The Forgotten Muslims of Myanmar

by Arsalan Iftikhar

In a [recent public letter](” target=”_blank) from 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the famous South African peace activist emotionally pleaded with 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn the ethnic cleansing of over 1 million Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar which she currently leads today.

“Your emergence into public life allayed our concerns about violence being perpetrated against members of the [Muslim] Rohingya,” wrote Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his public letter to Myanmar’s de facto leader. “But what some have called ‘ethnic cleansing’ and others ‘a slow genocide’ has persisted – and recently accelerated” against the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community in the country formerly known as Burma.

“It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness [like you] to lead such a country,” continue the legendary human rights activist who famously fought apartheid alongside Nelson Mandela. “If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep.â€

Desmond Tutu is not the only Nobel Peace Prize laureate demanding that Myanmar’s de facto leader condemn the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in her country.

“Stop the violence. Today we have seen pictures of small children killed by Myanmar’s security forces,†[wrote](” target=”_blank) 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai in a public statement on the anti-Muslim pogrom taking place on Aung San Suu Kyi’s watch. “Over the last several years, I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same. The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting,†added Malala.

In addition to reports of systemic rape, mass murders and brutal beheadings, the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also reported that the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing into neighboring Bangladesh in the last two weeks alone to escape the violence in Myanmar has shot up to nearly 300,000 refugees.

Furthermore, a UN official recently [told Reuters](” target=”_blank) that more than 1,000 Muslims may have already been murdered by Myanmar security forces.

“The numbers [of Rohingya Muslim refugees] are so alarming. It really means we have to step up our response and that the situation in Myanmar has to be addressed urgently,” a local UN official recently told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “The vast majority are women, including mothers with newborn babies, families with children. They arrive in poor condition, exhausted, hungry and desperate for shelter.”

This ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar will continue to spiral out of control until our global community provides financial assistance to humanitarian groups who can help provide food, water and shelter to nearly half-a-million people escaping anti-Muslim violence in the Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.

Arsalan Iftikhar is founder of []( ” target=”_blank) and brand ambassador for Penny Appeal USA.

Penny Appeal USA is currently working to provide the ethnic Rohingya with food, medicine, and shelter. Please support our campaign to provide aid assistance to a people the U.N. has named “The Forgotten People” by clicking here.