Washington: Islamist groups in Pakistan are exaggerating the incidences of ill-treatment of Muslims in Myanmar to recruit people for their cause and fund their own agenda, a report has said.
The international community recently raised concerns about human rights abuses against Muslim Rohingyas following their clashes in June with the Buddhist community.
Human rights activists slammed the Burmese government for failing to protect Rohingyas and to stop the violence that left 78 dead.
But on the streets of Pakistan, the rhetoric runs much hotter with protesters claiming ‘thousands’ of Rohingyas are being slaughtered in western Myanmar, The Christian Science Monitor reports.
According to the report, a series of doctored and misidentified photographs are circulating widely in Pakistani social media that show violence against Rohingyas.
It cited one photo posted on a Facebook page originating from Pakistan showing Buddhists dressed in their traditional red robes standing in the middle of two rows of dead bodies, with the caption reading: "Bodies of Muslims killed by Buddhists."
In reality, this picture was from an earthquake incident in China in 2010, where Tibetan monks came to help with the rescue efforts, the report said.
Shahzad Ahmad, the Pakistan country director for the global online activism group called Bytes for All, pointed out that stories of Muslim victimisation around the world are exaggerated in Pakistan by Islamist groups on the Internet.
“They use such campaigns not only to fund themselves but also to gain more political ground and recruit people for their cause,” the paper quoted Ahmad, as saying.
“Our research shows that there are many fake photographs being used to propagate [stories of] atrocities against Muslims on many of the Facebook pages which originate from Pakistan,” he added.
According to the paper, among the groups involved in stirring the activism are Jamat-ud-Dawa, Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, three Islamist groups which hold significant street power in the country.