Myanmar mob torches mosque

2016-07-02 17:46

(iStock)

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

Yangon - A mob wielding weapons razed a mosque in northern Myanmar, state media reported Saturday, the second attack of its kind in just over a week as anti-Muslim sentiment swells in the Buddhist majority nation.

Myanmar has struggled to contain bouts of deadly religious bloodshed in recent years, with bristling sectarian tensions and rising Buddhist nationalism posing a steep challenge to the new government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Friday villagers in Hpakant, a jade-mining town in northern Kachin state, ransacked a mosque "wielding sticks, knives and other weapons" before burning it down, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar.

"The mob was unresponsive and entirely beyond control. The building was razed by the riotous crowd," the paper reported, adding that the rampage was sparked by a dispute over the mosque's construction.

No arrests have been made, it said.

A local NGO worker who visited the town Saturday told AFP security forces had been deployed to maintain order.

"Police are now controlling the area and it is stable," said Dashi Naw Lawn, from the Kachin Network Development Foundation.

The riot came eight days after a Buddhist mob destroyed a mosque in central Bago, forcing the Muslim community to seek refuge in a neighbouring town.

Repressive military rulers

Tensions are also rising in western Rakhine, a state scarred by deadly riots in 2012 that have left communities almost completely divided along religious lines.

The region is home to the stateless Rohingya, a Muslim minority largely relegated to destitute displacement camps and subject to host of restrictions on their movements and access to basic services.

Suu Kyi, a veteran democracy activist who championed her country's struggle against repressive military rulers, has drawn criticism from rights groups for not taking swifter moves to carve out a solution for the ethnic minority.

Her government recently ordered officials to refer to the group as "people who believe in Islam in Rakhine State" instead of Rohingya - a term whose use has set off protests by hardliners who insist the group are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Yet the government's broad phrase has failed to placate local Rakhine Buddhists, who demand the group be referred to only as "Bengalis" and say they are preparing to rally in protest at the order on Sunday.

After a 12-day visit across the country, including troubled Rakhine, a UN rights investigator warned Friday that "tensions along religious lines remain pervasive across Myanmar society".

Yanghee Lee urged the country's new civilian government to make "ending institutionalised discrimination against the Muslim communities in Rakhine State...an urgent priority".

Read more on:    myanmar  |  religion

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
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.