ACTNews, SITTWE, COX’S Bazar – Eid-ul-Adha is a moment where Muslims gather in happiness to commemorate the sacrifice done by Ibrahim (Peace Be Upon Him) to do what Allah has commanded him. In Indonesia, Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated in numerous ways, all reflect the happiness of the occasion. Unfortunately, while Muslims in Indonesia are able to celebrate in happiness, there are other Muslims in the world who are living under oppression.
They are the Rohingya Muslims who live in prolonged fear due to the persecution that they have to endure in their own homeland in Rakhine State. Unrecognized as the Burmese citizens, the Rohingyas have to live in severe condition. Their houses were burnt down, their wealth was robbed, and their family members were kidnapped, even killed. It is a luxury to be able to live in peace, let alone to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha.
Due to the systematic ethnic cleansing, many of the Rohingyas opt to seek refuge in other countries. Many of them ended up stranded in the sea, tossed around by the waves without knowing where to go. Many were welcomed by generous host countries like Bangladesh. Some decide to stay in their homeland, living under Burmese military’s blockade.
In Sittwe, for instance, Abdul Majed live with five of his family members. As the head of the household, he makes a living as a teacher. Under the military blockade, unfortunately, many of his students and fellow teachers decided to seek refuge and flee. Not only that he is unable to work, it also becomes impossible for him to shop for his needs outside his village. His life is darkened with desperation.
The adults are jobless, and the children are uneducated, and the Mora cyclone that hit the area in May 2017 makes life even harder for them. Houses were destroyed, and many people were injured. No medical services were running at the moment.
“It’s worse than the life in refugee cemps,” said Mohammad Saed sadly, witnessing the condition in Sittwe firsthand.
When Eid-ul-Adha 1438 AH came in September 1st 2017, the Rohingyas in Sittwe couldn’t hope much. They live in poverty, depending solely on humanitarian aid, waiting for the blockade to be lifted. They prayed in silence. They did not even think about having qurbani meat to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha.
Happiness was abundant when bags of qurbani meat were delivered to their houses. It was Global Qurban, collaborating with the organization led by Mohammad Saed, that sent the qurbani packages. Five cows were slaughtered to provide meat for 7,678 recipients from 1,534 Rohingya families in Sittwe.
Asiya Begum (65), a mother of three children who becomes the breadwinner of her family, expressed her happiness for receiving the qurbani packages. “I am delighted and extremely grateful that Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) and Indonesians who are willing to donate to us on the day of Eid-ul-Adha. Hopefully, you will continue helping us, and may Allah accept your good deeds,” she said emotionally.
It was not just Asiya Begum, Abdul Majed, and other Rohingyas in Sittwe who were able to savor delicious qurbani meat on the day of Eid-ul-Adha. Global Qurban also visited the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. They live in Kutupalong refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar.
At the moment, the refugee settlement was overloaded after the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh due to the military operation that killed thousands on Rakhine.
In Kutupalong campt, the refugees crammed inside makeshift tents. They relied on donors for food and drink. The terrible sanitary condition worsened the life in the refugee camp. Many of them had to suffer from diseases like upper respiratory tract infection. Unfortunately, there were no adequate medical service there.
“The condition is difficult here, but at least no one is persecuting them,” said S.M. Rasheduzzaman, an ACT partner in Bangladesh.
In Eid-ul-Adha 2017, refugees in Kutupalong refugee settlement could for a moment forget the trauma that haunted them even in their sleep. Big pieces of meat were delivered to be cooked and eaten with their families. It was such an indescribable happiness.
“I lost my father, and now I live with my mother and my two sisters. I am very happy to be able to eat the qurbani dish with my family. It’s been a long time since the last time I ate such delicious dish. May Allah always bless ACT and Indonesia,” said Salma (10), a happy little girl. In her red long-dress, she closely looked at the qurbani package that she held tightly.
The prolonged conflict needs to end soon so peace can return. Hopefully, one day, the Rohingya refugees can celebrate Eid-ul-Adha back in their homeland. While we all are praying for peace for the Rohingyas, Global Qurban team is preparing to dedicate the best qurbani in Eid-ul-Adha 2018 that is coming in less than two months for the oppressed Rohingyas.