The Islamic Republic of Iran considers itself the “undisputed ruler of the Islamic world”, and Ali Khamenei pretends to be the supreme leader of the Muslim world. Regardless of the truth, or the misconception of this claimant, the Islamic Republic of Iran was one of the first countries that responded to the brutal killing of Muslims in Myanmar.
The mass killings of Muslims in Myanmar has a long history. The ruling military government in Myanmar provided the preparations for the genocide; since then, the Muslims have been deprived of their basic rights, including the “right to education”.
Although the Islamic Republic recently claimed to be a refuge for all Muslims in the world, including Myanmar, it has been acting the same as Myanmar’s military government for many years, depriving the minorities and immigrants of their basic rights in Iran.
There is a long list of the exclusions for the minorities in Iran: deprivation of education, employment, having a driving license, and even having religious rites for minorities such as Sunnis.
The Islamic Republic does not even allow Sunnis to have mosques or to hold Friday prayers. The repression of the Dervishes, which is an Islamic sect, is another example of the ethnic and religious minorities’ suppression in Iran. In such circumstances, the suppression, imprisonment, and killing of other religious minorities, such as the Baha is, could be more conceivable.
For over 40 years, Afghan Muslims have been fleeing from their country, seeking refuge in Iran, due to the insecurity and successive wars in east of Iran. Almost 2 million legal and illegal immigrants live in Iran, many of whom were born in Iran, including children who have never seen Afghanistan but who are still considered immigrants and foreign refugees.
These immigrants, apart from struggling with residence permits, are also deprived of their most basic rights, such as having a birth certificate or marriage contract, for those who have been born or married in Iran.
They still do not have the right to study under the same conditions as Iranian children. These rigorous and cumbersome laws are so strong that even the orders of the Supreme leader and the president of the Iranian government have not been able to make any changes. While the Afghan children are deprived of the right to study in the Islamic Republic, the Buddhists recently made a decision, at a confidential meeting, to refuse to register the Muslim children in public schools in order to put more pressure on them. Since the Buddhist leaders do not consider the Rohingya Muslims as Myanmar citizens, they have placed conditions on their enrollment for their admission that they are Bengal citizens; this means that the only way Muslims could enroll their children at schools is through declaring that they are not from Myanmar, but that they are foreign and from Bengal! Although Myanmar government's position, in this regard, has not been clarified, the Rohingya Muslims have rarely been registered in universities as well.
After 2 years of ethnic-religious cleansing in Myanmar, Buddhists still continue to kill, pillage and rape the Rohingya people but the international organizations, especially Islamic countries, still remain silent. The Muslim children of Rohingya are required to study in schools, with minimum facilities made of wood and leaves, without having chairs or desks; however, the Myanmar government has even shut down these schools placing huge enrollment costs for the Muslim children in public schools, in order to keep them illiterate and less educated.
According to “Arakan” News agency, quoting Myanmar’s “DVB” newspaper, only 8% of Rohingya refugee children and adolescents living in Arakan, the west of Myanmar, are able to go to school.
Based on a new UN report released by the Arakan News Agency, the educational level of the Myanmar refugee children, aged 11 to 16 years old, is decreasing dramatically. This is while the non-Muslim children have much better educational opportunities.
Photojournalist & Documentary producer