Azhar's Grand Imam launches Cairo conference on Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya situation

Ahram Online , Tuesday 3 Jan 2017

El-Tayeb is set to deliver a message of peace and mutual existence to the country's religious populations

Al-Azhar Gran Imam during the he Muslim Council of Elders conference on Tuesday (Photo: Ahram)

The Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb inaugurated on Tuesday the Muslim Council of Elders conference that aims to open a dialogue on the Muslim minority situation in Myanmar, a country which has been witnessing sectarian discrimination against the Rohinga minority since the early 1990s.

During the Cairo conference being held by Al-Azhar, the world’s oldest seat of Sunni Muslim learning, El-Tayeb is set to deliver a message of peace and co-existence to the country's religious populations.

Last December, Al-Tayeb urged the elimination of injustice against the Muslim minority in the Southeast Asian nation, as well as granting them their full rights as citizens.

Myanmar's government has been accused of committing mass executions and rape crimes against the Rohingya Muslim community, though it has denied the accusations.

In December, Amnesty International accused Myanmar's security forces of unlawful killings, multiple rapes and the burning down of houses and entire villages in a campaign of violence against Rohingya people that may amount to crimes against humanity.

The United Nations described the 1.3 million Rohingya Muslim population in Myanmar as the world's most persecuted minority in 2013, accusing authorities of carrying out "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingyas.

More than 120,000 of the Rohingya have been trapped in squalid displacement camps since violence erupted in 2012 in Rakhine state, where they are denied citizenship, access to healthcare and education.

Myanmar, commonly known as Burma, is a multi-religious country with no official state religion, but the government shows preference to Theravada Buddhism, the majority religion in the country.

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