A UK-based Rohingya activist has accused opponents of Aung San Suu Kyi of using “dirty tricks” to discredit her after emails appearing to show the opposition leader expressing sympathy with the persecuted Muslim minority surfaced online.
“In the coming election in November our manifesto begins with the fight for equal rights of individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs… we must extend and strengthen the rule of law to protect our most vulnerable ethnic minorities, Rohingyas,” reads the message, widely shared on Facebook over the weekend.
Tun Khin, one of the supposed recipients and president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, said the message was never sent.
“I did not receive any emails from Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said on the phone from London.
They have met – once in the UK parliament in 2012 – and have talked on the phone on occasion, he said.
But the leader of Myanmar’s main opposition party has been widely criticized for her failure to speak out on behalf of the Muslim minority, who have been confined to dismal internal displacement camps and villages in Rakhine state after violent clashes with Buddhists in 2012.
Hundreds of thousands are believed to have fled the country on rickety boats.
“I am a longtime supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi, since the 1990s, as she is working as a democratic leader, but I feel very bad that she is not speaking up for the Rohingya,” said Tun Khin.
He believes the emails, also supposedly sent to Professor Dr. Wakar Uddin, director general of Arakan Rohingya Union, were doctored to portray the opposition leader as a Rohingya sympathizer.
Earlier this year, she was lambasted after a Photoshopped image that appeared to show her bowing before an Islamic leader was posted online.
“By using us they want to damage her popularity,” said Tun Khin.
The screenshot posted online contains numerous misspellings including ‘hatered’. A spokesperson for her party, the National League for Democracy, could not immediately reached for comment.
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