As a Rohingya refugee, I see a renaissance of my people’s culture in the Bangladesh camps

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Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

At the end of last year, the Rohingya crisis gained renewed international attention when the Gambia faced off against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice over the genocide committed against my people.

It was a deeply historic and important moment, which was even watched in the refugee camps for displaced Rohingya in which I live in Bangladesh. Yet, as important as it was to see my former idol Aung San Suu Kyi in The Hague, this was a struggle between second and third parties, overshadowing developments that have been occurring within the Rohingya community itself.


I would like to share some of these developments for a simple reason: it is important that genocide survivors such as myself are not seen as merely victims, dependent only on others to take up our cause on our behalf.

The fuller Rohingya story is about much more than our collective suffering at the hands of Myanmar’s military. We are a people with agency, strength and resourcefulness, who seek dignity and meaning in our daily lives, just as others do.

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