Buddhist monks in Myanmar come out against Muslim minority


Rakhine Buddhist monks pray as hundreds of demonstrators gather at the Shwedagon pagoda after unrest flared in the western Myanmar state and at least seven people were killed, in Yangon on June 10, 2012. Myanmar on June 10 imposed a curfew in the Rakhine state capital Sittwe, state media reported, amid fears of further unrest following deadly sectarian rioting between Buddhists and Muslims.



Muslims are being persecuted for their religion in supposedly-relaxing Myanmar - and surprisingly, Buddhist monks appear to be leading the discriminatory charge, reported the Independent. 

The Independent reports that the monks are circulating anti-Rohingya leaflets, and have even attempted to block humanitarian aid slated for the Muslim minority group, who originally hail from Bangladesh.

According to the Independent, one such leaflet "described the Rohingya as "cruel by nature" and claimed it had "plans to exterminate" other ethnic groups."

The rape and murder of a Buddhist woman in Burma's Rakhine state, allegedly by three Muslim men, set off a sectarian tinderbox in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar. Violence between the two groups took hold in June, causing the government to impose martial law in Rakhine, reported the GlobalPost in June.

Reuters reports that 30 have been arrested thus far in connection with the vigilante murder of 10 Muslims - an act that fueled the sectarian flames, leading to 80 deaths and thousands of displacements in Rakhine state.  

In response to the violence, many Muslims have been attempting to escape to Bangladesh - except Bangladesh doesn't want them, according to the Asia Times. 

Thus far, 30 have been arrested in connection with the Muslim killings in Myanmar, 

GlobalPost: Rakhine state's slippery death toll 

Muslims are widely considered to be outsiders in Burma, says AFP, although their presence in the Southeast Asian nation dates from at least the start of British rule. They are thought to be about 4% of the population, although a comprehensive government census has not taken places in years, according to AFP.

The participation of the Buddhist monks in such discriminatory practices appears especially strange in light of the violent 2007 protests, where many of the monks were beaten, harassed, and imprisoned by Myanmar's government. 

GlobalPost: Twitter rage from Myanmar 

London-based Burmese advocacy group Burma Democratic Concern gave voice to the anti-Rohyinga 8888 Generation Student Leaders on their website yesterday.

The group stated, in reference to the murder and arson incidents in the past few months that: "The killing and arson have been done a clearly deliberate plan to drive out the native people from their national home after fighting a genocidal war. For that reason, we are advocating your attention and appropriate action from the international community."