Homeland Security

'Burma Calling': Al-Qaeda Orders Jihadists to Rescue Rohingya 'by Force'

Rohingya who fled into Bangladesh by boat wait on Shah Porir Island in Teknaf, Bangladesh, on Sept. 10, 2017. (Rehman Asad/NurPhoto/Sipa via AP Images)

Al-Qaeda has called for jihadists to report to Burma to fight for the Rohingya minority as they fall victim to “a conspiracy hatched by the forces of International Disbelief against Islam and Muslims.”

In a statement issued by al-Qaeda’s general leadership, the terror group said the “conspiracy” is “marked by the usurpation of the rights of Muslims, occupation of their lands, defilement of their holy places, all under the guise of fighting terrorism!”

“The usage and espousal of the term ‘the fight against terrorism’ has become the latest trend which every ruler must keep up with as a pledge of allegiance and devotion to the powerful in the system – a sacrament of penance to secure remission of all his crimes and failings and to be rewarded perhaps with a Nobel Prize for Peace – a badge worn by every professional criminal and murderer,” the statement added.

That’s a reference to Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the prize during her opposition to the junta and has been called out by the United States and others for not acting on the violent pushback against Rohingya people — largely Sunni, with a Hindu minority — after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked an army base Aug. 25. That has resulted in a flood of refugees — some 300,000, according to the White House — heading for safety in Bangladesh.

“In Rakhine State, the plight of the Rohingya in particular is one of the greatest human tragedies anywhere in the region,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy told reporters Friday. “They’re not the only ethnic minority facing challenges even in that area. I mentioned earlier the ethnic Rakhine, themselves a minority population, suffering from underdevelopment and limited rights over many, many years. But the Rohingya certainly stand out, and the fact that over a million of them inside the country have been devoid of basic rights for generations has been a longstanding issue and a longstanding concern for us in the United States. It needs to be addressed.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Monday evening that “the massive displacement and victimization of people, including large numbers of the ethnic Rohingya community and other minorities, shows that Burmese security forces are not protecting civilians.”

“We are alarmed by the allegations of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, burning of villages, massacres, and rape, by security forces and by civilians acting with these forces’ consent,” she said.

UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told the Human Rights Council on Monday that the United Nations has “received multiple reports and satellite imagery of security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages, and consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including shooting fleeing civilians.” The government claims that villagers have been burning their own homes.

“I am further appalled by reports that the Myanmar authorities have now begun to lay landmines along the border with Bangladesh, and to learn of official statements that refugees who have fled the violence will only be allowed back if they can provide ‘proof of nationality.’ Given that successive Myanmar governments have since 1962 progressively stripped the Rohingya population of their political and civil rights, including citizenship rights – as acknowledged by Aung San Suu Kyi’s own appointed Rakhine Advisory Commission – this measure resembles a cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return,” Zeid added, calling the crisis “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

In their “Burma Calling” statement, al-Qaeda vowed the “savage treatment” of the Rohingya “shall not pass without punishment, and the government of Myanmar shall be made to taste what our Muslim brothers have tasted in Arakan.”

The terror group called jihad there “a Sharia obligation and a religious necessity,” and called up mujahideen in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Philippines — territory covered by al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent — “to set out for Burma to help their Muslim brothers, and to make the necessary preparations — training and the like — to resist this oppression against their Muslim brothers, and to secure their rights, which will only be returned to them by use of force.”

“The Muslim Ummah [community] must come to the aide of their Muslims brothers in Arakan. The Muslims of Arakan are in need of every form of support – money, medicines, food, clothing, weapons – in addition to raising awareness about their plight and presenting it in the correct perspective so that the Ummah may recognize its enemy,” al-Qaeda added.

The situation, the statement said, has made jihad “a compulsory obligation on every individual of that land, and if the people of that land are unable to fulfill the obligation themselves” then the obligation extends “until jihad becomes obligatory on all Muslims in the East and the West.”

“It is therefore obligatory on Muslims all over the world to take urgent steps to rescue their brothers and spend in this cause their souls and wealth,” al-Qaeda directed.