TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Prominent Iranian cleric Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani called on the Islamic world not to remain silent over the killing and systematic persecution of minority Muslims in Myanmar.

Addressing theology students in the city of Qom on Wednesday, Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani expressed grave concern about the killing and burning of Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

He also deplored inaction on the exodus of Myanmarese Muslim families to Bangladesh.

“Muslims have a very sensitive responsibility regarding the massacre of Myanmar’s Muslims, should not remain silent (on the issue) and should rise (against prosecution of Muslims),” the senior cleric added.

The Rohingya have long faced severe discrimination and were the targets of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people from their homes to camps for the internally displaced.

Over the past days, intensifying clashes between security forces and insurgents in western Myanmar have sent terrified civilians scrambling toward the Bangladesh border in a desperate search for refuge.

Nearly 150,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh in less than two weeks, officials said on Wednesday.

In a rare letter to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern that the violence in Rakhine could spiral into a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) said on Tuesday that the persecution is backed by the government, elements among the country's Buddhist monks and ultra-nationalist civilian groups.