Indonesian Ulema Urges Acehnese to Uphold Human Values in Dealing with Rohingyas

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TEMPO.CO, Meulaboh, Aceh – An Indonesian ulema has appealed to the people of Aceh to remain wise and uphold human values in responding to Rohingya refugees’ presence in the province.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, chairperson of the West Aceh Ulema Consultative Council (MPU), Teungku Mahdi Kari Usman, said that the local residents also need to practice the teachings of Islam in accepting the refugees’ presence.

He noted that the refugees’ arrival in the West Aceh region has invited resistance from several members of the local community and urged locals to keep calm and remain wise in responding to the Rohingyas.

Islam teaches the values of brotherhood and assisting Muslims in dire need of help, like the Rohingyas, who are predominantly Muslim, Usman said.

He also highlighted the importance of humanity and solidarity among members of interfaith communities.

“Therefore, in facing this situation, we urge West Aceh residents to uphold the human values that our religion has taught us. We help and protect our Rohingya Muslim brothers and sisters,” he added.

Usman further said that while maintaining law and order in West Aceh, the local government and humanitarian agencies have pledged to cooperate to provide the Rohingya with assistance and protection.

The synergistic collaboration of the local government with residents and humanitarian agencies would make West Aceh a safe place for Rohingya refugees, he said.

“We, however, must also maintain a sense of harmony and diversity in our community,” Usman added.

ANTARA previously reported on local opposition to sheltering the refugees at a designated campsite in December 2023.

A number of ethnic Rohingya refugees are seen sitting in a truck during forced relocation from a temporary shelter at the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) Building, Suak Nie Village, Johan Pahlawan, West Aceh, Aceh, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. ANTARA/Syifa Yulinnas

As a result, the refugees could not be sheltered at the campsite. Instead, they were sent back to the Aceh Governor’s office.

According to Fakhrurrazi, a member of the Indonesian Inter-Residents Radio (RAPI) Task Force, before they could be transported to the Pidie campsite, two of the refugees tried to escape.

Their attempt was foiled by local police officers, who reunited them with other refugees. The refugees arrived on Blang Raya Beach on a vessel on December 10, 2023.

The local authorities’ previous efforts to place the refugees at temporary shelters in Lamreh and Aceh Besar also failed due to rejection from the locals.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi recently called for a political solution to the Rohingya issue, which is considered an inseparable part of resolving the Myanmar crisis.

During a meeting on the Rohingya issue on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the United States, Marsudi underlined that the future of Rohingya refugees remains uncertain.

At the same time, the global situation and the conditions in Myanmar have made the issue more difficult to resolve.

“Resolving the Rohingya issue should be part of resolving the political crisis in Myanmar,” she said.

ANTARA

Editor’s Choice: UNHCR and IOM Respond to Rohingya Refugee Tragedy off Aceh Coast

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