Bangladeshi golfer Siddikur Rahman on Wednesday pulled out of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open, citing his support for Rohingya Muslim refugees who have fled a military crackdown in the mainly Buddhist country.
Nearly 690,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in late August.
Siddikur said he “felt a kind of uneasiness” about playing in the $750,000 Asian Tour tournament, which begins on Thursday in Yangon.
“I support the Rohingyas that’s why I did not go. It might have sent a wrong message. Being a Muslim I also did not feel safe going there,” he told reporters in Dhaka.
Siddikur is a golfing icon in Bangladesh and in 2016, became the first Bangladeshi to qualify automatically for the Olympics.