Bangladesh Islamists want ‘war’ over Rohingya crisis
DHAKA/YANGON, Myanmar: Thousands of supporters of Islamist groups staged protests after weekly prayers in Bangladesh Friday, urging the government to go to war against Myanmar over the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims.
Myanmar said Friday a visiting U.S. official would not be allowed to go to Rakhine state, where a military offensive has resulted in what the United Nations has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Police said at least 15,000 followers of five Islamist groups, including the hard-line Hefazat-eIslam, joined a demonstration in front of Bangladesh’s largest mosque in central Dhaka.
Nur Hossain Kasemi, a madrassa teacher who heads Hefazat’s Dhaka unit, spoke at the rally, which followed a procession in front of the mosque. “The Burmese government is carrying out a genocide. The houses in Rakhine are being torched. We urge the Bangladeshi people to stand by Rohingya people,” Kasemi told the gathering.
“We urge the Bangladesh government to resolve the problem through war. It is the right time,” he said, according to leading online Bengali news portal Bangla Tribune.
“If no diplomatic solution is found, we have asked the government to use military power in an effort to ensure Rohingya can live in Arakan [Bengali for Rakhine],” Hefazat spokesman Fazlul Karim Kasemi later told AFP.
Similar protests by Islamists have been held in other cities across the Muslim majority country.
The protesters decried international efforts to protect the Muslim minority group, police told AFP.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy will voice Washington’s concerns about the Rohingya and press for greater access to the conflict area for humanitarian workers, the State Department said.
Myanmar officials said he would meet government leaders in the capital, Naypyitaw, and attend an address to the nation by Aung San Suu Kyi Tuesday.
He would also visit Sittwe, the state capital, and meet the governor of Rakhine, the state government secretary, Tin Maung Swe, told