Image: Muslim-background believers gather together in a Rohingya camp with only a Bible.
“Friends, we ask for your prayers for the Rohingya Muslims and Christian converts who are in great distress in Myanmar,” writes an Open Doors contact in South East Asia.
In recent weeks, the Rohingya people – a Muslim-minority group containing Christian converts living in Rakhine State – have suffered fierce attacks from the Burmese military and Buddhist neighbours. Villages have been burnt, people raped and scores killed in violence, causing as many as 87,000 people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.
“[Because of government restrictions and poor security] the UNCHR has withdrawn their protection for the refugees, who are bearing the brunt of attacks of the Burmese government and Buddhist fundamentalists who do not welcome them,” says the Open Doors contact.
Despite international outrage, the de facto leader of Myanmar and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has remained silent over the increased violence, and expectations that her government would recognise the Rohingya as citizens have so far been unmet. “Now, the Rohingya are being hunted down as ‘Muslim extremists’,” writes the Open Doors contact.
Christian converts in the Rohingya tribe may also face added vulnerability during this time from their own tribe. Last year, Muslim Rohingya refugees destroyed homes belonging to Christian Rohingya in a refugee camp because of their faith.
Find out more about persecution in Myanmar, which ranks as number 28 on the Open Doors 2017 World Watch List.
Source: Open Doors; The Guardian; BBC
- For safety for the Rohingya people, particularly those travelling on dangerous tracks to refugee camps
- That food and other provisions would reach the Rohingya, despite the travel restrictions imposed by the Burmese government in Rakhine State
- For a change of heart for Aung San Suu Kyi, and that she would be able to advocate for the Rohingya
- That believers from a Muslim background would be protected from further discrimination in their hometowns and refugee camps.