MSA raise awareness about the Rohingya refugee crisis


Vandy Manyeh

MSA Officers at a recent bake sale on campus

Vandy Manyeh, News Editor

In what appears to be one of the world’s worst refugee crisis, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled their native Myanmar since August of this year.

The crisis stems from the decision by Myanmar’s government not to recognize the Muslim minority group as legitimate citizens of Myanmar. The government claims they are citizens of neighboring Bangladesh. More than 88-percent of Myanmar’s population follow the teachings of Buddhism.  

This situation has left thousands without life’s basic necessities, while pregnant women and children are in urgent need of medical supplies.

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) at College of DuPage (COD) is doing something to help out. Collaborating with the Zakat Foundation, a Worth-based Islamic humanitarian organization, the association is raising money to help with projects that send much-needed supplies to fellow Muslims in dire need. The association also hosted a bake sale on Dec. 4.

“MSA wanted to help raise awareness about the devastating situation in Myanmar and the genocide against the Rohingya people,” said Feryaal Tahir, co-president of the MSA. “This is a very much forgotten group of people, and MSA wanted to raise money to help projects for the over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims who are fleeing violence and death.”

Muslims in the region are being persecuted and their land can be taken away at any time according to Human Rights Watch.

“These innocent people are having to flee their homes and fight death, and this needs to be stopped,” said Tahir.

The country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticized for remaining silent since the start of the crisis. Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Her critics want the award to be revoked.

The MSA believes anyone can contribute by spreading awareness for the cause and educating people about the crisis and why we need the world to act now.

“You can contact your local political representative and express to them why they should take a stand against this injustice and violence,” added Tahir. “Also, involvement with relief organizations like ZakatFoundation to raise money and send supplies to Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as getting involved with and helping Rohingya Refugees in our own home.”

There is a Rohingya Cultural Center in Chicago. The center is a “social service organization aimed at serving the needs of the Rohingya refugee population in Chicago as well as raising awareness of the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar.”