The Rohingya are one of the most—if not the most—persecuted and oppressed ethno-religious groups in the world today. The United Nations estimates that nearly 30,000 Rohingya have become refugees, as a result of widespread persecution in Myanmar. Of those refugees, “20,000 are marooned in no man’s land between [Myanmar and Bangladesh],” according to TRT World.
Virtually every week, news stories detail the increasingly abysmal conditions the Rohingya are facing. Members of this despised Muslim minority group are regularly tortured, raped, and killed—not just by the broader population in Myanmar, but by state authorities as well. While the persecution of the Rohingya is generally covered by mainstream news and media outlets, many people are still only vaguely aware of the group’s plight; the most harrowing stories are occasionally underreported or go entirely unnoticed.
For example, on August 28, 2017, the Daily Sabah reported that “[b]etween 2,000 and 3,000 Muslims were killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine [S]tate” in the span of just three days. Citing the European Rohingya Council’s Anita Schug, the report also states that countless thousands were injured “in what [Schug] described as a ‘slow-burning genocide’.” Apart from the Turkish press, this news story was hardly picked up anywhere in the world.
Another recent story, which was similarly ignored, is that of thirteen year old Tasnim—a Rohingya refugee who watched her father beaten to death as fifteen men gang-raped her in her family’s home. In an interview with Muslim YouTuber, Umm Abdullah, Tasnim recalls the manner in which the men broke into her home—intending to rape her—and how they threatened to kill her father, if he made the slightest sound. The intruders proceeded to throw Tasnim down onto the floor and stomp on her legs to prevent her from escaping. They then tied Tasnim’s legs apart, so she could not close them, and began to torture and rape her in front of her father.
Tasnim says that, after the first group of fifteen men had finished raping her, they called another group of men to come and continue in their place. By this time, Tasnim’s father had been brutally beaten, for the crime of begging the men to stop raping his daughter. He would eventually bleed out and die from injuries to his head. Months later, Tasnim discovered she was pregnant, eventually giving birth to the child. Just shy of fourteen years old, she now cares for her baby and sick mother.
As visceral and disturbing as Tasnim’s story is, it is certainly not the first of its kind. On Facebook, Umm Abdullah wrote that, within the span of two weeks, she had “sat and spoken to so many traumatised young girls like Tasnim[.]” Indeed, Tasnim’s story is one of perhaps thousands, which are hardly if ever reported by mainstream outlets.
Umm Abdullah and her husband have created a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising money for persecuted Rohingya, like Tasnim. In just four days, 883 individuals have raised nearly $100,000 for the cause. The fundraiser’s aim is both to provide clean food, water, and shelter for the Rohingya community, and “emotional and mental support…for those people who have lost everything including their dignity, family and possessions.”
To donate to the project, click here.