As a leader of the Khmer Islam in Cambodia I would like to clarify further following the article “Cambodians Have Joined ISIL Militants in Iraq, Group Claims” (June 23, p 15).
The article cited a video with the title “There is no life without jihad” made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in which militant Abu Muthanna al-Yemeni said that “we have brothers from Bangladesh, from Iraq, from Cambodia, Australia” in the network.
I would like to flatly deny these inciting, exaggerating and blindly raised statements which stand in contrast to the truth and cause dissatisfaction among Cambodian people, especially among our Khmer Islam brothers in Cambodia.
It very strongly affects the feelings of Khmer Islam who are living in harmony in Cambodia and with neighboring countries in the region and in the world. This claim is in contrast to the truth and could incite discrimination and cause conflict among those who currently live peacefully together.
Cambodians who respect Buddhism, Cambodians who respect Islam and Cambodians who respect other religions are innocent and peace-loving people. After suffering chronic war for more than two decades, especially under the genocidal Pol Pot regime, Khmer Muslims truly do not want or need to join in fights with any nationalities. Furthermore, our constitution clearly says that “the Kingdom of Cambodia shall be independent, sovereign, peaceful, permanently neutral and non-aligned country.”
Othsman Hassan, president of Cambodian Muslim Development Foundation, Phnom Penh