Introduction / History The Muslim Rohingya people are from Bangladesh and Rakhine State in Myanmar. They speak the Rohingya language and practice folk Islam. Rohingyas and some scholars claim they are indigenous to Rakhine State, while the Burmese claim the Rohingyas are mainly migrants from Bengal. Buddhist people of Rakhine State and Muslim Rohingyas have struggled against each other for many decades and there were riots in 2012. Many Rohingyas have fled to ghettos and refugee camps in Bangladesh and to areas along the border with Thailand. They have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and have been described as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. A few thousand fortunate Rohingya have fled persecution in Myanmar and made their home in Australia.
What are their lives like? Although agricultural work is the main livelihood of the Rohingya in Bangladesh and Myanmar, the newly arrived Rohingya in Australia take any job they can find. They work in factories, construction, sanitation, and as domestics. To survive in Australia must be proficient in the English language. Learning English is a high priority for the Rohingya. Finding shelter and putting their children in schools are also high on the list of things the Rohingya in Australia must accomplish. Once the adults do find employment, they often send money to Bangladesh and Myanmar to help their impoverished family and friends. An education, job skills and speaking English are keys in Australia to obtaining a middle-class lifestyle.
What are their beliefs? The Rohingya people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. Their Islam is frequently combined with animistic beliefs. The Rohingya try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Muhammad. They believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, lying, and slandering. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast of Ramadan and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
What are their needs? The Rohingya in Australia have first to have their basic needs met, shelter, a regular supply of food and getting their children into schools. Australian believers can demonstrate the love of Christ by helping the Rohingya. Most of all, the Rohingya need to understand that Isa or Jesus Lord and Savior of all nations.
Prayer Points Pray for fair treatment of the Rohingya in Myanmar. Pray that Australian believers would reach out and share the gospel with the Rohingya. Pray that leaders in Rohingya community would become believers and lead their families to the Savior. Pray that Rohingya believers would return to their native land and help their brothers and sisters become followers of Jesus Christ. * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.