“What kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk?”
Muslim minorities around the world often face horrendous treatment at the hands of those who are meant to protect them and sadly, the media narrative of Islam is so often focused on trying to associate any stories involving Muslims with negativity that these atrocities go unnoticed.
A damming report by the UN has stated that crimes against humanity are currently being carried out by the security forces in Myanmar (also known as Burma.)
The government of Myanmar denies any claims of ethnic cleansing, saying it is conducting counter-terrorism operations in the region but after many of the Rohingya minority have fled to Bangladesh, their stories have become known; of which, some readers may find the accounts distressing.
There are an estimated one million Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, but they are a minority in the mainly Bhuddist country and are deemed to be illegal migrants from Bangladesh by many, despite having lived in the area for generations. They are denied citizenship and consequently treated without respect or access to basic human rights by the government.
When violence broke out in 2012 it left many Muslims dead and displaced more than 100,000 people.
Since then, many have still be living in make shift refugee camps and face widespread discrimination and mistreatment. The UN report reveals cases of brutal atrocities:
One mother told the UN how her five-year-old daughter was murdered while trying to protect her from rape. She went on to say a man “took out a long knife and killed her by slitting her throat”. Another mother, was gang raped by five ‘security officers’ whilst her eight month old baby was killed infront of her.
The violence is undeniably based on the disregard for their religious freedom, with many victims saying they were taunted as they were being beaten or raped, with the perpetrators telling them: “What can your Allah do for you? See what we can do?”
Speaking about the report the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein said: “The cruelty to which these Rohingya people have been subjected is unbearable – what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk?
“I call on the international community, with all its strength, to join me in urging the leadership in Myanmar to bring such military operations to an end.”
In Pope Francis’ weekly address on Wednesday, he criticized the Myanmar government, demanding that the Rohingya Muslims have the right to “live their faith.”