The persecuted muslim group doesn’t have a rohingya translation of islam’s holiest book.For the first time, the Rohingya Muslims will be able to listen to an authentic recitation of the Quran in their own language as an audio and video translation of Islam’s holiest scripture will go online in a few days.
The translation, which is based on Saudi Arabia’s King Fahad English version of the Quran, will be released in instalments with the first few parts expected to be shared in the coming Ramadan, starting from mid-April, the organisers behind the project tell TRT World.
Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, according to the United Nations. More than 800,000 people, a large number of women and children among them, have been forced to flee their homes in Myanmar after a brutal military operation.
Human rights activists have recorded multiple cases of rape, extrajudicial killings and entire villages being burned down to ashes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, formerly known as Arakan.
But decades of persecution and state censure by the Buddhist government also decimated the Rohingya language with their books and scriptures destroyed and education banned.
“We were not allowed to read and write in Rohingya. They will give us maximum punishment for that, which was either being killed or getting jailed,” says Muhammad Noor, a Rohingya activist and entrepreneur, who is part of the translation campaign.
Past attempts at the Rohingya translation have been incomplete and mostly been in the text form, which used Urdu, Arabic or Latin alphabets, he says.
Illiteracy is rife among the Rohingyas – most of whom now live in congested refugee camps in Bangladesh. They have been deprived of education and jobs for decades by the Myanmar state, which even refuses to call the ethnic minority by its name.
It is the Rohingya diaspora, such as Noor whose parents fled Myanmar in the 1960s to the Middle East, that has been trying to revive the community’s culture and heritage.
But while the Rohingya language is spoken and understood by 1.8 million people, its written format- the alphabets and vocabulary – has gone through several changes over the centuries.