Rohingya refugee crisis: Blurring of the religious divide for humanity
12:00 AM, September 16, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:46 AM, September 16, 2017

Beyond religion, for humanity

Mohammad Amin is one of the few people to afford a reception to the Rohingya refugees at Shah Porir Dwip. Instead of a red carpet and garlands, they come bearing cucumbers, water, biscuits and small sums of cash.

 “We are here to help. These people have suffered a lot and we are welcoming them to our country,” Amin, a member of Tablighi Jamaat said.

He informed that they have had members from their group here since the very first day of the ongoing Rohingya influx from Myanmar. Many of them hail from Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. People in their neighbourhoods gave them whatever they could to help.

“We had a man who sold his wife's gold jewellery and raised Tk 50,000. We are all doing our part.”

A little further inland in Shah Porir Dwip, another group was distributing all kinds of things they deemed would be useful for the Rohingyas yesterday. The relief is handed out without any questions asked; there is a real sense of communal harmony, not just here, but in the entire region.

On Cox's Bazar-Teknaf highway in Hnila union, many refugees were climbing a Buddhist Zadi yesterday afternoon. They were trying to watch their villages burn from afar. No one bothered them or told them that they did not belong here.

“We do not think about religion. We help anyone and anyone who wishes to help,” says Sujon Sharma, a resident of Kutupalong. He said that he would accept donations, preferably in the form of food and that they would cook everything in Kutupalong Paschim Hindu Para, an area where 420 Hindu Rohingyas are taking shelter.

“Many of my friends helping me are Hindus and some are Muslims. But when we are feeding, we feed everyone, we do not decide on the basis of religion. It isn't important,” he said.

Echoing his sentiments, Mufti Mustafa Kalam, leader of an Islami party, said, “Right now our religion is humanity. Islam means humanity.”

Mustafa and Sujan were working together, arranging relief for the refugees. Mustafa said his group had been distributing relief since the Eid in Teknaf and Ukhia. They gave out 4kg of rice, onions, salt, puffed rice and potatoes yesterday.

Apart from the camps, well-meaning citizens were on the streets, going about offering help. Kazi Selim Sarwar, a businessman, had come to Cox's Bazar from Dhaka to aid the relief efforts.

“My friends and I collected money first and now we are giving out cash, clothes and food.

“We are seeing them as humans first, religion is secondary. We are working without any banners because we don't need praise. If we are to be rewarded, God will do so.”

Buddhists in Ramu, meanwhile, held a voluntary blood donation programme at their Kendriyo Shima Bihar for injured Rohingyas.

In the capital city, Bangladesh Sammilito Boudhho Samaj, a Buddhist group protested the persecution of Rohingyas last week. They submitted a memorandum to the Myanmar embassy and demanded an end to the violent methods the military there had adopted. 

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