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Muslim states ask Suu Kyi to help end sectarian violence


The head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday to help end violence against the Muslim Rohingya community in Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi at the Department for International Development in London during her recent five-country European tour. Photo: DFID“As a Nobel peace laureate, we are confident that the first step of your journey towards ensuring peace in the world would start from your own doorstep,” OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told Suu Kyi in a letter.

Ihsanoglu said the OIC urged Suu Kyi to “play a positive role in bringing an end to the violence that has afflicted Arakan (Rakhine) State.”

He asked the newly elected lawmaker to work to convince the government to accept “an international inquiry into the recent violence, granting free access to humanitarian aid groups and international media” in Arakan (Rahkine) State, which saw deadly clashes last month between Muslims and Buddhists.

The head of the 57-member pan-Muslim body called for the quick return of the victims to their respective areas, expressing his “deep concern about the unabated and continuous violation of Rohingya rights in Myanmar.”

In the letter, Ihsanoglu invited Suu Kyi to visit OIC headquarters in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Communal violence in June between ethnic Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya left dozens dead and tens of thousands homeless.

A state of emergency is still in place after the outbreak of violence, which prompted reformist President Thein Sein to warn it could damage the speed of the country's emergence from decades of military rule. About 800,000 Rohingya live in Burma, according to the United Nations, which views them as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Speaking a Bengali dialect similar to one in southeast Bangladesh, many Rohingya are seen as illegal immigrants by the Burmese government and many Burmese, prompting many to attempt to flee to third countries in rickety boats. They are denied citizenship in Burma.
Last Updated ( Friday, 06 July 2012 15:43 )  

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