Leader of Islamic Ummah and Oppressed Imam Ayatollah Khamenei has called on Islamic governments to exert political and economic pressure on Myanmar’s “cruel” government to make it stop a deadly crackdown on minority Rohingya Muslims in the Southeast Asian country.
Speaking on Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei urged practical measures by Islamic governments to end the crisis in Myanmar.
“Of course, practical measures don’t mean military deployments. Rather, they (Islamic governments) have to increase their political, economic, and trade pressure on Myanmar’s government and cry out against these crimes in international organizations,” the Leader said.
Myanmar’s government has laid a siege to a western state where the Rohingya are concentrated. There, horrific violence has been taking place against the minority Muslims, according to reports and eyewitnesses.
Soldiers and extremist Buddhists have reportedly been killing or raping the Muslims and setting their homes on fire. The Myanmarese government says 400 people, mostly Muslims, have died in the latest bout of violence. The UN says the actual number likely tops 1,000.
Ayatollah Khamenei strongly criticized the silence and inaction of international bodies and self-proclaimed human rights advocates on those ongoing atrocities.
The Leader said the crisis in Myanmar is a political issue and should not be reduced to a religious conflict between Muslims and Buddhists, although he said religious prejudice may have been involved.
“This is a political issue because the party that has been carrying out the atrocities is Myanmar’s government, at the top of which is a cruel woman who has won the Nobel Peace Prize. And with these incidents, the death of the Nobel Peace Prize has been spelled,” he said.
Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has taken almost no action to end the deadly violence against the Rohingya in the country’s western Rakhine State.
Recently, she said widespread reports of brutal violence against the Muslims were fake news.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should convene to discuss the crisis in Myanmar.
The Leader said Iran has to be bold in making its stance known.
“The world today is the world of oppression, and the Islamic Republic has to maintain for itself the honor of speaking out against oppression anywhere in the world, whether in territories occupied by Zionists, or in Bahrain, or Yemen, or Myanmar,” he said.