BTF Forum At Glenview Church Raises Awareness of Rohingya Genocide

On Sunday, 26 June 2016 - United Nations Day in Support of Victims of Torture - Glenview United Methodist Church in Glenview, Illinois hosted a forum on the Rohingya and Burma.  Jennifer Sawicz, Burma Task Force Media Relations Director, has been attending that church since the age of four, so she spoke at the event. Attended by a few dozen church members, the forum informed people of the slow genocide taking place against the Rohingya and how they can get involved with BTF to help stop it.  GUMC also committed loose coins & singles from their offering plate in June to BTF, which should be forthcoming to help us finance our advocacy work.  Attendees asked educated and thoughtful questions, and the Christian community is eager to stand with their oppressed Burmese Muslim neighbors.

 

Burma Task Force asks the UN Security Council to do more to stop genocide of Rohingyas

Press Release

7 November 2017

Burma Task Force Asks the UN Security Council to do more to stop genocide of Rohingyas

 

Chicago, IL. - November 7, 2017 - Burma Task Force  welcomes UN Security Council resolution 13055, condemning Myanmar in strong terms for widespread violence that has displaced over 600,000 Rohingya forced to flee to Bangladesh. In addition, Resolution 13055 calls on Myanmar to abide by its obligations and commitments to human rights, implement the Kofi Annan Commission’s recommendations and provide full access to relief agencies.

 

The resolution is significant in that it is the first on Myanmar after a 10 year silence, and required the support of China to pass, whereas previously China had blocked efforts to censure and hold Myanmar to account. The Bangladeshi ambassador’s efforts at the UN also represent a sustained effort to remain engaged and not allow the atrocities against the Rohingya to be forgotten or sidelined as has happened in the past.

 

Imam Malik Mujahid, chair of Burma Task Force, commenting on the resolution noted that it didn’t go far enough, “The resolution is a good first step, and welcome after a lapse of 10 years during which the Rohingya have continued to suffer. However, as a world community we need to go from mere condemnation of Myanmar to actual implementation of a mechanism to urgently end the genocide against the Rohingya.”

 

Burma Task Force is a coalition of  19 North American Muslim organizations

 

Contact

Sobia Haleem

Phone: 312-725-9489

Email: sobia@justiceforall.org

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Burma Task Force: As Desperate Refugees Flee Destruction, Bangladesh Must Lift Boat Ban Preventing Rescue Of Stranded Rohingya

October 9, 2017 - Since October 1st, thousands of Rohingya have been stranded on Myanmar's beaches, waiting for rescue, but boats cannot arrive because Bangladesh’s government has banned fishing boats from operating in the bay. Bangladesh says this is for the protection of the spawning of rare fish, and additionally to clamp down on drug trafficking. As a result of the ban, fishing boats ferrying Rohingya over the past week have been destroyed by the government, and sailors arrested, a number of whom have now been sentenced to 6 months in prison.

 

Burma Task Force, understands and appreciates Bangladesh’s need to prevent drug trafficking, and also to replenish the population of fish in the bay. Burma Task Force believes these goals can be achieved without thousands of Rohingya being stranded on beaches for weeks. The thousands of Rohingya on these beaches are vulnerable to attacks, and have already been targeted, credible reports of large scale massacres have been reported to us by sources on the ground. The prospect of attack has propelled many of the stranded Rohingya to escape any way they can, and many are resorting to using rickety, makeshift rafts and boats, with hundreds of men, women and children already drowned.

 

Imam Malik Mujahid, the Chair of Burma Task Force, noted the urgent need for Bangladesh to lift the ban, “We praised Bangladesh’s handling of the refugee crisis, they went above and beyond their capacity-- but the blanket ban on fishing boats puts thousands of Rohingyas at risk of massacre and drowning. This is an unfolding catastrophe that is worsening and it is preventable. We urge Bangladesh to immediately lift the ban.”

 

Burma Task Force supports the efforts of local activists who are calling for a rescue service, whereby local Bangladeshi sailors would be paid to provide rescue boats as a free service to the Rohingya, fully equipped with life jackets and emergency relief supplies for the journey. The service would limit the number of people in a boat at any one time and only use experienced sailors in sea-worthy boats, avoiding the worst of weather, thus reducing the risk of accidents and drownings.

 

The service would help prevent Rohingya from being exploited by traffickers and allow those without funds to escape. Funds for an initial trial have been raised, life jackets bought and sailors identified, but due to the ban, sailors will not go out to make the rescues. Officials in meetings with local authorities, lifeguard and the army, whilst sympathetic in some instances, have all stated that they would need a policy change from above their rank to allow such a rescue service. Burma Task Force calls on the Bangladesh Government to make this change.

 

Burma Task Force is a coalition of 19 North American Muslim organizations.

 

Contact

Malik Mujahid

Phone: 312-750-1178

Email: malik@soundvision.com

 

Sobia Haleem

Phone: 312-725-9489

Email: sobia@justiceforall.org

 

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Bangladesh: Don't Ban Boats From Rescuing Rohingya

Bangladesh must reverse the policy of border police blocking fishing boats bringing in fleeing Rohingya who are stranded in Myanmar.

It’s Not Ethnic Cleansing. It's Genocide.

Have you heard of Tula Toli? A massacre took place here. Genocide is an international crime and it is happening in Burma. It is the responsibility of the international community to protect populations from genocide. Some politicians call it “ethnic cleansing” to avoid having to take action.

Ask the United Nations and human rights organizations to call it what it is; genocide.

IT'S NOT ETHNIC CLEANSING. IT'S GENOCIDE.

Racism and Organized Islamophobia: Tribunal Hears Testimony of Persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslim Groups

September 20 -

 

Press Release - September 20

 

Beginning on September 18, 2017 the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Burma has been meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to listen to testimonies regarding the Myanmar government’s responsibility for crimes against humanity against both Rohingya and Kachin minorities.

 

The third day of the People’s  Tribunal on Myanmar’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ featured the detailed presentation of evidence and documentation gathered by lawyers from the Centre For Human Rights and Advocacy (CENTHRA) in regards to the genocide against the Rohingya. This comes at a time when the international community has denounced the Burmese military’s campaign against Rohingya, with over 240 villages burned and half a million displaced. Myanmar State Counsellor Suu Kyi has denied charges of “ethnic cleansing” by pointing out that half of all Rohingya villages still remain, amid charges of mass atrocities.

 

Testimony was also delivered by non-Rohingya Burmese Muslims describing their persecution. One Burmese Muslim witness who had traveled extensively throughout Myanmar, and visited many Muslim communities testified to the destruction of mosques, “I learned of the hardships the Muslim communities faced, particularly religious discrimination and persecution. The most important thing I learned from this was the targeted destruction of religious places of worship” she said.

 

The government of Myanmar uses the pretext of “conflicts” to shutter mosques and confiscate land owned by Muslim religious organizations which they then sell for a profit.

 

A Muslim man from the Mandalay region testified to the destruction of the Muslim community that he witnessed in the city of Meiktila. He described how a mob of hundreds of armed Buddhists gathered, shouting “kill all the kalar” before they destroyed Muslim shops, homes and mosques. He was only able to escape the mob due to the fact that he looks similar to the dominant Burman ethnic group and was mistaken as Buddhist. “Kalar” is a derogatory terms for person with darker skin. Racism and Islamophobia are both increasing in today’s Myanmar.

 

After hearing the testimony of the witnesses the prosecution asked the judges of the Peoples’ Tribunal On Myanmar to rule that Myanmar is guilty of genocide, war crimes & crimes against humanity. For more information on previous testimonies, information about the Judges and the history of the Tribunal, please see:  https://tribunalonmyanmar.org/

 

The judges will deliberate on Thursday the 21st and deliver their verdict on Friday the 22nd.

 

Burma Task Force is a coalition of 19 American and Canadian Muslim organizations

 

Contact:

Tauseef Akbar

Email: tauseef@burmamuslims.org

Phone: +1 312 750 1178

 

Malik Mujahid

Email malik@soundvision.com

 

Phone: +1 312 804 1962

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Congress Urges Action On Myanmar: Halt Military Training

(Washington, D.C.) – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), along with 22 bipartisan members of Congress, sent a letter today to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling on the United States to develop a “strong, meaningful” response to the unfolding violent crisis in Burma.

In the letter, which comes as the United Nations General Assembly is currently underway in New York, the members urge Secretary Tillerson to push for meaningful action at the UN Security Council and to work with Bangladeshi authorities to ensure the country is prepared to care for refugees. The members also call on the U.S. to suspend all planned training for Burma’s military.  In addition, the letter urges the Trump administration to support the recommendations of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State that put forward a path to peace.

Violence against the Muslim Rohingya community has created a humanitarian crisis and numerous reports indicate that Burma’s military is not exercising restraint and is instead engaged in abuse toward Rohingya civilians. The violence has created a massive refugee crisis that requires a global response to ensure the safety and security of those fleeing their homes.

“It should not be business as usual with a military that not only refuses to submit to civilian rule, but also treats innocent civilians in this inhumane manner. We also urge consideration of all efforts that would save lives in the short term, including ways to provide security for those fleeing,” wrote the lawmakers in the letter.

The letter was signed by Reps. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), David E. Price (D-N.C.), Grace Meng (D-NY), Donald S. Beyer (D-Va.), Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), William R. Keating (D-Mass.), Denny Heck (D-Wash.), Alan S. Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Kathleen M. Rice (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), David N. Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Barbara Comstock (R-Va.).

The text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Secretary Tillerson,

We are deeply concerned about the situation in Burma and urge you to take concrete action to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis and ongoing human rights abuses. 

In late August, there was a coordinated attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on security posts in Burma’s Rakhine State. In response, the Burmese military began what it is calling, “clearing operations.” For several days now, international leaders have called on Burma’s military to exercise restraint in these efforts given the military’s record of abuses.

However, interviews with refugees and displaced persons reveal that this restraint is not being employed when it comes to the Rohingya people, as well as the fact that the military and some other security forces are engaged in abuses. Multiple United Nations officials have expressed grave concern, with the High Commissioner for Human Rights calling the response a, “brutal security operation,” that is, “clearly disproportionate.”  A staggering 412,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh, and many others have been internally displaced. The lack of food and basic sustenance is a very serious and immediate concern.

These horrific events are taking place in a country that never completed its democratic transition. Indeed, the Burmese military and its leader Min Aung Hlaing operate outside the scope of civilian control and are accountable to no one.

In light of this urgent situation, we urge you, as a first step, to coordinate with Bangladeshi authorities to ensure they are adequately equipped to handle the massive migration. Further, the United States should work at the United Nations Security Council to develop a strong and meaningful international response, and immediately suspend all planned United States training programs with Burma’s military. It should not be business as usual with a military that not only refuses to submit to civilian rule, but also treats innocent civilians in this inhumane manner. We also urge consideration of all efforts that would save lives in the short term, including ways to provide security for those fleeing.

At the same time, we urge the administration to put its efforts behind many of the recommendations of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Rakhine Commission – including those advancing the provision of humanitarian aid, ensuring justice for victims, and making policy changes to ensure rule of law is applied fairly to all innocent individuals and families including the Rohingya.

The severity of this situation demands significant action, and we urge your strong support.

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Worldwide Rallies Protest Genocide Against Rohingya Muslims

Burma Task Force has organized worldwide rallies and demonstrations in the past week demanding Myanmar stop its genocidal atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, demonstrators also called on their governments take urgent action to stop the violence. The protests were organized in response to a military-Buddhist militant combined operation that has forced half a million Rohingya Muslims to flee from their homes to Bangladesh since August 25, according to the UN. A further 400,000 are hiding from the military and Rakhine militants in nearby forests. The mass scale of the crimes include: killing, abduction, rape, forced disappearance, looting of their possessions and the burning down of whole villages.

Large protests were held in the United States and Canada. In Toronto, over 1,000 demonstrators were joined by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and the Minister of Parliament Rob Oliphant. At the rally, Freeland said “based on the reports, this looks a lot like ethnic cleansing and that is not acceptable. It is not acceptable to Canadians and I am very proud that Canadians are raising their voices here in Canada.”

Freeland also said that Canada will seek access to the Rohingya areas.

Spearheading the protest, Outreach Coordinator for Burma Task Force Canada Ahmed Ramadan said, “While the media may pick up on the Rohingya genocide for a brief moment in time, given the multitude of tragedies and disasters facing our world today, we must not forget that this has gone on for the last 40 years and will need years of dedicated support, awareness building and international participation to restore the Rohingya as legally recognized citizens and residents of Burma. The importance of Canada’s pressure on the Burma government cannot be understated.”


Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Minister of Canada – (Toronto, Canada 9/16/17)


Ahmed Ramadan, Outreach Coordinator – Burma Task Force (9/16/17)

On Saturday, September 16 Chicago held its largest ever protest against the Rohingya genocide with 1,300 demonstrators filling Federal Plaza. Speakers from the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago which represents 60 mosques across Chicago, CAIR-Chicago, Rohingya Cultural Center and Buddhist leaders spoke out against the genocide and called on demonstrators to support Senate resolutions 250 and NDAA Amendment 607 which cut aid to, and condemn Myanmar’s military.

Speaker Imam Tariq El-Amin told the protesters that “we are witnessing genocide and will be held accountable if we don’t speak out.”


Rohingya Rally in Chicago “Never Again, Happening Again” at the Federal Plaza. (9/16/17)

In New York, 400 demonstrators protested in front of the UN. Rallies also took place in Houston, Denver, Seattle Birmingham, Toledo, and Kansas City.


New York Protest For Rohingya rights (9/15/17)

In London protesters urged rapid action to stop genocide of the Rohingya in Arakan and stop restriction of aid. Maung Zarni, a scholar and Burmese dissident who co-organized the rally commented that the protest was “to tell the world that Rohingya are not terrorists… they are our own people… and that the Burmese military adopted anti-Muslim and racist policies against the Rohingya. I am here to tell the British government that they have blood on their hands because they are training the killer military, they are supporting Aung San Suu Kyi.”

In Asia massive protests took over the cities of Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Chechnya and were covered in international media outlets such as CNN. There was quite of bit of anger and similar demands for an end to the genocidal violence against Rohingya. Many protesters noted the double standard in the silence of world institutions and leaders when it comes to Muslims being persecuted.

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Call Your Senator Today To Save Rohingya Lives

Download the action alert attached below and urge your Senator to support Resolution 250 condemning Myanmar and Amendment 607 to the NDAA stopping all military assistance to Myanmar.

LaunchGood: Help End Rohingya Genocide in Burma

 

 

As of now,  according to the UN estimates, 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh. Human Right Watch reports that villages on a 100-kilometer stretch were set on fire. Killing is still ongoing.

The UN is being blocked by Burma to provide water, food and medicine to another 400,000 Rohingyas sheltering in forests and mountains trying to get to Bangladesh. 

It is a genocide. They are going for a final solution. Never again is happening again. 

It is our belief that God will ask us individually about what we did to help, not what others did or did not. That said, my request is to set aside 10 minutes today for our Rohingya brothers and sisters.

“Whoso does a good deed does it for himself good. Whoso does an evil deed does himself evil. Then to your Lord you will be returned” Quran 45:15.

Please Donate Today


Burma Task Force is a coalition of 18 US and Canadian organizations to stop genocide of Rohingya people. Since 2013, we have been promoting weekly Action Alerts to mobilize a grassroots movement to action and to build effective partnerships with human rights activists, community and multi-faith leaders, US Congress and United Nations officials.

Burma Task Force has staff in three states and Canada, as well as volunteers throughout the USA and Canada. Some accomplishments include:

  • Helping to pass House Resolution 418 in Congress in 2014, to Restore Rights to the Rohingya;
  • Extensive media work to correct misleading reporting and challenge Myanmar government propaganda; 
  • Organizing prestigious conferences at Harvard and with Nobel Organization in Oslo;
  • Becoming accredited at the UN and participating in many discussions there on refugee and human rights;
  • Organizing scores of rallies, webinars, and panel discussions around the country;
  • Organizing the Rome-based Tribunal on September 18 to 22, 2017, where judges from nine countries will try Burma on crimes against humanity;
  • Legal actions, including lawsuit against the previous Government of Burma; 
  • Partnering with Rohingya leadership to ensure their voice is heard; 
  • Partnering with Buddhist and Jewish leaders to promote coexistence in Burma;
  • Sponsorship of journalists and documentary filmmakers, especially in the mass rape of Rohingya women.


Burma Task Force is a united effort of Muslims to stop genocide of Muslims in Burma. The following organizations are part of this coalition: Burmese Rohingya Association of North America, DawaNet, Free Rohingya Campaign, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA Canada), Islamic Council of New England (ICNE), Islamic Organization of North America (IONA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Justice For All, Majlis Shura of Atlanta, Michigan Muslim Community Council, Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), Muslim Leadership Council of New York (Masjlis Shura) and Muslim Peace Coalition.

Please Donate Today

Please help us build and strengthen the movement for restoring Rohingya rights and offering hope of a peaceful future in a flourishing, pluralistic society.

The Rohingya are indigenous people living in their native land in Burma. They have always been citizens until their citizenship was taken away by a military regime in 1982.

Burma Task Force works in partnership with Rohingya groups to restore their rights while saving lives.

Your donations to Burma Task Force are Zakat-eligible and tax-deductible.

 

What Rohingyas have been going through.


Please Donate Today
Visit our website for more information. Sign up for regular action alerts.

Burma Task Force is housed in Sound Vision offices. Its chair is Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid.

The fiscal agent of Burma Task Force is one of its coalition member, Justice For All which is a 501 (C) 3 organization. 

 

Your donations to Burma Task Force are Zakat-eligible and tax-deductible.

 

Please Donate Today

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