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What Matters? Humanitarian Feedback Bulletin #14 (31 October 2018) [EN/BN]

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Rohingya Community Feedback:
Has the relationship between Muslim and Hindu Rohingya people changed?

Source: Feedback collected between September 24 and October 20 by 17 Internews Community Correspondents and one feedback manager using Kobo Collect app in camps 1E, 1W, 2E, 2W, 3 and 4. In total, 1098 interactions have been analysed to present how the relationships between Hindu and Muslim Rohingya people have changed after they fled to Bangladesh. The feedback is collected in Rohingya using English and Bangla script.

The feedback collected reflects the mutual relationship Hindu and Muslim Rohingya people used to have when they were in Myanmar. Many of the Muslim community members mentioned that, as there were no barbers in the their community, Hindu barbers used to come to their area every week to cut their hair. Instead of giving money in return, Muslims used to give them rice at the end of the year so that the barbers could feed their families for the whole year. This reflects the way they were dependent on each other to survive.

Besides the dependence for livelihood, both communities told how they used to celebrate religious festivals and social gatherings together. Things like visiting in the Hindu neighbourhood for Muslims and sharing food between the two communities was common. Many respondents mentioned how similar they felt the two communities are in terms of their looks, and culture besides their religious difference and that they used to share a good relationship between them.

From the analysis of feedback it appears that the relationship between the two communities became tense in August 2017 as both believe that they have suffered because of the other. One the one hand, some Muslim community members have sympathy for the Hindu community because they believe Hindus were tortured, killed and lost their households because the Burmese military thought they were Muslims.
On the other hand, some also think that Hindu people followed the instructions of the Burmese military to burn their houses.

Hindu community members stated that they had to go through a lot because of Muslims. Their feedback reflects how they feel they were targeted by the Myanmar army and people in their community were killed and suffered because of Muslims.
Some also believe that perhaps the Muslim community also played a role in the violence towards them. Statements from both communities show that, despite their previously harmonious relationship, there is now anger and distrust between the two communities.

Muslim community members shared that when Hindu and Muslim people escaped to Bangladesh they helped each other on the way. They think the Hindu community also belongs to the same country and they have had the same struggle as Muslims back in Myanmar when the military crackdown happened. They strongly feel Hindu people would feel the desire to return to their home in Myanmar like them. Despite the religious identity, they want justice for everybody who has suffered.

Like the Muslim community, some people from Hindu community mentioned that as they are not clear whether Muslims or other Burmese nationals tortured them and killed their people, they want justice and they want to go back to their country. In addition to that, they also said they can live and share like before with Muslims if the situation changes.

Both community members think that even though they are from different religious backgrounds; they belong to the same country and all they want is to go back to their roots and live in peace and dignity

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