By Mohammed Rafique, The Rohingya Post

Under the guidance of late Mulana Muzafar, hundreds of renowned Rohingya scholars, imams and hafizs have come through the flagship school

Riyazul Uloom, the most famous Islamic school in Rakhine State, has been destroyed in a “suspicious” blaze at 4:20 am local time on November 13.

The fire reportedly started on the second floor rapidly engulfing the 120-feet-long school within an hour. The school was empty when the fire broke out as teachers and students had been on holiday following the end-of-year examinations.

Thousands of Islamic books including rare manuscripts, literature works and books written and collected by famous late Mulana Muzafar (Fir Saab), could not be saved from the blaze.

Located in Mee Chaung Zay (Min Ginzi), Buthidaung Township, Riyazul Uloom has been the centre of Islamic knowledge and education for the Rohingya community. Elementary to higher Islamic education including the interpretation, memorisation and recitation of the Qur’an, the Islamic law and jurisprudence, the study of Hadiths (the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), sciences, philosophy and languages, have been taught at the prestigious school.

Under the guidance of Mulana Muzafar, hundreds of renowned Rohingya scholars, imams and hafizs have come through the flagship school.

It is the second time within a week that two schools have been destroyed in fire in the same village. On November 7, another blaze razed Mee Chaung Zay Secondary School to the ground at 2:00 am.

Mee Chaung  Zay Middle (Secondary) School was burned to the ground on November 7

Many locals are suspicious of the fire which destroyed the most important Islamic institution for the Rohingya community in Rakhine State where hundreds of Islamic schools and mosques were destroyed at the heights of genocidal campaigns against the Rohingya in 2016 and 2017.

“We are afraid. It cannot be an incidence. We are suspicious of a foul-play. A week ago, the secondary school was burned down. Now our esteemed madrasa (Riyazul Uloom) is destroyed. It seems there is a clear intention to destroy educational institutions. The situation on the ground is deteriorating badly day by day,” said a local Rohingya elder who doesn’t want to be named for security reasons.

“The people want the truth. We want perpetrators brought to justice. We want the authorities to safeguard our schools and madrasas. A school lost is a great loss for any community,” another local told The Rohingya Post.