Maungdaw, Arakan State: Azan (prayer calls) in mosques were barred by concerned authority in Maungdaw district (Maungdaw and Buthidaung) Townships since February 24, Illiyas, a local leader said from Maungdaw. “After the 2012 clash between Rakhine and Rohingya communities across the Arakan state, the mosques, religious schools—madrasas, moqtobs (children schools) and Hafez Khana (Quran memorization schools) had been closed by the local concerned authorities.”
However, some of the mosques and Moqtobs are not closed in rural areas of Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships. The villages’ Imams (religious leaders who lead prayers in mosques) called prayers to the mosques by calling Azan five times in a day, Moulana Hamid, a religious leader said from Maungdaw north.
But, on February 25, village Administration officers called Imams and head of the mosques committee of Maungdaw Township to sign an agreement with authority not to call Azan in mosques in future. If anyone does not comply with the order, he/she will be punished according to the law, according to Rafique, an admin officer from the locality.
Besides, the concerned authorities are also collecting data of mosques of Buthidaung and Maungdaw Townships, which will create another problem among the Rohingya villagers in future. Villagers believe that authority will order to destroy some of the mosques by giving reasons that they had no complete documents, the admin officer said.
After the 2012 clashes, the concerned authorities are trying to find faults against the Rohingya community one by one to harass the Rohingya villagers, said a local a local youth.