Two Pak­istani tourists de­ported for hold­ing Su­fism talks

The Myanmar Times - - News -

TWO Pak­istani na­tion­als were given a choice yes­ter­day: im­pris­on­ment for a year or de­por­ta­tion. The Mus­lim visi­tors were charged with an im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tion after they came to Yangon to al­legedly de­liver ser­mons, but were on a tourist visa, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Ahmed Zul­fiqar, 63, and his son, Ahmed Sai­ful­lah, 29, ar­rived in Yangon on July 26 and toured three town­ships – Pabe­den, Kyauk­tada and Min­galar Taung Nyunt – where they dis­cussed the prac­tice of Sufi Is­lam.

The father and son were de­tained over the week­end and yes­ter­day morn­ing the Tarmwe Town­ship Court found them guilty of an im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tion un­der sec­tions 4(2) and 13(1) of the 1947 Im­mi­gra­tion Act. They were sen­tenced with a K100,000 fine each, and told they could be de­ported or face a year in prison.

Tarmwe town­ship im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer U Maung Maung told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day af­ter­noon that the father and son had opted for de­por­ta­tion, and the of­fice was wait­ing only for a green light from the Union gov­ern­ment.

“They will leave im­me­di­ately when we re­ceive in­struc­tions back,” he said.

The Sufi lec­tures drew large crowds at all three mosques, in­clud­ing around 900 peo­ple at the Pabe­dan site, 500 at the Sule Mosque in Kyauk­tada, and over 1000 at the Min­galar Taung Nyunt mosque, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

But a lo­cal Mus­lim leader said the father and son visi­tors had no in­ten­tion of break­ing the law.

“Re­ally it was a mis­un­der­stand­ing,” said U Aye Lwin, a Mus­lim leader and mem­ber of the Mus­lim In­ter­faith As­so­ci­a­tion.

“They were not de­liv­er­ing ser­mons, but only teach­ing about Su­fism, sim­i­lar to the Dhamma ses­sions … They came only to share the lessons of Su­fism after pray­ing. We are so sad for the mis­un­der­stand­ing as they are very re­spectable re­li­gious peo­ple.

‘They were not de­liv­er­ing ser­mons, but only teach­ing about Su­fism, sim­i­lar to Dhamma ses­sions.’

U Aye Lwin Mus­lim In­ter­faith As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber

AUNG KYAW MIN

TOE WAI AUNG

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