The Open Discussions / The Gulf Cultural Club
Deafening silence on Rohingya Muslims
The plight of the Muslims in Myanmar is bleak. The atrocities that have been and are being committed against them by the military is tantamount to genocide. Despite pleas for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to take a stand and stop the onslaught on these powerless people, she has remained silent. The Nobel peace prize winner is facing international criticism for her government’s handling of a crisis in the Muslim-majority Rakhine region, where soldiers have blocked access for aid workers and are accused of raping and killing civilians and burning whole villages inhabited by the Rohingya Muslims.
The Burma Campaign UK today called on the British government to immediately halt training programmes being provided for free to the Burmese military.
Tuesday 12th September 2017
Chairman Shabbir Rizvi: The plight of the Muslims in Myanmar is bleak. The atrocities that have been and are being committed against them by the military is tantamount to genocide. Despite pleas for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to take a stand and stop the onslaught on these powerless people, she has remained silent. The Nobel peace prize winner is facing international criticism for her government’s handling of a crisis in the Muslim-majority Rakhine region, where soldiers have blocked access for aid workers and are accused of raping and killing civilians and burning whole villages inhabited by the Rohingya Muslims. The Burma Campaign UK today called on the British government to immediately halt training programmes being provided for free to the Burmese military.
So the situation is of course with so many crisis taking place on this planet, sometimes an issue like this is neglected. However it appears if one is keeping an eye on social media and in other spaces where coverage is being provided even though on the mainstream media very little has been said.
So the situation is really quite dramatic even though the Rohingya Muslims constitute less than five percent of the 58 – 60million of the Burmese population. The extraordinary thing that we need to understand in Burma’s context is that it is a Buddhist country and globally we are told that the Buddhists are the most peace loving people on this planet. And they have actually participated in this atrocity in the killing fields that we are seeing in Burma.
Just in historical context, I would like to say as a preamble that even during the British time when Britain was effectively ruling Burma there were killings going on for the last hundreds of years but it has really come to a point where without doubt effectively ethnic cleansing is taking place.
I think it would be interesting for the audience to know that the last Mughal King Bahadur Shah Zafar was also exiled in Rangoon at that time. The wonderful thing that the British did was to send the two heads of his sons, chopping them off and giving them as a gift to the last Mughal emperor there. So the British I suppose in some ways, wherever they have been have created this situation for the minorities. In some places they tried to promote the minority to rule the majority but in other places the minorities have been marginalised and cleansed.
Assed Baig: Salam Aleikum. I will start off by talking about the Rohingya and what I saw when I twice visited the camps in Rakhine state. When you go there the first thing that strikes you is the dire situation. It is apartheid in everything but name. The areas are cut off, they do not have freedom of movement, they do not have access to health and education. The first time I went many of them were living in tents. The second time I went some of the aid agencies had built some kind of wooded shacks but that is it. The first time I went was in 2013 and the last time was maybe a few years ago.
The first time I went was after the first wave of violence. What is interesting is that we are talking about ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and it is definitely ethnic cleansing – the warning signs were there as seen by the language that led up to this. I interviewed a Buddhist monk. He did not know I was a Muslim. You say you are British and they just assume you are not Muslim. He asked: “ Why did you go to Sitaray?” I said I wanted to see the situation of the Rohingya. He said: “There are no Rohingya here. They are Bengali immigrants.”
The Buddhists monks preach that you can’t even kill a fly or a mosquito but look at the language and the vitriol directed towards the Rohingya – they are considered less than animals and the hatred directed towards them from the top down. This is not fascism that we are seeing from the bottom up. This is a top down approach. It comes from the military leaders. It comes from the politicians. It comes from the religious elite. It is not only the Rohingya that this language is directed against. It is directed against all Muslims. In 2013 in central Myanmar Burmese Muslims, who are considered citizens, were massacred in Meiktila. What was interesting is that the monk who was there had been campaigning and preaching a message of hate. He calls himself the Burmese Bin Laden. He openly says this.
The Muslims and the Rohingya in particular are considered less than human. So when you to Rokayne state and you speak to the Rokaynes and you ask them what happened during the violence they say the Rohingya (or the Bengalis as they call them) burned their own homes. The same thing that we are hearing now. They burnt their own homes and they inflicted this on themselves. There is a level of collusion from the state and the people who had massacred the Rohingya. What we are seeing now is a result of what has been happening over 30 years. Their citizenship was stripped by the military junta. They said if you can’t prove how many generations you were in Burma you are not considered a citizen. Of course when these people are poor, they were originally marginalised and the paper work does not exist.
What was interesting was that the first time I went in 2013 there was still hope. When you spoke to people there was still hope. Many said they hoped that Aung San Suu Kyi would come to power and do them good. I was surprised that they were saying this. Many of them I spoke to said this.
The second time I went I saw the loss of hope in their eyes. I had contacts, I had friends and they had completely given up – the educated people whose families had been educated before 1982 and who had gone to university had lost hope. What do you do? Do you just sit around all day dependent on aid. This was in Sitaray. And now this round of Rohingya violence, ethnic cleansing and genocide which the world does not understand. They cannot put fascism and Buddhism together. This is fascism. There is no other way of describing it.
The Myanmar government said that 400 people have been killed. That is the latest figure. I can tell you now without even going there. I am a journalist and you know we are objective and impartial. It is a lie. It is a blatant lie. People will realise maybe in a month’s time, maybe in a year’s time that the number will be far, far greater. This is the largest mass movement of people in this short period of time in the 21st century. Two hundred and fifty thousand people. A quarter the Rohingya population forced outside the country. There are already 400,000 Rohingya living in Bangladesh.
And the stories are horrific. When I was there we spoke to eye witnesses. We heard that Rohingya women were being kept as sex slaves in a military camp. And we spoke to eye witnesses that saw women being kept at that military camp. Some of them had fallen pregnant and some of them had given birth.
The second time I went was after the violence in Mangal and I spoke to a 16-year-old girl who had been gang raped by six soldiers, if I recall correctly. Sixteen years old. I still remember her crying and her voice cracking as she spoke to me over the phone because we were not allowed into those areas and crying as she recalled the details of that horrific act.
One day we were filming in the camps. A man stopped me, he was maybe 50 years old and I could see his rib cage and he said we are like the walking dead. I asked: “What do you mean?” And he said: “We just exist.” It is really difficult to describe these peoples’ lives. What do these children have to look forward to? We have hopes and dreams for our own children, but what do these children have to look forward t.?
There has been state involvement in this. There is no doubt. Even as journalists we sometimes try to simplify and say it is ethnic violence between two communities. Yes it is but it is more than that. It is more than that. There is state collusion. There are documents which reveal they were talking about the Rohingya and the violence and cleansing them. What we are seeing is that those people who that have escaped to Bangladesh are the luckily ones. There are still people hiding out in the mountains. There are still people inside Myanmar whose lives are hell while waiting to either be killed or starved to death. Some of them can’t afford to pay the Bangladeshi fishermen to take them across the river and that is their situation right now.
As journalists we see this kind of amnesia against what is happening and the simplification. The Rokayne Rohingya Salvation Army (RRSA) is the one that attacked the police check points and this is a response. Yes. But this goes back 39 years. It is a testament to the Rohingya that they have not fought back. That they did not take up arms. They did not do anything. And just look at the RRSA. They are a few hundred men, many of them boys, some of them carrying sticks and knives and some of them have guns. Yes. But you must be careful that history did not start when the RRSA attacked the police check point and the army base.
And to Aung San Suu Kyi, the West’s heroine, this leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize. She does not control the military. The reforms made sure she does not have control of the security apparatus. But not even condemnation. In her interview with the BBC she said that ethnic cleansing is too strong a word to use. And then she questioned Mishal Hussein, she is a Muslim.
I think the world has to wake up to the fact that you know what Aung San Auu Kyi is not this saviour, she is not this hero and in fact is of the same anti-Muslim Islamaphoboic ilk as everybody else. If you want to look at a society where anti-Muslim hatred is mainstream look at Myanmar, look at Burma. It is mainstream. Everywhere I went I heard this kind of language and vitriol. Yes there are good monks. I met them. Yes there are good Rokane. I met some. They said that what happened was terrible and it is disgusting. But they could not speak up. They felt afraid to speak up because they said everybody here is just so filled with hate.
When the violence happened in 2012 there were some Rokane still doing business with the Rohingya. They would sell them stuff and sell aid. There is a picture of one man being marched through the market with a sign hung around his neck labelling him a traitor. That is the kind of environment that exists there.
The international community has generally been silent about this. It has been going on for years. And now Bangladesh has found its voice after the international community kicked up a fuss: Turkey and many other countries.
I can’t begin to explain the situation. You go there, you see the tents, you see the children playing in the dirt. You see aid agencies have put some hand pump wells in. You see kids in makeshift schools. You see the little markets that they have set up. You won’t see any Rokane. In fact in Sitaray the university is where the camps are. So every day the Rohingya see the Rokane students go to Sitaray University and they watch them come there and go to university. And the Rohingya are looking at that university and they can’t go there. They have no access to it.
What does that do to a young person? What does that say to them? People talk about second class citizens. I have to reiterate these people are not second class citizens. They are not considered second class. They are not even considered human. Literally these people are not even considered human.
And I will go back to that Buddhist monk I spoke to. He said: “You don’t know what it is like in Burma. We have to live with these people. They are not from here. They are illegal immigrants.” He couldn’t bring himself to say ‘Rohingya’. For them that word does not exist. They do not want to acknowledge that word. That is the situation that has led up to what we see now.
But where do we go from here because these peoples’ villages have been torched. Human Rights Watch said that satellite images show those vast areas being torched. What are we going to have? Are we going to have a quarter of the population living outside the country, in camps unable to return?
There does not seem to be any change coming from Myanmar. No change of policy. No intention. It does not even seem there is an intention to change. What is going to happen?
What about the United Nations? When ISIS was ethnically cleansing the Yazidis and enslaving them the West was keen to go in and start bombing. I am not calling for the West to start bombing the country. Don’t get me wrong. Just compare the outrage, compare what is actually going on and what the world leaders are saying about the Rohingya.
Yet this country, the UK, has been training Burmese military. Tax payers money going to them. This country is selling arms to Burma. And what did Boris Johnson say? He has been very supportive of Aung Sam Suu Kyi. So there are questions to be asked from this government, the UK government. What are they doing? They know what is going on. MPs from this country have been to Rokayne state. They have seen the situation of the Rohingya. They know full well what is going on. You can’t hide anymore, especially what has happened over the last few weeks. It is all over our tv screens.
Last night I saw a report of a child. He was in hospital. His mother said I always asked God for sons and he gave me sons and my son has had his legs blown off by a land mine and the hospital has run out of blood. She said it is better if he dies now because he is just suffering.
This was something I experienced again and again throughout. When I was speaking to the Rohingya there was a kind of complete desperation. So it is not a surprise to me that there has been armed resistance. It is not a surprise at all. It is surprising to me that it took so long. And now I think that maybe in the future since we have more Rohingya living outside of Burma wanting to return and their situation is getting more desperate, I think we will see an increase in armed resistance against the Burmese regime. What does the world offer them? What has anyone got to offer the Rohingya people? They just want to be recognised, they want to be seen as citizens, they want their rights but the world offers them nothing. We will put you in refugee camps, we will give you some aid and we will speak some harsh words to Aung San Suu Kyi and some of the world leaders but there is no solution.
And the solution is that the Rohingya are allowed to return to safety, their rights guaranteed and they are considered full citizens of Burma. That is the only solution. And I don’t think there should be a compromise on that from the international community. These are the most oppressed people on this earth. Thank you.
Massoud Shajarah: Salam aleikum and first of all I would like to thank the organisers and Abrar House for organising this meeting. It is very timely. And also I would like to thank them for inviting me to speak.
The situation of Rohingya Muslims has been well established as one of the most oppressed groups of people. The United Nations has actually acknowledged that for many, many years. So the situation we are seeing on our tv screens is nothing new. For many years we have been following the situation. As a matter of fact I dragged out the first report the Islamic Human Rights Commission produced. It was in 2004 and was published in 2005. The title of it was Myanmar Muslims: The Oppressed of the Oppressed. I think the title is appropriate.
At that time you could hardly hear on the mainstream media or even in the Muslim community or ethnic press anything. But the reality was that the raping, the torching, destruction and discrimination went on. The fact is that Rohingya Muslims could not even marry one another without permission and they were being systematically raped and there were many children as a result of this rape. The whole fabric of the communities was destroyed. As you know rape is a very horrifying tool when it is used systematically in a war situation. Or ethnic cleansing. It is not just the immediate victims but the whole community that suffers. They have not been allowed to go to university and other forms of discrimination have been going on for many, many years.
Assed is absolutely right. At that time there was a feeling that this is driven by the military junta. And indeed it was. At that time there was no involvement of Buddhist monks being part of this oppression. This oppression was just done by the military and it was a military policy. Rohingya Muslims were the largest of the excluded groups.
It is important to know that the Rohingya Muslims are not the only Muslims in Myanmar. There are actually 33 different ethnic Muslim groups in Myanmar and they are all being oppressed but not to the level of the Rohingya Muslims. They have been chosen for this process.
When we talk about Aung San Suu Kyi Assed is right. There were many people who were hopeful about her. They were feeling that this is something that was driven by the military junta and if the military junta is removed that would automatically remove this whole scenario and you would see a change. To see the removal of the military junta everybody was looking at Aung San Suu Kyi.
But unfortunately we learned that a number of people went and approached her when she as under house arrest and discussed the issue of the Rohingya with her – one of the main issues for Myanmar. Her response was that these are not citizens of the country and she would never accept their citizenship and allow them to live within Myanmar. That was extremely disappointing.
Unfortunately when she came to power and the greater the democratisation the greater the oppression of the Rohingya Muslims actually became. It was exactly the opposite of what everyone was thinking. The more democratisation, the more freedom, the less the military got involved. But there was more involvement of the military and more killing of Rohingya Muslims.
Assed drew a very realistic picture of what is going on and I want to talk about what was happening when people ran away. After our report we tried to set up different infrastructure and support for the Rohingya Muslims. I remember not far from here we had a meeting and we invited Muslim aid agencies and we were urging them to do something. At that time it was more possible to do something. It is not possible now. Unfortunately nothing was done.
We went to Malaysia and we urged our partners over there to do something and indeed Citizens International and Sheikh Azmi in particular set up the Myanmar Support Organisation which is now playing an extremely important role in support of the Rohingya Muslims and they have made arrangements with the government. When people leave Myanmar, it is really a dangerous scenario. Many of these boats are actually sunk. Many of them end up in the hands of traffickers. They are taken as slaves and many are killed. So this process of actually getting away is in itself really not safe. It is very dangerous.
What they have actually set up is that once the boat leaves they are informed, they inform the Malaysian coast guard and the Malaysian coast guard waits for the boat to arrive so they will have some level of safety. Some of the work that we have done with them is to try and identify what happened when people left.
They go through to Thailand. In Thailand unfortunately we managed to find quite a large number of mass graves of Rohingya Muslims being massacred, men women, children, young old – actually murdered by the traffickers and everything they had being taken away from them.
Really I think it is not as simple as people just leaving and having a better life be it even as a refugee. The government of Bangladesh has been repeatedly calling them terrorists and really demonising them.
I want to spend a few minutes trying to identify why this is happening. Burma became Myanmar and there are many many different groups and the national identity is not there. There are many tribes. Thirty three of them are Muslim and there are many more from different backgrounds. To bond these together and create a national identity is what we are seeing. And unfortunately there is an old fascist idea that to bond people together all you need is to find a common enemy and then target that common enemy. By doing so you give them a national identity. This is exactly what Hitler did. This is exactly what happened in Bosnia Herzegovina. It is what is happening there.
And who would you chose but a group of Muslims who are demonised all around the world anyway. If anybody is not going to get any help or support around the world or sympathy then it will be a group of Muslims. That calculation is horrible as it is actually working because no one really seems to care for this group of people to be treated in this way. If another human being from any other background would have been treated in this way and the international community would not be apathetic towards them. Even is large numbers of cats and dogs were treated in this way there would have been more sympathy.
I am really ashamed as a human being to say this. I am not saying this with any pride. It is shameful on every single one of us to see this happening on television every night. I am also very ashamed of what we have not done as fellow human beings, as fellow Muslims.
There is a lot of sympathy. I know that at last Sunday’s demonstration people who had probably never been to a demonstration came out. We could see that very clearly. They came out not knowing what to do but feeling this was something little they could.
People say we should remove Aung San Suu Kyi’s noble peace trophy. No. We should put her in jail. If you take away her trophy she becomes one person like me and who have not got a trophy. This is not a punishment for someone who under their watch, under their control we are seeing so many people perishing because of the silence. The silence is actually legitimising this. The silence of our prime minister is legitimising this. The silence of the international community is legitimising this.
At the 11th hour we have the United Nations saying this is ethnic cleansing. For God sake even a four year old child will understand that this is ethnic cleansing by watching News Night. What is the international community doing? They are supposed to support people. And the same thing goes for the OIC. What is this organisation all about. It has done nothing for anyone whatsoever. It was created to support the Palestinian cause and it has not lifted a finger to support the cause of anyone.
We actually have to really understand the consequences of inaction and apathy and legitimisation of these murders that are taking place while we are sitting here and talking. It goes far beyond the effect that it going to have on the victims. It actually legitimises other ethnic cleansing that is going on. We are seeing what is happening in India. And it is being fuelled by another pompos leader. And if the international community does not do anything here it will have a political kick back and it will not do anything in India.
And we are going to see further and further the legitimisation of killing innocent people. Since I have been involved in doing the research there were originally four million Rohingya Muslims. Now it is very difficult to say exactly. But I would be extremely surprised if there are even 800,000 left because the numbers are decreasing all the time.
I am old enough to remember Bosnia day by day. At that time I was also quite active. The phone calls which were coming in, the communication which was coming in. Yet again another town has fallen. Everybody has been killed with the exception of a few who managed to get away. And we were getting the same message every night, every day from Myanmar. More villages are falling, burnt completely. And the international community is silent.
I urge you all to do something. Talking is not an option any more. We need to have action by the international community. Our prime minster keeps on telling us about British values. Is it British values to keep silent and help and arm and train people to kill and do ethnic cleansing and commit genocide. Are these the new British values? We really need to hold all these to account and everyone all around the world has to be urged to do something not to talk but to actually do an action. Thank you very much.
Chairman: Thank you very much Brother Massoud for your perspective on the prospect of what may happen to minorities not only in Myanmar but possibly in China and also the huge number of Muslims living in India. It does open doors for other xenophobic leaders to take this as an example and if they can get away with it in Myanmar perhaps we are in for a shock in the next years and decades to come. I hope not. Leaders who are against Muslims will see that if the world does not do anything then they can also get away with it.
We all should be reminded of the command of Allah,
وَإِنِ اسْتَنْصَرُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ فَعَلَيْكُمُ النَّصْرُ
“and if they seek your help in the Deen, it is your duty to help them” [Surah Al-Anfaal 8:72]
I’d like to start by talking of the hurricanes, Harvey and Irma. They brought great havoc and devastation. But, we were aware of them and much planning went into alleviating the suffering. Irma was tracked and studied all the way from Ethiopia. Evacuations in the Caribbean and Florida were thought out and planned. Literally millions were affected and enormous numbers evacuated to safe areas. Despite this dozens died, and many lost their homes. A tragedy.
However, I’d like you to ponder for just a moment. Can you imagine, and we have had blanket news coverage of these hurricanes in recent days. Can you imagine the response if the neighbouring States – Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina had just closed their border, refused to help. Pleaded there are too many. We can’t help and won’t help. Just imagine the outcry in the US and worldwide to such an outrage. “Go back to your hurricane, tough it out in the streets, we don’t want you”
Yet, in this completely man made atrocity the genocide of a people in Burma (Myanmar) this is the response and not just from neighbouring Bangladesh. This is the appalling state of affairs in the Muslim world today – we do nothing. The regimes ruling over us – do nothing – in fact worse – they are complicit in the genocide. They block their borders. They ignore the pleas for help.
“and if they seek your help in the Deen, it is your duty to help them”
Amidst the blanket hurricane news reports the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a couple of days ago said it appears to be “a text book case of ethnic cleansing”. As if it’s something to study! Academics will look back at this example in the fullness of time. Too bad, where is the next news item. Dozens killed by a hurricane, and Oh by the way, there is a genocide of thousands of people going on. Next news item please. It is not as if this was unforeseen. Like the hurricane we have seen it so many times when it comes to this region.
The historians mention that Islam first entered the country in 788 CE at the time of the Khaleefah Harun al-Rashid, when the Islamic Khilafah was the leading state in the world and had been for many centuries. Islam began to spread throughout Burma, when the Burmese saw its greatness, truth and justice. The Muslims ruled Arakan province for more than three and half centuries, between 1430 CE and 1784 CE. Before the supposedly peaceful Buddhists occupied it and wreaked havoc in the province, killing many Muslims in the process.
In 1942, the Muslims were exposed to massacres at the hands of the Buddhists, which claimed the lives of around one thousand Muslims and led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of them out of the country. In 1948, Britain granted Burma formal independence and one year earlier Britain had held a conference preparing for independence and called on all the groups and ethnicities in the country to the conference, with the exception of the Muslims.
More than half a million Muslims were expelled from the country in 1978, with more than forty thousand of them, including elderly, women and children, dying due to the harsh conditions imposed on them, according to the statistics of the refugee agency of the United Nations. In 1988, more than 150 thousand Muslims left, and more than half a million Muslims became subjected to forced expulsion from the country.
In June 2012, a group of Buddhists attacked a bus carrying Muslims killing nine of them. In the wake of this, mass attacks including the torching of houses and further expulsions ensued. Tens of thousands of Muslims were forced from their homes.
For decades, the Rohynga Muslims have faced killings, displacement and expulsion from their homes, as well as demolition of their homes and communities at the hands of spiteful Buddhists. All with the support of successive Burmese regimes.
The Rohingya have experienced decades of living in apartheid squalid conditions and abject poverty, deprived of basic rights to education, healthcare and work, subjected to draconian marriage and child-bearing regulations to curb their numbers, and denied citizenship by the brutal Myanmar regime. They have been rendered stateless in a land that they have lived in for generations.
And we haven’t learnt from this sorry history.
“and if they seek your help in the Deen, it is your duty to help them”
What is the text book? Rape, burning villages, mortaring, burning people alive, beheading children, laying landmines. The tools of tyranny. The world is ignoring it as the recipients are Muslim. There is no other reason.
You may have seen the tortured images of a young Muslim mother on the news last night in a makeshift hospital. She had asked Allah (swt) for a son, had been blessed with one. But now she pleaded with Allah to take her son as he was in such pain, having lost both legs to a landmine whilst fleeing persecution.
What about the response of the regimes and rulers of the Muslim world to this genocide against Muslims. The Hasina regime in Bangladesh, instead of welcoming these persecuted Muslims to its shores and providing them sanctuary has either ordered its border guards to push them away leaving them to drown in their boats or to return to Myanmar’s killing fields, or it has placed them in squalid camps that lack basic necessities, even refusing to recognize them as refugees.
Where is there a state in the world that truly represents the interests of the Muslims and that will strike fear into the hearts of the Myanmar military and Buddhist butchers so that they will not dare to harm a single Rohingya Muslim man, woman or child?
We know that there is no such state, no such system, no international body in the world today which will do this because we have seen the massacres of Muslims in Syria… and the world did nothing; the massacres of Muslims in Central Africa… and the world did nothing; the mass killings of Muslims in Kashmir, Somalia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere… and yet the world does nothing!
And Allah (swt) says,
وَمَا لَكُمۡ لَا تُقَـٰتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡمُسۡتَضۡعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ وَٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلۡوِلۡدَٲنِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآأَخۡرِجۡنَا مِنۡ هَـٰذِهِ ٱلۡقَرۡيَةِ ٱلظَّالِمِ أَهۡلُهَا وَٱجۡعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّ۬ا وَٱجۡعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا
“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?”
Messenger ﷺ said, «إِنَّمَا الْإِمَامُ جُنَّةٌ يُقَاتَلُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِ وَيُتَّقَى بِهِ»
“The Imam is but a shield, behind whom the Muslims fight and by whom they are protected.”
Security will not return to the Muslims in that land unless the Khilafah returns under which they took refuge and sought protection, since the time of Khaleefah Harun al-Rashid and for more than three and half centuries. It is only the Khilafah which will provide them security. The solution required is political, to change the regimes which blight the landscape throughout the Muslim world.
“If this world were to be destroyed, that would be less significant before Allah (SWT) than the unlawful killing of a believer.” [Ibn Majah]
*Assed Baig is a trained broadcast and print journalist and has worked around the world including the Central African Republic, Myanmar and Libya. He has also worked as a reporter for Channel 4 News and the BBC. He was born and bred in Birmingham but currently works out of London. Pakistan, Kashmir, Bosnia and Somalia are some of the countries he has reported from as well as having spent time living in Syria and Mauritania. He has specialist knowledge of the Muslim community and Islam.
**Massoud Shadjareh is chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission. He is a veteran human rights campaigner, who began his activism on campus at UCAL Berkley during the anti-Vietnam protest movement in the late 1960s. He came to the UK in 1971 and has worked in the voluntary sector for some 15 years. In 1997 he helped to set up the Islamic Human Rights Commission with a group of other activists working on different international and national projects. IHRC is a campaign, research and advocacy organization based in London, UK. He currently sits on the Home Office Stop and Search Review Community Panel, which is addressing the disproportionately of stops against minorities. He has authored several papers and reports on Islamophobia and human rights, including, The Oldham Riots, Muslim Profiling, Islamophobia: The New Crusade and Whose Rights Are They Anyway?, published by the British Council. Shadjareh has completed postgraduate studies in Cambridge and London in International Relations. He lives in London with his wife and four children.
***Jamal Harwood is a Chartered Accountant who works in Management Consulting and Business Studies. He is a lecturer in xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxx He embraced Islam in 1986 and was the subject of Time Magazine feature in August 2006. He debated at the Oxford Union in May 2007. Jamal has been active in local and global politics for many years speaking throughout the UK and globally including at the Financial Crisis conference in Sudan (Jan 2009), and other major conferences in the Middle East, Pakistan, the US and around Europe. He spoke at the International Khilafah Conference in Wembley in August 1994. He took part in debates with former UK cabinet ministers Norman Lamont, Peter Lilley and Dominic Grieve re Economy in Islam, and the role of Muslims in the UK. He is the author of numerous political and economic articles including reports on The Gold Standard, countering poverty, and the causes and solutions for the financial crisis.