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Gaza Friday Sermons Lament Plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya

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UN continues to document murders, rapes and disappearances perpetrated against Myanmar’s Muslim minority

Mosque imams in the blockaded Gaza Strip devoted much of their Friday sermons to the ongoing plight of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.

“News about what is happening to the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is just the tip of the iceberg,” Wael al-Zerd, the imam at Gaza City’s Palestine Mosque, declared in his sermon.

“We aren’t being told the full story of what is actually happening there,” he added.

Criticizing international rights groups and the wider international community, he asked: “Where are those who always talk about human rights now that the Rohingya are being massacred?”

Al-Zerd went on to urge the Muslim and Arab world to intervene on behalf of Myanmar’s oppressed Muslim minority.

Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed. 

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. 

In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity.

Fresh violence erupted in Rakhine state nearly two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya.

Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingya refugees, has faced a fresh influx of refugees since the security operation was launched. 

According to the UN, 270,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh as of Friday.


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