By Abdul Malik Mujahid via Burma Task Force Newsletter
Why did this young Rohingya girl leave Burma on her own?
Why would parents sell everything they own to put their loving girl at the mercy of wooden boats in treacherous seas and an uncertain future.
This morning, Fatima told me her story as loud as a Muslim girl can.
Throughout the conversation, her eyes remained furious and her face was tense. May Allah continue to keep her strong. Our ummah can use more and more of sisters strong, firm, and standing tall.
She, like others, was fleeing the genocide in Burma. Rape is an instrument of genocide in Burma. Parents in Burma are selling all they have to send their daughters out so that they are not raped by the Burmese military or Buddhist extremists.
But that was not in my mind when I asked Fatima, “Why did you leave Burma?”
That was the first time her furious eyes started looking downward. It was, however, her silence that spoke louder and louder, as my heart sank.
Ya Allah, I told myself. I did not mean to raise that question.
I raced to change the topic and made another mistake as a Rohingya refugee teacher translating for me started giving words to her silence, telling me how the Rohingya women are raped by military, police, as well as Buddhist extremists. Parents have limited choices: accept rape as a cost of life, try to hide their girls, bribe the culprits away, or try to flee.
I wish I had remained quiet. I wish the Imam had not spelt that out for me. Her haya (modesty) was enough to convey.
I ended up asking Fatima about her future. “Where would you like to go?”
The furious eyes were back. She looked up. Still silent, staring at my wisdom as though asking why did you ask. She finally spoke, “Anywhere my Rab would take me.”
My heart beat began to shake my iphone. Her face blurred. I had to stop. But Fatima was tearless. Her tears seemed gone long ago.
May Allah keep her safe. May Allah help us keep her in our hearts and duas.
May Allah help you and translate our anger into an energy of thoughtful struggle to liberate the enslaved Rohingyas and to end the genocide.
A stateless Rohingya Muslim family expelled and living in squalor.