THE harrowing experiences of hundreds of thousands of people who face ethnic cleansing in Myanmar were recounted to people attending a charity dinner in Keighley.
More than 100 people attended the One Vision group event, to raise more cash for those suffering and to see off the aid team of four One Vision fundraisers, who have collected £89,542 to help persecuted Rohingya Muslims being forced out of the country.
This team, comprising Razaq Hussain and Aroj Ali from Keighley and Naseeb Abbas and Asif Nazir from Oldham, have travelled to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
They will hand deliver aid to many of the 500,000 Rohingya refugees now living in dire conditions in camps in Bangladesh.
A series of speakers addressed the gathering, including Keighley town mayor Councillor Mohammed Nazam, town councillor Kaneez Akthar, Keighley town chaplain Reverend Dr Jonathan Pritchard and Kelsang Dra-ma, of Keighley’s Buddha Land Kadampa Buddhist Centre.
Keighley businessman Razaq Hussain, of One Vision, also spoke in a video presentation, where he explained how his group would be distributing aid directly to the displaced Rohingya via the established international charity Al-Imdaad Foundation.
He said: “People have been murdered, raped and tortured and their villages burned to the ground.
“People have had to walk many miles, cross rivers or cross the sea to get to safety.
“And this is only the beginning because once the media have left and social media has gone silent these people will still be there needing our support.
“We’ve been raising awareness of this and collecting money all over the UK over the last few weeks, from Blackburn to Manchester, Bolton to Luton.”
Keighley resident Ash Alom, who compered the evening, said: “Tonight we’re gathering here not for a particular religion but for the cause of humanity. We’re here to show unity, solidarity and to do our bit.”
Cllr Akthar called on people to lobby national politicians to in turn pressure the Myanmar Government to stop the militias responsible for the mass murders.
She said: “All of us can play our part in helping with what is an awful situation on the borders of Bangladesh.
“It’s a situation which has been caused by a lack of knowledge and tolerance. These are people who the world has forgotten about for a very long time.”