“I grew up in Northern Rakhine State in a big Rohingya family”, Mujib recalls, taking a sip from his tea cup. He is sitting on his bed in the small room he shares with a friend in Malaysia. “My parents died when I was young, so I had to take responsibility for my younger siblings early on. I learned to drive and had a reasonably good income as a driver, delivering goods. As a Rohingya in Myanmar, I faced the same restrictions and discrimination as others, but under the circumstances I had a rather good life – and I was in love with that girl from our neighbourhood since my early teenage years!” Mujib’s sad face lights up for a moment. “For eight years I liked her, before I dared to approach her. I was afraid her parents would not agree to her marrying an orphan. But then, when I revealed my feelings to her, everything went very quickly. We had a low-key wedding ceremony and lived for one year a very happy life together. We were so much in love with each other! But suddenly everything turned bad.” Tears well up in his eyes. “For reasons I still don’t understand my brothers and sisters devised an evil plan. They hired a sorcerer who placed me under a curse by attaching magical strings and charms around my arms and neck while I was sleeping. I fell into a kind of trance and could not remember where I was or even that I had a wife. My relatives put me on a boat, and after a long and dangerous journey I arrived here in Malaysia. When friends from my village, who arrived here before me, saw that I was not in my right mind and could not think straight, they quickly understood that the charms and strings were the reason for my dilemma. So they decided to get rid of them and tore them from my body. After this, I could suddenly remember my home and my wife. Great sadness overcame me. At the same time I got very angry at my family for doing this to me. Now I am here in Malaysia, struggling for survival and in constant fear of police raids. I miss my wife so much! Each time we talk on the phone I cannot help but start to cry. I was happy in Myanmar, I did not want to come here. But this is a way of no return. It is impossible for me to ever go back to Rakhine. Maybe I can help my wife to come here or try to meet her in Bangladesh. But what would we do then, as illegal migrants with no money or family support? Why did my own family destroy my life?”
Mujib’s heart-breaking true story illustrates well that the Rohingya dilemma is a combination of political, social and religious factors. Not every terrible fate can be blamed on the discriminatory policies of the Myanmar government alone. The greed and selfishness of the human heart leading to dysfunctional family structures, as well as the destructive influence of magic and Folk Islam add to the despair of millions of Rohingya. In seemingly hopeless situations like this, only God can show a way out. May He intervene miraculously in this modern day Joseph’s story, so that Mujib can be reunited with his wife and will one day be able to forgive his siblings by saying “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Gen 50:20).
- Mujib and his wife will hear the Good News of Jesus the Saviour and turn to Him in their great need
- they will be reunited somehow in a safe place where they can live a normal life
- the millions of Rohingya who are living under spiritual as well as political oppression will find true freedom in Christ