As the international community continues to condemn the “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” implemented by the Myanmar army in retaliation for an uprising initiated by Rohingya insurgents, not enough attention is being paid to the atrocities implemented by the Rohingya rebels and their ties to radical Islamist groups which threaten world peace and security.
Recently, a mass grave of Rohingya Hindus was unearthed by the Myanmar army. Twenty-eight bodies of mostly women and children were found, brutally mutilated and slaughtered.
The Myanmar forces have identified the victims and said that another 100 victims are still missing. This news comes in the midst of reports that Hindus are increasingly being victimized by Rohingya Islamist groups.
In fact, numerous Hindu refugees who have fled to Bangladesh have reported that it was these Islamist groups that attacked them and not the Myanmar army.
So who are these Rohingya rebels that are massacring the Hindu community as well as fighting against the Myanmar army? And who stands behind these rebels?
Rohingya Rebels Linked to International Terror Groups
According to Indian intelligence reports, the Rohingya rebels are linked to Al Qaeda, ISIS and Lashkar e-Toiba, the very same Pakistani terror group that was responsible for a series of terror attacks in Mumbai, India in 2008 that resulted in the massacre of 166 people.
Furthermore, the BBC reported that Bangladesh claims that the group is linked to Jamaat u-Mujadeen Bangladesh, which was held responsible for the terror attack in a Dhaka café in which 20 hostages were killed.
Rebels Reportedly Also Backed by Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency and Bangladesh Government
In addition, an article in the Dhaka Tribune backs up the Indian intelligence reports that the Rohingya insurgents are in fact linked to Lashkar e-Toiba and adds that they are also backed by the Pakistani ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence services).
According to Shipan Kumar Basu, the head of the Hindu Struggle Committee, the Rohingya insurgents have received the backing of not only the ISI but the ruling Awami League government in Bangladesh, whom he alleges uses the present situation in Myanmar in order to attack Hindus.
“Awami League MP Meher Afroj Chumki has recently said that she will kick out all the Hindus of Bangladesh as Myanmar has done to the Rohingya Muslims,” Basu said. “The Bangladeshi Awami League party is busy dividing the Hindus within the country. They have been fueling and funding a new party with some Hindu puppets and are preparing to launch a new party that can be controlled by them.”
The Bangladeshi government confirmed that the ISI is backing the insurgency but does not mention their own involvement. As Bangladeshi political advisor Hossein Tofique Imam, who works for the Sheikh Hasina government, proclaimed, “ISI has backed Rohingya separatism since 1969 when I was a civil servant in undivided Pakistan and was serving in Chittagong and the hill tracts nearby.
“They are again playing the same tricks to create a new theatre of jihad in a strategic region wedged between South and Southeast Asia, so as to create a crisis on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. ARSA … is part of an emerging jihadi alliance in our part of the world.”
Who Are the Leaders of the Muslim Insurgency in Myanmar?
ARSA, who is presently leading the Muslim insurgency in Myanmar, was initially known as Harakah al-Yaqin or “the faith movement.” The name of the insurgent group has clear religious connotations.
The name ARSA was only used starting last year in order to brand the group as an ethnic liberation organization rather than an Islamist terror group. However, even though ARSA denies they are linked to both Al Qaeda and ISIS, experts interviewed by the Asia Times are not convinced.
“According to intelligence analysts, its mentor is Abdus Qadoos Burmi. He has appeared in videos spread on social media calling for jihad in Myanmar. Abdus Qadoos has well-documented links to Lashkar-Toiba,” the Asia Times reported.
“The group was founded in 1987 in Afghanistan with funding from now-deceased Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Ladin. Abdus Qadoos even appeared in meetings together with Lashkar e-Toiba’s Hafiz Mohammed Syed,” they added.
Furthermore, the Japanese media documented that Ata Mullah — the man who stands behind the ARSA insurgency — received fighters, guns and training from other jihadist groups. Given this, the Islamist links to the Rohingya insurgency do indeed exist.
ISIS and Al Qaeda Taking Advantage in Asia
Indeed, following major ISIS losses in Iraq and Syria, the murderous terror group as well as Al Qaeda are increasingly looking to Asia in order to find a new safe haven for their terror activities. The Myanmar conflict provides the Islamist group with a useful opportunity in order to expand into Asia.
Already, ISIS has expanded into some countries like the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. But the war in Myanmar and the images of Muslims suffering in Rakhine state offer jihadist terror groups additional opportunities to radicalize the population and to make inroads further east.
ISIS is also recruiting Malaysians in order to wage a holy war in Rohingya and is utilizing the present crisis in Rohingya in order to recruit new members.
Al Qaeda has proclaimed, “We call upon all mujahid brothers in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Philippines to set out for Burma [Myanmar] to help our Muslim brothers, and to make the necessary preparations—training and the like—to resist the oppression.”
According to Basu, it is these jihadist groups together with the local Muslim insurgents who stand behind the wave of attacks upon the Hindu community in Myanmar.
“Day by day, the crisis is taking on enormous proportions,” he stated. “There have been recent reports of 10 Hindu Rohingya being kidnapped by Rohingya Muslims. The Rohingya Hindus that were kidnapped from the camps were found in the hospital and one Hindu body was mutilated. Eight relatives of one woman were killed, and she saved herself by saying she would embrace Islam. She was transferred to Bangladesh in traditional Muslim dress. Later, UN rescue workers saved her from the camp and transferred her to the Hindu camp again.”
“In addition, it was reported that a Rohingya Muslim refugee killed a Hindu refugee in Bangladesh over a loan dispute in Myanmar,” Basu noted. “Other Hindu refugees suffered from bruises and scars due to violence inflicted upon them by Rohingya Muslim refugees. In some cases, Rohingya Muslims tried to forcefully marry Hindu women and girls.”
Basu’s organization recently sent $2,000 in donations to help the Hindu refugees from Myanmar who are presently residing in Bangladesh. He calls upon the international community to stop treating these insurgents with kid gloves and to start exposing them for their crimes against the Hindu community as well as others in Myanmar.