First Published: 2012-10-15

 

Myanmar bans world Islamic body from opening office

 

Leader Thein Sein blocks world Islamic body from opening office in country, bowing to monks’ pressure.

 

Middle East Online

‘No’ to OIC

NAYPYIDAW - Myanmar's president blocked a world Islamic body from opening an office in the country, an official said Monday, bowing to rallies against its efforts to help Muslims in unrest-hit Rakhine state.

"The president will not allow an OIC office because it is not in accordance with the people's desires," said an official from Myanmar leader Thein Sein's office, after thousands of monks held the latest protests against the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in two major cities on Monday.

The official, who asked not to be named, declined to comment on an agreement signed with the OIC, the top world Muslim body, which confirmed last week that it had obtained the green light to open an office in the country.

Around 3,000 maroon-robed clerics, some shouting and holding banners reading "No OIC", marched through the country's commercial hub Yangon, according to a photographer.

Thousands more protested in the second-largest city Mandalay, with another demonstration in the town of Pakokku in Magway region in central Myanmar, according to organisers.

"We cannot accept any OIC office here," Oattamathara, a monk leading the Mandalay protest, said. "Not a temporary office and not a permanent office."

Sectarian tensions are running high following Buddhist-Rohingya clashes in June in western Rakhine which left dozens of people dead and forced tens of thousands to seek refuge in temporary shelters.

Monks were at the vanguard of a 2007 pro-democracy uprising that was brutally crushed by the former junta. They have been involved in a series of protests against the OIC and Myanmar's 800,000 stateless Rohingya, who are described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Members of the 57-member OIC toured Rakhine last month after accusations from rights groups that security forces opened fire on Rohingya during the sectarian unrest, prompting concern across the Islamic world.

Myanmar's Rohingya, who speak a dialect similar to one in neighbouring Bangladesh, are seen by the government and many Burmese as illegal immigrants.

Tensions in Rakhine have spread to neighbouring Bangladesh, where police said recently they had arrested nearly 300 people in connection with a wave of violence targeting Buddhist homes and temples.

The OIC head office did not react officially to Monday's decision.

At the time of its visit in September, the delegation signed "a memorandum of co-operation, envisaging the opening of an office for humanitarian work in the Burmese capital and a coordination office" in Rakhine State, an IOC source said.

The document was signed by the border affairs minister, said the source.

 

Frustration grows over Huthi occupation of Yemen capital

Kurd troops launch offensive on IS on three fronts

Indian PM warns US to repeat Iraq 'mistake' in Afghanistan

Erakat likens Netanyahu to leader of ‘Islamic State’

Syrian refugees try their luck in Latin America

Israel settlers forcefully occupy 25 homes in East Jerusalem

Gunmen wound Saudi policeman in Shiite village in Eastern Province

Voters to choose among 27 candidates in Tunisia presidential race

Iran offers military equipment to Lebanon army

Iran extends compulsory military service to 2 years

US-led air strikes pound ‘Islamic State’ near Syria border town

Britain plans action against extremism ‘in all its forms’

Vigilante groups terrorise Syria refugees in Lebanon

Balkans clamp down on jihadist recruitment

Israel PM warns Iran poses gravest threat to world

Kuwait strips 18 nationals of citizenship

Ahead of Tunisia elections, Ghannouchi appeals for US support

Israel deploys extra forces as two faiths mark major holy days

Egypt, Libya plunge in good governance rating

Saudi Arabia breaks silence on Huthi occupation of Yemen capital

Air strikes fail to halt advance of IS jihadists in Syria

Rival Libya factions meet for reconciliation talks

Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks ‘to resume’ by mid-October

HRW criticises human rights rollback under Erdogan

Syria's Nusra Front chief warns to transfer battle to West

Obama admits to making serious mistake: We underestimated ‘Islamic State’

Germany begins training Kurdish fighters from northern Iraq

Jordan takes ‘precautionary measures’ to secure borders

Egypt acquits 112 on charges of violating protest law

Shiite dissident dies in gun battle with Saudi security forces

Iraq forces repel IS attack on strategic town west of Baghdad

Russia raises suspicions about US ‘military interference’ in Syria

Yemen capital reels under control of Huthi rebels

Dubai Ruler: Victory over ‘Islamic State’ requires three bigger ingredients

Nusra Front threatens retaliation against coalition nations

Nusra Front urges Lebanon to negotiate for captive soldiers

Iran warns ‘Islamic State’: If you advance, we will attack!

Huthis settle score with Yemen national security apparatus

Egypt postpones verdict in murder case against Mubarak

US-led coalition expands campaign against ‘Islamic State’ in Syria

Yemen Shiite rebels urged to pull out of capital

Time for Iraq's Christians to put up fight against jihadists

Arrests prompt clashes in Arab east Jerusalem

Britain nabs more Islamist suspects

How much is cost of US air war on IS?