Thursday, October 4, 2012

Buddhist Monks Protest Against Islamist Violence

 Peaceful Protest

Buddhist Monks peacefully protest in front of the United Nations office in Bangkok, Thailand,
asking for an investigation into allegations that Islamists looted and vandalized 10 Buddhist
temples in Bangladesh, close to the border of Burma.
Photo Credit: Reuters, Oct 3, 2012.
Source: VOA

An article in Voice of America says that Buddhist monks in Thailand came together yesterday in front of the United Nations office in Bangkok against Muslim extremists operating in Bangladesh; the government of Bangladesh has accused Islamists of looting and vandalizing Buddhist temples and homes in an area bordering Burma, also called Myanmar. The number of Buddhists in Bangladesh is small, representing less than one percent of its population of 160-million, the vast majority Muslim:
About 200 monks marched peacefully in Bangkok, some carrying banners pleading for peace and harmony. Others carried posters demanding an end to what they called "Muslim Terrorism" against Bangladesh's small Buddhist community. A monk from Chittagong, Phra Jyotisen Bhikko, called for U.N. help.''If the U.N. intervenes, if it tells the Bangladesh government to stop all this, then I think it will stop," he said. "Even now temples and our villages are being attacked. If the U.N. intervenes then I hope this will stop."
Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims rioted Saturday and Sunday, targeting Buddhist temples across the country's southeast. The attacks began after Muslims found a photo of a burned Quran on and blamed it on a Buddhist man.
Bangladeshi Home Affairs Minister Mohiuddun Khan Alamgir has accused radical Islamists and opposition party activists of instigating the riots as a "premeditated and deliberate" attempt to disrupt communal harmony. He also accused Rohingya Muslims from Burma of vandalizing and looting at least 10 Buddhist temples and dozens of homes in the district of Cox's Bazaar, which borders on Burma.
Like many disputes that result in violence, this one is a long-standing grievance based on what some interpret as an unfair application of Burmese law in a nation where most of its citizens practice Buddhism. "Burma refuses to grant citizenship to the Rohingya, despite some living there for generations, and brands them as illegal migrants," VOA writes of the estimated 800,000 Rohingya whom the U.N. has described as one of the world's most persecuted people. As the news agency AFP adds: "Sectarian tensions have been running high since June when deadly clashes erupted between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar's western Rakhine state."

You can read the rest of the article at [Voice of America