Islamic Help bridging the religious divide 18th December, 2014
Food distribution programmes by Islamic Help are helping bridge the ethno-religious divide in Burma.Violence between communities, especially Muslim minorities and Buddhists, has left tens of thousands displaced and suffering severe shortages of basic necessities.
Despite severe restrictions imposed by the authorities and the sensitivities involved, Islamic Help carried out major food aid programmes in 2014 that helped vulnerable and needy Muslims and non-Muslims.
The first project involved the distribution of food packages to 100 families (approx 620 individuals) in three villages in Rakhine state.
Rakhine borders Bangladesh and since the eruption of inter-communal violence in 2012, an estimated 140,000 Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine have been displaced and live in aid camps.
The distribution was carried out with the co-operation of government and local authorities but bue to political and religious sensitivities, no Arabic text or Islamic symbols like crescents or minarets could be shown on any of the banners or marketing materials.
Similar restrictions were in place for our Qurbani programme where more than 3,800 people, again in Rakhine state, received meat parcels.
The meat was distributed to Muslims and Buddhists and provided an opportunity to build peace between communities as the distribution was based on needs and vulnerability only, regardless of race, religion or political background
Both programmes also helped explore other needs within communities, such as livelihoods, and the potential for future projects to address those.