Last Updated: Sat Aug 04, 2012 17:25 pm (KSA) 14:25 pm (GMT)

Egypt denounces anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar

Muslims hold pictures and banners as they protest the deadly sectarian riots which erupted in June in Rakhine state between Buddhists and Rohingya. (Reuters)
Muslims hold pictures and banners as they protest the deadly sectarian riots which erupted in June in Rakhine state between Buddhists and Rohingya. (Reuters)

Egypt’s foreign ministry Saturday denounced attacks against Myanmar’s Muslim minority, saying its envoy in the Buddhist-majority east Asian country had seen extensive damage caused by sectarian clashes.

The ministry statement came a day after protesters in Cairo burnt the flag of Myanmar’s mission.

Ministry spokesman Amr Rushdi “condemned the violence Muslims have been subjected to in Myanmar,” the statement said.

Egypt’s envoy in Myanmar witnessed “a big disparity in the extent of damage that afflicted each community, as it was clear the Muslim areas were subject to more violence and damage.”

Rushdi said he understood the extent of anger Egyptians felt over the attacks on Muslims, but said Egypt was committed to protecting foreign missions and called for calm and for diplomacy to be given a chance.

Protesters have stormed both Israel and Syria’s embassies in Cairo over the past year.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which fielded President Mohammed Mursi in the June election, urged the foreign ministry to take “tangible steps” to end what it called the “ethnic cleansing” of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

Violence which erupted in June in Rakhine state between Buddhists and Rohingya left about 80 people dead from both sides, official figures showed.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said that figure appeared “grossly underestimated,” however, and accused security forces of opening fire on Muslims and committing rape.

Hundreds of Rohingya men and boys have been rounded up and remain incommunicado in the western region of the country formerly known as Burma, it said in a report this week.

Members of both the Muslim and Buddhist communities committed horrific acts of violence with reports of beheadings, stabbings, shootings and widespread arson in Rakhine, also known as Arakan state, the report added.

Myanmar’s government considers the estimated 800,000 Rohingya in the country to be foreigners, while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and view them with hostility.

President Thein Sein in July told the United Nations that refugee camps or deportation was the “solution” for the Rohingya.

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