MEMBERS of a mosque have described their journey to the refugee camps of Bangladesh, where they were distributing much-needed aid to those displaced by the Rohingya genocide.

Chairman of the Slough Islamic Trust (SIT), Sufi Muhammad Afzal, 80, of Belgrave Road, Slough, described the suffering, saying: “Rape is being used as a weapon, a weapon for ethnic cleansing. I have seen children – their parents killed in the violence – sitting deaf and dumb, staring, not saying anything.

“There are hundreds of people sleeping on plastic sheeting, there is no dry land – they have to scoop sand out of the hills to make somewhere to sleep. Some of them have no clothes. Elephants got into one of the camps and killed 17 people. What if it is tigers next?”

The Rohingya are an ethnic group that primarily lives in the northern regions of Myanmar. Following a military crackdown from the Myanmar government, the UN has reported that dozens of Rohingya villages have been razed to the ground, thousands have been killed, and over 600,000 people have fled across the border to neighbouring Bangladesh.

Mr Afzal and volunteers travelled to Bangladesh to distribute aid, after he raised £150,000 through donations to SIT. Mr Afzal used the money to purchase over 7,000 bags of supplies, such as rice and oil, from the city of Chittagong, and delivered it personally to the refugees. The trip’s expenses – such as travel costs – they paid for themselves.

Mr Afzal said he had come away extremely disappointed in the international response to the crisis. “Nobody is doing anything. These big charities are making huge advertisements for themselves, but are doing nothing. From Western countries, I am sorry to say, I saw little investment. Big Islamic counties are making big promises, but are not doing anything either.”

Mr Afzal did not spend all his funds over the five-day trip, leaving around £50,000 unspent. He is planning a return trip in the near future. to distribute more aid to the desperate refugees.

Anybody wishing to donate can do so in person at SIT, or by contacting Mr Afzal on 07861 780421.