Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario said persecution on Rohingya in Rakhine state of Myanmar is an attack on humanity.
“Rohingya crisis is a threat to humanity. It seems, as some say, the persecution and the crisis in Myanmar are preplanned,” he added.
In an exclusive interview with the daily sun recently, the Archbishop of Dhaka said Rohingyas are citizens of Myanmar and they must be granted their human and political rights.
Eradication of a minority group, wherever they are, in such a horrific and terrible way is not right, the cardinal said, the permanent solution for the crisis should be found on human rights, and not on any other motives.
Rohingyas, including other minorities in the world, have to be given the right to live as a citizen, right to land and they must be recognised as people, he continued.
“In the era of globalisation and migration all over the world, plurality of religions and cultures is a reality we should recognise,” he opined.
The Archbishop said, “The present world where we live in suffers from the deficiency of human and spiritual values which usually give life to culture and civilisation.”
All of us should think for all, be inclusive, reject exclusivist attitude and avoid narrow thinking, he maintained.
The Rohingya issue is not simply a bilateral one to be resolved by Bangladesh and Myanmar alone, as it is affecting entire region and the international community, he said.
He called upon the international community to continue its moral persuasion and dialogue in order to bring about a solution based mainly on human rights.
The Catholic spiritual leader said many are seeing the crisis in their own perspectives—either as political, economical, ethnic cleansing or religious - that indicate the complexity of the situation. But in my view, the most important matter is Rohingyas are human beings and humanity is under threat. We must urgently respond to their humanitarian needs.
Citing the example of the Middle East crisis, D’Rozario said if it’s not solved with human approach and wisdom, the trade of arms may one day be the biggest problem to disturb the peace of this region.
He continued saying that Bangladesh has accepted Rohingyas open heartedly on humanitarian ground, in spite of all the concerns and risks knocking at the door.
The people of Bangladesh and its government have not only opened their borders, but also their hearts, it is expression of human values of people of the country who are very rich in values which are ethical as well as spiritual, he maintained.
In reply to a query, D’Rozario said the Pope doesn’t judge anyone, but he always raises his voice if human values are attacked and peace and harmony are breached anywhere in the world. That’s why he will obviously speak out on current issues across the world during his visit.
He further said the Pope has already termed Rohingyas our brothers and sisters, although they are Muslims, and that the Holy Father will appeal for the solution of the crisis to everyone concerned.
Asked, if the Vatican will utilise its influence on Christian countries to resolve the crisis, he said there was a time when a country was either called Muslim, or a Christian, or a Hindu or a Buddhist, but in the age of globalisation, that categorisation is not real and does not work to solve any world problems.
“As he can influence no country in the name of religion in the current age of secularisation, the Pope will raise anomalies and appeal for solutions,” he continued.
On the upcoming papal visit to Bangladesh, the cardinal said Pope Francis is coming to Bangladesh as the head of the state of Vatican being invited by the government and as the head of the Catholic Church which will have impact on Christian community both locally and universally.
As the head of the state, the Pope has some engagements with the state dignitaries of Bangladesh, including its Prime Minister and the President.
Pope Francis will also pay homage to martyrs of the Liberation War of Bangladesh visiting the National Monument at Savar.
He is also scheduled to go to Bangabandhu Museum at Dhanmondi to pay tribute to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation.
The cardinal said Vatican recognised Bangladesh immediately after its independence and established diplomatic relations within a year.
Both the countries maintain unique relations that are not comparable to any other country, as there is no trade and political dimensions in the relationships, he continued.
Mentioning that it is mainly humanistic and spiritual relationships based on spiritual values, he added, “I think his visit will be a festive celebration for further strengthening of the relations.”
The Pope is also coming here as the religious leader of Catholics as well as other Christians who see the Holy Father coming as pilgrim to the hearts of the all human beings, he said.
The Cardinal also said the pilgrimage is very important thing in their religion, as everyone will not be able to see the Pope going to Rome; it is an opportunity for all the Christians living in Bangladesh.
He said the Christian community is a tiny community; however, it is serving the people of Bangladesh in the fields of education, healthcare, human development and charitable and merciful activities to the poor.
Inter-religious harmony and prayer for peace are also our priorities. The Chrisitans will be inspired and motivated in these roles and services to the people of Bangladesh, he continued.
He said, “We the people in Bangladesh may be poor in one sense, but we are rich in values like, religious harmony, non-communal attitude, power of resilience, youthfulness of the country, simple and poor farmers, garment and migrant workers are the richest contributors to the economy of the country; people are God-fearing and happy with a little material things; we are humanitarian, religious and spiritual.”
D’Rozario said these are our richness and treasures in the so-called “poverty” of the country. He said religious harmony and peace flow deep down like a river inside in Bangladesh; though some terrorist and fundamentalist incidents sometimes occur with sudden cyclonic wind disturbing and creating some waves on the top, which is transitory.
I think harmony is integral part of our cultural and traditional identity, because the people of all religions live here in unity, plurality and diversity, he opined.
Claiming Christians are safe and enjoy religious freedom and rights here, he said though some incidents happen, they do not reflect believes and attitudes of all the people of our society, and at times they are alien and imported and not originated from our culture.