World Bulletin / News Desk
Malaysia's prime minister Thursday urged Myanmar to end its crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya minority, warning that extremists may exploit the crisis.
At least 66,000 Rohingya have subsequently fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, alleging rape, murder and torture at the hands of security forces. But Myanmar denies the allegations.
"Far too many people have lost their lives in Myanmar," said premier Najib Razak, speaking in Kuala Lumpur at the opening of a special meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
"Many have suffered appalling deaths, and those that have lived through the atrocities have witnessed or endured unspeakable cruelty," he added.
"For a start, the killing must stop. The violation of women and girls must stop," he said, adding that "the persecution of your fellow men and women, simply on the grounds that they are Muslim, must stop."
The plight of the Rohingya, a stateless group denied citizenship in Myanmar and reviled as illegal immigrants by the majority Buddhist population, has become a lightning rod for anger across the Muslim world.
Najib, who has called the crisis a "genocide" and whose prominent defence of the Rohingya comes as he battles a massive graft scandal at home, warned the issue could fan the flames of international extremist.
"OIC member states are well aware that terrorist organisations such as ISIL could seek to take advantage of this situation," he said.
"This should concern the international community as a whole, as the threat of a new home for terrorist groups has the potential to cause death and destruction well beyond this region."
Najib added that Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya -- tens of thousands of whom have languished in displacement camps since communal riots in 2012 -- was a "stain" on the 10-member Southeast Asian regional bloc ASEAN.Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ocak 2017, 11:51