Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ramadan Reflections

The deadline for keeping sanctions on Burma has been allowed to expire and now we are waiting to see if the president will issue an Executive Order to keep limits on trade while massive oppression is going on. It was disappointing this week that White House lawyers apparently chose to move forward with assistance to Egypt despite the coup that recently took place, breaking their own rules through some very dishonest legal interpretation. Will business (including military assistance) continue no matter what happens, even in Burma?

Here is a Ramadan video to share with community that does not know:

As Ramadan unfolds, I notice some people immediate open their wallets when I speak about the crisis of the Burmese Muslims. Whether it is 1 dollar or 100 dollars, that spontaneous generosity is moving and beautiful. And yet, I wonder how many people will be generous with their time and make phone calls to our officials, to ask for policy to be changed, for the lies of the Burmese generals to be challenged? How many will reach out to Buddhist neighbors to discuss the issue?



WBAI Radio Interviews on Rohingya

Here are links to excerpts from the July 4 show on WBAI radio.

This Fourth of July we remember freedom; not only the freedom to live in privacy and dignity far from NYPD and NSA spying, unfrisked and unstopped. We consider the tradition of giving sanctuary and safe haven to those fleeing oppression. Are there fewer refugees being resettled?  What are the trends in refugee assistance and what are the obstacles to a refugee

Our first guest is Mitzi Schroeder, Director for Policy JRS USA, who has been working since 1979 to defend the rights of refugees and migrants throughout the world. She served as deputy chair of Refugee Council USA and as a member of the Executive Committee of InterAction, the U.S. Council for Voluntary International Action. She began her career at Migration and Refugee Service, U.S. Catholic Conference, where she was responsible for the development and support of international programming.

JRS advocates for just and generous policies and programs for the benefit of victims of forced displacement. JRS/USA works with an international network of JRS programs in more than fifty countries as well as with other human rights and refugee assistance organizations to tell the story of the “forgotten” refugee. By bringing field-based accounts of needs that too often do not make the headlines to the attention of policy makers in the United States, and by proposing specific actions to meet these needs, JRS staff seek to make a direct and lifesaving impact on the well-being of refugees and forced migrants.

Facing ethnic cleansing, the Rohingya Muslim minority is one group that is being dislocated as extremist Buddhist groups attack and burn their villages and the Burmese government passes exclusionary laws. What services are being provided to this population? To discuss this issue, our final guests will be Shaikh Ubaid of Burma Task Force.


Shaikh Ubaid is on the board of the Burma Task Force USA and also heads the Muslim Peace Coalition, which is composed of Muslim Americans in 15 states who are committed to the principle of standing up and speaking for justice (Quran 4:135), not only because of their desire to uphold the principles of their faith but also out of deep concern and commitment to our country.

The Muslim Peace Coalition believes that war, terrorism and Islamophobia form a dangerous nexus that is dragging our nation backward. Spearhead by the Muslim Peace Coalition, 100 New York Imams in the spring of 2011 stood together to issue an historic statement that established the link between wars at home and wars abroad. For more information about the coalition see: and for Burma:


Task Force July 2013

Today am starting as Director of the Burma Task Force USA NY Chapter, raising awareness about the dire situation the Rohingya people face in Burma. God willing, our collective efforts will lead to effective policy and positive change. However, we will need many people to get involved, to walk this uphill road together and use their voices to make a powerful and clear outcry that will be heard in Washington DC as well as Myanmar.

So sad to see Buddhist traditions distorted to promote hate!


As villages burn and hundreds of thousands are displaced, where is the compassion?



As the “Hidden Genocide” becomes more visible, do we as a nation take a moral stand? And what about you & me as individuals?