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COLUMBIA - More than 50 people marched the streets of downtown Columbia to rally for peace in Myanmar, formally known as Burma, Friday afternoon.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Center of Central Missouri organized the rally, which ended in Sen. Claire McCaskill's office. Marchers spoke with the senator's representative and hope she will encourage fellow lawmakers to end human rights violations in Myanmar.

Violence towards Rohingya Muslims has increased during the past three weeks, specifically towards women and children in the region. 

The United Nations said it is a "textbook case of ethnic cleansing."

A large portion of Rohingya natives practice Islam, but most people in Myanmar practice Buddhism. The country's government has not recognized the Rohingya people as citizens since a coup in 1982.

"These are people. These are our family. These are human beings. We belong to human family, right? We say that, but this is the time we need to show," Rashed Nizam, the former chairman of the Islamic Center for Central Missouri, said.

"Because (Islam) is a fast growing religion, they're afraid everyone would become Muslims," Nizam said. "That's not an excuse to do torture, to kill people, to snatch their basic right of citizenship."

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