Rohingya youths in Maungdaw have today taken to the streets to celebrate Eid al-Fitr for the first time in three years, an Islamic community leader from Maungdaw told DVB.
“We were not allowed to hold celebrations like this — where people drive around the area and dance freely — because of the pandemic. Now, many young people are very happy,” he said.
Rohingya people living in the border township of Maungdaw still suffer from severe restriction of movement, as they have under past administrations. Sporadic fighting in the region — involving the Arakan Army, the Burma Army, and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army — restarted last November.
“They would like to be happy. Young people are used to celebrating and dancing during Hindu and Buddhist festivals. Young Muslims are human beings and have rights they should be able to exercise freely,” a Buddhist resident, who was observing the celebrations, commented.
More than 600,000 people, the majority of Rakhine’s Rohingya population, were forced to flee to Bangladesh after the Burma Army launched a military that the US State Department has recently termed a genocide.
Members of Muslim resistance groups elsewhere in Burma have called on Muslims to engage in low key festivities for as long as the military rules.
Muslims across Rakhine State will celebrate Eid from May 3 to 5.