Buddhist Mob Burns Down a Muslim Mosque in Myanmar Village

TeleSur | – –

A mob has burned down a mosque in the second attack of its kind in just over a week.

Scores of Buddhists ransacked a mosque in northern Myanmar forcing Muslims to seek refuge overnight in a police station after another violent dispute caused religious intolerance, officials and residents said Friday.

“The problem started because the mosque was built near a (Buddhist) pagoda. The Muslim people refused to destroy the building when the Buddhists discovered it,” Moe Lwin, a local police officer, told the AFP news agency.

Bouts of anti-Muslim violence have left scores dead across the country since 2012. This volatile atmosphere poses serious challenges for Aung San Suu Kyi’s new government.

The violence erupted on Thursday afternoon as a mob of around 200 Buddhists rampaged through a Muslim area of Thuye Tha Mein village in the Bago province following an argument between neighbors over the building of a Muslim school.

“It started when a Muslim man and a Buddhist women started to argue and then people came to fight him,” Hla Tint, the village administrator, told AFP.

“Parts of the mosque were destroyed … they also destroyed the fence of the Muslim cemetery,” he added.

Around 70 Muslims, including children, sought shelter in a police station overnight on Thursday, he said, adding there were no serious injuries and peace had been restored.

Police and the secretary of the mosque confirmed the damage, while a Muslim resident told AFP his community of around 150 people is now living in fear.

“We had to hide as some people were threatening to kill Muslims. The situation has never been like this before,” Tin Shwe Oo, 29, told AFP, adding his family stayed at the small police station overnight.

Antipathy toward Muslims is deeply entrenched in Buddhist society and few politicians have been unwilling to support them for fear of angering the country’s influential monks and Buddhist majority.

The government’s refusal to tackle rising anti-Muslim violence, particularly against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, has prompted international outcry calling on the government to address the ongoing tension between Myanmar’s majority Buddhist population and its ethnic Muslim minorities.

“The government must demonstrate that instigating and committing violence against ethnic or religious minorities has no place in Myanmar,” said Yanghee Lee, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar.

Myanmar’s government does not recognize Rohingya as an ethnic group, arguing instead they are really Bangladeshis. An estimated 1 milllion Rohingya people living in Myanmar have been denied citizenship under the 1982 Citizenship Law, and face severe restrictions on movement, marriage and even reproduction. More than 100,000 refugees are confined to internal camps.

Via TeleSur

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Press TV: “Buddhist extremists destroys Mosque in northern Myanmar”

4 Responses

  1. What is particularly disgraceful is Aung San Suu Kyi’s response to Buddhist attacks on Burmese Muslims which is…to do nothing. A Nobel Peace Laureate who spent 15 years under house arrest, now that she heads the ruling party as State Counselor, her moral courage has abandoned her. In May she even advised the US Ambassador to cease calling the Muslims in Rakine State Rohingya. She, like the Buddhist attackers, consider them Bengaiis who belong in Bangladesh. She really has blotted her copy book on this issue.

    • Just goes to show that she’s no heroine even if she was prosecuted by that dictatorship.

      A false idol, if she doesn’t speak up about what easily can amount to ethnic cleansing.

  2. The story I heard when I was in Myanmar was that oil-rich Moslem countries are bribing Myanmar government officials to let illegal immigrants into the north.

    In fact, the people of different religions mingle freely with each other in schools and in each others homes. I even met the head of National League for Democracy in one province who was Muslim.

    Why don’t they build their mosques outside of the Buddhist sacred areas? There are plenty of established mosques in every town that don’t have any trouble.

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