means no business selling ammo.
To THE GENERAL SECRECTARY OF UNITED NATION
Those are nationalities of Bangladesh who are repatriation to home land. Same religious, Same culture, same face and
complextion skin colour. Nothing to reject for those who are now refugees in Bangladesh . We tell them not to migrant to Bangladesh but they like to
repatriate their home land is their
choice which is human right, humanitarian but we don’t want to invade internaltional human right law.
Read this passage .
That article for Bengali self-identifying as Rohingya is only a word that is call to Arakan Buddhist by Bengali. It is a fake name for nationality of Chittagongian who
are the illegal migrants whom were carried by train since1937 , it was under Bristish Empire and after, about 500,000 Bangladeshi immigrated into Myanmar before and after Bangladesh independance war in 1971 .
We had made a research that tell us ”Rohingya meaned masscresers , slaughters, Robber all the land and wealthy of Buddhist ethnic , Ethnic genociders (in 1942) and ethnic cleansers (2012/2016/2017).” There is a some remarkable that you may search the name
Rohingya is no in British Gazetteer in those days but in conference of Ale Thankyaw at Maungdaw Township , they
choosed a name as Rohingya as to be
ethnic by Muslims in 1951.
These root cause of ISLAMIZATION and Genocide is responsibity of Qeen Elizabeth and her British government from up to now .
The Bangladesh is only responsibility to settle and must have settlement the repatriators and the problem
of Bengali who are nationalities of your nation .
This crisis was not created but Bengali
politician group ARU and his accompanies OIC Turkey, other GORGE
SOROS , ISI, our nighbour country have plotted this plot to be plot thickens with their alliances . You show
datas of 6 lakhs of fefugees are not as many as the realities . They exilic ARU
and his alliances are the most responsibility of this unsolved problems.
The incident which started all this was the rape and killing of a non Muslim girl by Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. There is no mention of it.
For nearly 70 years Muslims have been crossing over from Bangladesh to Rakhine state in Myanmar and multiplying like worms to take secede this part of land from Myanmar. The same trick is applied by Bangladesh Muslims in North Eastern India.
Enkay Dahiya Thats why you are killing them, the way Hitler tried to solve by Nazi operation.
Baydah Bakhat By Military force to take their land.
Jack Maker Why you are not allowing UN. ICC, HRW to verify the killing fields of Rakhyne.
Your army is doung the same thing.
Your Min Aung Hlaing who created ARSA to fool the world, thats why he not allowing UN. ICC, HRW to visit the killing field of Rakhyne. To hide his atricity on the innocent.
Comments are closed.