Leaders of the radical Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam have threatened to launch jihad against Myanmar if it does not immediately stop persecuting the Rohingya.
The hardliner Islamist organisation held a nationwide programme on Friday after the Jumma prayers to protest the ongoing military crackdown on the minority Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
“We will launch a long march towards Myanmar if its army and their associates do not stop torturing the Rohingya Muslims,” said Hefazat Secretary General Junaid Babunagari at the protest rally in front of Anderkillah Shahi Jame Mosque in Chittagong. “We will be compelled to launch jihad against Myanmar.”
He further said Hefazat would go to Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar to distribute relief among the Rohingya refugees.
Babunagari also urged the Bangladesh government to cut off all diplomatic relations with Myanmar in protest at the “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine.
The latest episode of violence by Myanmar security forces was triggered by a series of attacks by Rakhine insurgents on Myanmar police posts and an army base on August 25.
Since the military crackdown began, at least 30,000 Rohingya people have been killed, while nearly 400,000 have been forced to fell to Bangladesh as entire villages were burnt down, according to UN estimates.
The top leaders of Hefazat said Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was a “murderer, terrorist and war criminal” for allowing the atrocities to continue, and they demanded that the UN and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) lodge a case against her at the International Court of Justice.
Hefazat Joint Secretary General Mainuddin Ruhi said the group planned to lay siege to the Myanmar embassy in Dhaka on Monday.
“We will also submit a memorandum before the UN and the OIC to put pressure on the Myanmar government to take back the Rohingya and ensure their citizenship,” he added.
Hefazat's Central Organising Secretary Azizul Haque Islamabadi and central leader Mufti Harun Bin Izhar reiterated the threat to launch jihad against Myanmar if their demands were not fulfilled immediately.
Meanwhile, Hefazat’s Dhaka unit President Nur Hossain Kashemi said the only way to resolve the Rohingya crisis was “Arakan’s [Rakhine] independence”.
“We urge our prime minister to solve this issue with an armed offensive. It is the prime time to do it,” he said at the protest rally in front of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka.
Hefazat was joined by several other Islamist organisations at its Dhaka protest.
Addressing the rally in front of Baitul Mukarram, leaders of these groups urged the Bangladesh Army to make its position over the issue of Rohingya crisis clear.
Furthermore, they asked the armed forces to be prepared for battle, should the situation arise.
The protesters also urged the people of the country to boycott all Myanmar products until its government stopped the oppression of Rohingya.
“Protests took place in other districts of the country as well,” Hefazat's Central Organising Secretary Azizul Haque Islamabadi told the Dhaka Tribune. “Several thousand activists of the Islamist parties as well as common people took part in the protest rallies and processions.”