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.

 

Egypt lists Hamas as terrorist organisation

Yemen separatists suspend participation in UN-sponsored talks

Iran shrugs off Netanyahu bid to abort nuclear deal

Jailed Kurdish leader calls on followers to lay down arms

Iraq reopens national museum more than 10 years after looting

Scores dead as car bombs target crowded market in Iraq capital

Dozens dead as Qaeda takes strategic rebel base in Syria

UAE reopens Yemen embassy in Aden

Libya PM threatens new air strikes with Egypt against IS

Qatar takes full ownership of Porta Nuova

Roadmap finally agreed to end brutal Syria conflict

Turkey not placing high priority on fighting IS

IS militants destroy priceless ancient artefacts in Iraq’s Mosul

Aden becomes Yemen de facto ‘political capital’

Qatar emir committed to 'stability' in Egypt despite row

Rouhani adviser blames ‘extremists’ for rights violations

US-led coalition raids IS targets in northeastern Syria

IS executioner identity revealed

3 sentenced to death over Bahrain police killings

Hollande condemns French MPs for meeting Assad

HRW: Kurds preventing return of Arabs to disputed Iraq areas

One dead in series of Cairo bombings

UN Security Council calls for stepping up Yemen talks

Kerry: US, Iran have 'mutual interest' in defeating IS

Australian FM warns women against 'romantic adventure' with IS

Lebanese synagogue gets second life

Netanyahu speech to test resilience of US-Israeli ties

Austria adopts 'Islam of European character'

Tuareg chief issues plea for Mali unity

UN: Saleh amassed between $32-60 billion

Libyan FM warns country could be next Syria

Iran rejects US claims of role in Yemen crisis

French planes on Gulf-based carrier make first strikes

Top US official warns against Netanyahu speech to congress

Four French MPs meet Assad in Syria

FIFA cites 'problems' in worker conditions for Qatar World Cup

Mosque torched near Bethlehem

Egypt TV host faces trial for false bathhouse accusations

Turkey drives hard bargain over crucial missile deal

Obama nominates first US ambassador to Somalia since 1991

Obama praises Qatar as 'strong partner' in fighting IS

Saudi goes hi-tech against IS threat

Sisi grants Egypt authorities sweeping anti-terror powers

Algeria police prevent anti-shale gas protest

Turkey revives Istanbul canal plan