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Koreans of different faiths voice concern over Rohingya crisis

Although we are of different ethnic backgrounds, we should not lose the way of love, says Franciscan priest

Koreans of different faiths voice concern over Rohingya crisis

Religious activists of Korea's four major religions in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Seoul, on Sept. 19. (Photo by The Catholic Times)

September 29, 2017

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A South Korean interfaith group has called for an end to the persecution of the Muslim Rohingya during a press conference held out the front of the Myanmar Embassy in Seoul.

Members of South Korea's Buddhist, Won-Buddhist groups and the Catholic and Protestant Churches jointly gathered for the event on Sept. 19.

"Although we have a different ethnic background, we should not lose the way of love and peace among us," Franciscan Father Aloisius Kim Jong-hwa said. "We should embrace them as our neighbors whom Jesus told us to love," he said.

Some 500,000 Rohingya have fled northern Rakhine State in the past month. The exodus began after the Myanmar military conducted operations following attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army militants on government posts, Aug 25.

The U.N. has said that Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya is textbook ethnic cleansing.

Venerable Beobil, president of the Buddhist Environmental Solidarity, said Myanmar is a holy place for Buddhists.

"If Myanmar's Buddhist monks do not intervene to settle the problem, it means the total abnegation of their responsibilities as Buddhists," said Venerable Beobil. "In addition, Korean Buddhists should raise their voices over the issue."

Also, attending the press conference was Mohammed Ishque, a Rohingya who has been in been South Korea for 15 years. "I don't know whereabouts of my family in Myanmar," said Ishque. "The Rohingya have been lived in Myanmar for generations and we don't have the same rights as Myanmar citizens," he said referring to the 1982 Citizenship Law that made the ethnic minority stateless in their own country.

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