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.

 

Congress approves Iran sanctions extension

Pentagon says IS jihadists making 'last stand' in Sirte

Staggering casualty toll in Mosul offensive

Putin getting admirers from US to Europe to Syria

Qarawiyyin library holds written wonders

Syria regime seizes half of rebel parts of Aleppo

Europol warns of changing IS tactics

Palestinian contenders for Fatah posts set to declare

Protests erupt in Istanbul over ‘Aleppo massacre’

Aleppo family reunited after war kept them apart for months

Syria rebels put up fight for key Aleppo district

Obama unlikely to act on Israel-Palestine before leaving office

UN says torture 'widespread' after Turkey coup

International push aims to protect endangered heritage

Journalist's body found shot in Iraq’s Kurdish region

Iran urges Kenya to release two of its citizens

Morocco business diplomacy at heart of strategy to rejoin African Union

Turkish prosecutor calls for drop of Gaza ship charges against Israelis

Iran preparing ‘appropriate’ response to US sanctions renewal

Saudi government detects fresh hacking attempts

Iraq faces post-IS problem in Shiite militias

Turkey detains business executive for alleged Gulen links

Putin says Russia not looking for enemies

Tunisia sentences protesters to 14 years in jail

Saudi increases jail term for rights activist to 11 years

Misery deepens for Mosul refugees with heavy rain

Turkish parliament to vote on bill expanding Erdogan’s power

UN envoy to Yemen, President meet in new peace bid

Syrian Grand Mufti rejects terrorism claims

Qatar blocks popular news website

Desperate civilians brave Aleppo front line

OPEC spares Iran oil production cuts

Minister says Abbas is Israel's top 'ideological' foe

Erdogan insists Syria operation only targets terrorists

Kuwait opposition must form strong coalition to be effective

Russian FM denies Russia, Syria to blame for Turkish deaths

UN warns of ‘giant graveyard’ in Aleppo as Syrian troops advance

Nobel laureates call for protection of heritage sites

OPEC output cut boosts oil price

Morocco accuses AU chair of blocking readmission

Israel delays Knesset vote on mosque volume, settler homes

Mayors from world’s biggest cities plot Trump-era climate plan

Syria rebels, Russia hold Aleppo talks in Ankara

Russia demands explanation over Erdogan vow to oust Assad

Prospects for Palestine remain grim