Friday, February 23, 2007-->Web posted at: 2/20/2007 2:7:51
Source ::: The Peninsula / By MOBIN PANDIT
Doha • A human rights activist from Darfur yesterday blasted the Arab and Muslim world for what he described as its hypocritical stand on the troubled region in Sudan.
He said Muslims from the rest of the world should be ashamed of their indifference towards fellow Muslims being persecuted in Darfur.
Ironically, it is the Jews and Americans who are supporting the 'innocent Muslims being targeted' in the region and providing food and shelter to nearly 250,000 Darfur refugees who have fled to neighboring Chad, said Mohamed Adam Yahya.
Yahya is the founder and executive director of the US-based ‘Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy’, a body committed to preserving human rights and ethnic communities in Darfur.
Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the US-Islamic World Forum here, he said: "The silence of the Arab and Islamic world on the Darfur issue is not only baffling, it is shameful. Do the Arabs and Muslims have any right to criticise America?"
Situated in the west of Sudan and spread over an area of 173,000 square miles, Darfur is double the size of France and has seven million people, mostly 'black' Muslims, living there.
According to Yahya, Sudan's total population is around 36 million and 26 per cent of the people are of Arab origin. They have been dominating politics, education, military, government jobs as well as business and the economy ever since the country attained freedom in January 1956.
Even though ‘black Muslims’ account for 75 per cent of Darfur's population, they do not enjoy any freedom. They are denied opportunities of education and cannot enter politics. They cannot become religious leaders or take up higher posts in the army or even become teachers.
“All a black Darfur Muslim can hope to become is a soldier in the Sudanese army,” said Yahya. "The Arab Sudanese consider themselves as superior. They have been discriminating against us for long."
Earlier, Yahya's scathing criticism of Muslims for their alleged silence on the plight of fellow Muslims in Darfur at the concluding session of the US-Islamic World Forum at the Ritz-Carlton yesterday was greeted with hearty applause.
The problem in Darfur actually began in 1991 with violent clashes between 'black and Arab Muslims' taking place. Taking advantage of the widening cleavage, the present government in Khartoum began supporting a local Arab militia, called the 'Janjaweed', with arms and funds. The problem was aggravated.
Yahya said that over the past four years alone, some 450,000 people have been killed in the region and another 250,000 have become homeless. They have been forced to take refuge in neighbouring Chad. “There is a genocide going on in the region and the Jews and the Americans are opposing it, while the Arabs and Muslims have chosen to be conveniently mum. It is ironical that Muslims are killing Muslims there,” said Yahya.