Myanmar: Distrust fuels anti-Muslim violence

2012-06-06 09:36
Thousands of Myanmar Muslims during a prayer in the capital city Yangon. An eruption in religious tensions in Myanmar has exposed the deep divisions between the majority Buddhists and the country’s Muslims. (AFP)

Thousands of Myanmar Muslims during a prayer in the capital city Yangon. An eruption in religious tensions in Myanmar has exposed the deep divisions between the majority Buddhists and the country’s Muslims. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sittwe - An eruption in religious tensions in Myanmar has exposed the deep divisions between the majority Buddhists and the country's Muslims, considered foreigners despite a decades-long presence.

The violence threatens to overshadow reconciliation efforts in the country formerly known as Burma, where there has been a series of dramatic political reforms since almost half a century of military rule ended last year.

The trigger for the latest surge in sectarian tensions was the rape and murder of a woman in western Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh, for which three Muslim men have been detained, according to state media.

On Sunday a mob of hundreds of people attacked a bus, believing the perpetrators were on board, and beat 10 Muslims to death.

"These innocent people have been killed like animals," said Abu Tahay, of the National Democratic Party for Development, which represents the country's much-persecuted stateless Muslim Rohingya community.

"If the police cannot control the situation, maybe the [unrest] is going to spread," he said, adding that the biggest fear was for Rakhine state, where there is a large Muslim minority population including the Rohingya.

In Myanmar's main city Yangon, dozens of Muslims protested on Tuesday calling for justice.

Muslims entered Myanmar en masse for the first time as indentured labourers from the Indian subcontinent during British colonial rule, which ended in 1948.

But despite their long history, they have never fully been integrated into the country.

"For many people, a Burmese is a Buddhist by definition. Buddhism forms an essential part of their identity," said Jacques Leider, a historian at the French School of the Far East based in northern Thailand.

"The situation is explosive and from friction to the clashes is only a matter of lighting the fuse," he told AFP shortly before the latest violence.

Myanmar's Muslims - of Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi descent - account for an estimated four percent of the roughly 60 million population, although the country has not conducted a census in three decades.

Read more on:    myanmar  |  religion
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 2 690 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Hermanus

Houses R 2 680 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.