Buddhist Religious Violence Worsens In Burma: Report

The Burmese Buddhist-controlled government and military killed more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims in the last year and has continued to forcibly promote Buddhism and discriminate against other minority religious groups, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The report, which highlights the status of religious freedom globally and identifies those governments that are the most egregious violators, also includes recognition of severe atheist discrimination in a number of countries.

In Burma, Theraveda Buddhism is the dominant religious tradition and Muslims and Christians reportedly make up 8%-10% of the population. In contrast to common representations of Buddhists as inherently peaceful, minority religious groups are subject to pervasive surveillance, imprisonment, discrimination, societal violence, destruction or desecration of property and censorship of religious materials by Buddhists, according to the report.

“The military reportedly continues to limit religious worship and forcibly promote Buddhism as a means of pacification in these areas and targets Christians for forced labor, rape, intimidation, and destruction of religious sites,” the report says. “The government also continues to censor religious publications and prohibits the import of Bibles and Qu’rans in indigenous languages.”

The report found that the Burmese government shows preference for Buddhism through financial support and donations to monasteries, pagodas, monastic schools and missionary activities. Promotions to senior levels of the military and civil service are also reserved for Buddhists.

According to the report, Rohingya Muslims generally experience the worst treatment in Burma.

“Rohingya Muslims, who are denied Burmese citizenship, experience widespread discrimination, strict controls over their religious activities and ceremonies and societal violence that is often incited by Buddhist monks and carried out with impunity by mobs and local militias, including police in Rakhine (Arakhan) State,” the report says. “In the past year, over 1,000 Rohingya have been killed, their villages and religious structures destroyed, and women raped during attacks.”

In June 2012, sectarian violence between ethnic Arakanese Buddhists and ethnic Rohingya Muslims led to hundreds of deaths and an estimated 100,000 internally displaced. Provincial police did not stop initial violence and supported ongoing attacks by both Arakanese groups and Buddhist monks on Rohingya villages and the denial of humanitarian access to Rohingya areas and camps, according to the report.

According to BBC reports, the Burmese antagonism is spearheaded by the 969 group, led by a monk, Ashin Wirathu, who was jailed in 2003 for inciting religious hatred. Released in 2012, he has referred to himself bizarrely as “the Burmese Bin Laden.”

Despite the considerable international attention, however, the Burmese government, backed by a majority of popular opinion and groups promoting “Buddhist Nationalism,” continues to restrict humanitarian assistance, sanction clandestine violence through impunity, and encourage refugee flows to other Southeast Asia countries, according to the report.

In its 2013 report, the USCIRF recommended that the U.S. government re-designate Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan as “countries of particular concern.”

The USCIRF, an independent federal advisory body created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor religious freedom abuses abroad, outlined the state of religious freedom in 29 countries in its 2013 report.

8 responses to “Buddhist Religious Violence Worsens In Burma: Report

  1. Religious freedom might not always be the best way…… Not that I condone murder, but…….Islam is NOT a religion that we need to encourage. All religions are a serious threat to the peace and progress of humanity on planet earth…..Islam would be my most feared. Also, are atheists discriminated against in China? Thanks, Toni

    >________________________________ > From: The Secular Writings of David G. McAfee >To: tgandel@yahoo.com >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2013 12:47 PM >Subject: [New post] Buddhist Religious Violence Worsens In Burma: Report > > WordPress.com >davidgmcafee posted: “The Burmese Buddhist-controlled government and military killed more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims in the last year and has continued to forcibly promote Buddhism and discriminate against other minority religious groups, according to a report released Tuesda” >

  2. Wow, when the most peaceful religion (Buddhist), gets pissed off, you know something is wrong they are not going to be humiliated into silence by muslims…The rest of the world may be in denial, not so these peaceable folks.

  3. Graham, in what UNIVERSE does the mass murder, rape and discrimination of thousands qualify as PEACEFUL?

  4. frankly, this isnt the 10th century any more. If they have it so bad, they can move. It is a buddhist nation. If you have managed to upset the government that badly, it is time to leave. What the article doesnt tell you is that both muslims and christians are proseletyzing (I know i spelled that wrong), which is against the law. At that point, they are choosing to be criminals, and break the law of the land, in favor of their own religious beliefs. They are choosing to be persecuted. They know what will happen, and they are doing it anyway. Burma doesnt tolerate anything like the Westboro Baptist Church.

  5. Well that was one of the most one-sided articles I’ve read. The majority of reports that have come in over the last year reveal that the muslims have been the primary instigators. Ignoring this fact is intellectually dishonest. The muslims have brought this on themselves – flaunting the law, using violence, making threats, etc. The burmese buddhists have every right – and I say duty – to run the muslims out of their country. Expulsion would be preferable to ongoing violence and murders.

  6. Pingback: Buddhists Impose 2-Child Limit On Muslims In Burma | The Secular Writings of David G. McAfee

  7. Aaand you lost every single piece of respect I ever had for you David.

    How about talking about both sides? I recall that one of the primary instigators to this conflict was when a muslim family invaded a house, kidnapped an 8-year old child and forcibly married her to a 40 year old man who raped her for weeks before killing her.

    And that was the FINAL event, muslims have been spreading in Myanmar for ages, and they don’t obey the law. They rape, they steal, they kill, there is REASON to why the buddhists in Myanmar are waging a holy war against them. A DAMN good reason. Why do you even think muslims were able to make 100% muslim ghettos in the middle of Buddhist streets? They killed the non-muslim inhabitants. How about you make a report on that, eh McAfee? Or is showing two sides of a conflict too much of a bother?

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