Introduction / History In historical perspective Rakhine, the home of the Rohingya people, is more a frontier province of eastern India than a province of Burma (now called Myanmar). From the very early days till the arrival of the Mongolians and Tibeto-Burmans in the 10th century, Rakhine was an Indian land with a population similar to Bengal. The spread of Islam in Rakhine during those early times and the impact of Islamic civilization on Rakhine particularly after Bengal became Muslim in 1203 A.D is well known.
According to history, Islam reached Rakhine in the late 8th century AD and attracted the local people to come to Islam en masse. Since then Islam played an important role towards the advancement of civilization in Rakhine. B etween 1430 to 1638, Muslims ruled Rakhine. The system of government (Muslim sultanates) was common in those days. It was an independent Muslim kingdom in the 14th and 15th centuries.
The Rohingya people have been violently persecuted by the Myanmar government, which calls them "non-natives" because they are not Buddhists like the Burmese majority. Thousands had to flee for their lives. Some of them have gone to Saudi Arabia for refuge. The first Rohingyas went to Saudi Arabia in 1948, according to The National.
Where are they located? According to an article in The Guardian, recent Rohingya refugees in Saudi Arabia are kept in prisons awaiting deportation. These prisons are in the cities of Mecca and Jeddah. Some have jobs in these cities.
What are their lives like? The Saudis do not know where to send these refugees since they are not welcome in Myanmar (where they came from) or Bangladesh, which borders Myanmar. Men are kept in separate prisons from their wives and children. They are only able to talk by phone. Some were trafficked to Saudi Arabia by using fake passports from either India or Bangladesh. Others have come to Saudi Arabia for erratic low-paying jobs provided by unethical employment agencies. Some take odd jobs.
Few recently arriving Rohingyas are given citizenship in Saudi Arabia, so they are always in danger of being deported. Since they are not citizens, their children cannot attend regular schools. They have to attend charity schools established by Saudi donors. Those who have been in Saudi Arabia for many years have a much better chance of obtaining citizenship and employment.
What are their beliefs? The Rohingya people are almost all Sunni Muslims. Their hope is in the teachings of the Qur'an and the Hadith, not in the person of Jesus Christ.
What are their needs? The Rohingya need a safe place to live. They need freedom from violent oppression, the opportunity to earn a good living, and have their children get an education.
Prayer Points * Pray for the Rohingya people to find safe refuge in Saudi Arabia and other nations.
* Pray for them to find jobs and schools.
* The Rohingya people have very little chance to hear that Jesus Christ offers them much more than they could ever imagine. Pray for the Rohingyas in Saudi Arabia to be reached by the Lord through dreams, visions, and through Christian materials on the Internet. * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.