Friday, 28 June 2013

Is it Buddhist Terror: Monks leading mobs to attack Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar

The communal violence unleashed against the minority Muslims in Myanmar, formerly known as Barma (or Burma), has stunned the world.

One of most persecuted minorities, Rohingyas, are being attacked, tortured and killed across the country with impunity.

This is happening even as a horrified international community is urging the Burmese military leaders to check these crimes against humanity.

Now the Time Magazine's cover on the monk who has been described as 'The Face of the Buddhist Terror" has led to angry reactions from a few sections among the Buddhists.

A recent report suggested that 1,25,000 Muslims have been displaced internally in the large-scale attacks and violence against minorities in Myanmar. In fact, it is almost an ethnic cleansing. The issues are manifold.

First, the Myanmar's military government is least interested in protecting the minorities. The regime in Rakhine state treats the Rohingyas as outsiders. They consider them as Bangladeshis despite living in Myanmar for ages.

There is no citizenship for Rohingyas. With monks delivering hate speeches and spreading communal hatred, the local population is also turning against the Muslims. They are now seen as illegal immigrants and are referred to as Bengalis.

When they are forcibly deported, the authorities in neighbouring Bangladesh also refuse to admit these refugees in their country. It is such a humanitarian crises for this persecuted minority. Innumerable people including women and children have died when trying to leave the country, their boats have capsized.

The massacres in which even children were brutally killed last year have shown how the fringe lumpens are now taking centre stage in the country. The Buddhist majority is not doing enough to save or protect the religious minorities.

Yes, it is sad to link terrorism with any religion. Yes, Buddhism is considered a religion of peace. But when religious people like monks issue diktats and lead mobs to kill and rape, the situation in Myanmar has clearly gone out of hand. Even Aung San Suu Kyi has remained a mute spectator to the killings and mayhem.

She has done little to speak on the issue or even intervene in this conflict. The junta remains passive and international pressure hasn't prompted it to act. Even Dalai Lama, an international Buddhist figure, paid mere lip service, rather, than taking a bold stand in order to mediate.

The Time Magazine must be congratulated for exposing this religious fanaticism. One just hopes that the Buddhist majority would realise how their religion and the message of Buddha has been hijacked by the monks, who are giving bad name to Buddhism. 

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