Search Results: muslim

Burmese monks promoting peaceful initiatives to quell tensions (Updated)

Among the many unsavory details of the occasionally violent, decade-long conflict between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya, now beginning to spread beyond Burma’s western Rakhine state, is the involvement of so-called “nationalist monks” in fomenting anti-Muslim bigotry and even directly inciting the violence. Some of these monks have organized around the “969 campaign” (the name derives from a particular way to categorize the qualities of the Three Jewels — Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha — and is supposed to indicate the “pure following” of these). Originally pushing an initiative to encourage Buddhists to boycott Muslim businesses, the “969 monks” made the news again last week, after a conference at which they issued a call for the Burmese government to implement a law to restrict Buddhist women from marrying Muslim men

But welcome news emerged from Burma, over the past week, that the greater majority of the country’s revered ordained sangha are vigorously promoting peaceful initiatives to quell the ethnic tensions and engaging in hands-on actions of compassionate charity. Read More »

Commentary: “Burma Unbound”

By Hozan Alan Senauke of the Clear View Project

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world; by non-hatred only is hatred appeased. This is an unending truth. Dhammapada, 5

Religious and ethnic confrontation in Burma challenge cherished ideas of Buddhism and religious tolerance. This week, two days of violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Lashio — the largest town in Burma’s Shan State, near the Chinese border — have left a mosque, an orphanage, and many shops destroyed by Buddhist-identified mobs roaming the streets on motorcycles. Three hundred Muslims have taken refuge in a local Buddhist temple, thousands have fled, and the count of dead and injured is still not clear. Read More »

Burma: Two-child limit on Rohingya families opposed by Aung San Suu Kyi

As Reuters reports today: “Myanmar opposition leader and pro-democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi condemned on Monday a policy by a district government to limit Muslim Rohingya families to two children in an effort to curb their population growth.” “This is against human rights,” declared Suu Kyi. Read the full Reuters report here, or see the recent New York Times coverage provided by the Associated Press, here.

Video: The monk who calls himself “the Burmese Bin Laden”

Over the past year, fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma has intensified, with the Muslim Rohingya being persecuted in the country’s Western Rakhine state and dozens killed in sectarian riots last month in the central city of Meiktila. Some of the violence has been incited by Buddhist monks. The Guardian has a video interview with Wirathu, a monk who calls himself “the Burmese Bin Laden.” Wirathu and his controversial 969 movement have been inciting violence throughout Burma by spreading rumors and racist stereotypes about Muslims.

Burmese writer Swe Win also reports on Burma’s radicalized monks in the New York Times, noting the corruption present in many of Burma’s monasteries. Many other Buddhists, including the Dalai Lama, have spoken out against the violence and condemned the Burmese monks. Watch a new interview with His Holiness after the jump. Read More »

Burmese sectarian violence spreads; at least 20 dead

As we reported yesterday, violence has broken out between Buddhists and Muslims in the city of Meiktili, central Burma. The fighting has now spread to neighboring villages, and the death toll is estimated to be at least 20. The New York Times has the full story.

Iranian government confiscating Buddha statues from stores

Government officials in Tehran are apparently confiscating Buddha statues from stores to stop the spread of Buddhism in Iran. An official for the protection of cultural heritage has labeled them “a cultural invasion” and said that authorities wouldn’t let a belief be promoted through the items.

A Tehran shopkeeper says customers who buy the statues don’t seem to be interested in Buddhism and just want them to decorate their homes. Read More »

International Network of Engaged Buddhists issues statement on violence in Burma’s Rakhine state

At its Executive and Advisory Board meeting this month, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists ratified a statement condemning ongoing violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine state, and calling for the Burmese government and religious leaders to work toward a resolution.

“We hope that it expresses the concerns of Buddhists around the world who are witness to the communal conflict and violence in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state,” said Hozan Alan Senauke. “Clearly this conflict must be resolved by the Burmese peoples themselves, but this statement affirms that INEB and Buddhists everywhere care about the well-being of Burma’s emerging democracy and of all its peoples. We send our encouragement and faith in the Buddha’s great way.”

Read the statement after the jump. Read More »

Meet Ven. Miao Hong — First Buddhist appointee to the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

By Danny Fisher

As we head toward the US elections on Tuesday, one of the accomplishments that President Barack Obama can claim (whether he keeps his job or not) is the historic first-ever appointment of a Buddhist to the President’s Advisory Council of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships: Venerable Miao Hong Hsiangju Liu, the Humanitarian Project Liaison for both the International Buddhist Progress Society (IBPS) and Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) in the United States and Australia, and the BLIA representative to the United Nations. Read More »

Nearly 60 killed in sectarian clashes in Burma’s Rakhine state

Nearly 60 people have been killed in the latest series of clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in western Burma. The violence broke out over the weekend and has spread to several towns, including the commercially important Kyaukpyu. How many homes and other buildings  have been destroyed is unclear, but Reuters reports that the number is in the hundreds. Security forces are in Rakhine, trying to stop the unrest and imposing curfews in some towns. Read More »

Bangladesh promises to protect Buddhists after attacks

Bangladeshi Buddhists who were displaced by rioting and violence on Saturday have started returning to their homes as Bangladesh’s government promised to protect them. Soldiers and police have been deployed to the districts of Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong, near the Burmese border, and the government has banned public gatherings in the area. Security officials say they’ve detained 166 people in connection with the riots. Read More »

Report: Buddhist temples in Bangladesh attacked over Quran Facebook photo

In Bangladesh, Buddhist temples and homes have been attacked in a wave of arson and violence perpetuated by area Muslims angered by what is said to be an image of a burning Quran. A young Buddhist local is responsible for the image, they say, having posted it on Facebook.

The Associated Press has a report (via HuffPost.)

A report from Amnesty International’s DC Town Hall event with Aung San Suu Kyi (with video)

By Danny Fisher

Last week, I had the great honor and pleasure of attending Amnesty International’s town hall event with Burma’s Nobel Peace laureate and engaged Buddhist icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Held at the Newseum in Washington, DC, and moderated by MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, the event came only a day after “Daw Suu” met with President Barack Obama and received the US Congress’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Suu Kyi is the leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy and currently sits in the lower house of the country’s parliament. Her election came after she had spent 15 of the 21 years between 1989 and 2010 under house arrest. During that time, she became the symbol for Burma’s struggle for democracy and freedom from the repressive ruling junta. In addition, she became the world’s most recognized prisoner of conscience during that time — thanks not only to her Nobel Prize and the international media, but also to the efforts of Amnesty International. The town hall, then, celebrated a special relationship between guest and host. Read More »

Two strong editorials take Burma’s Buddhist leadership to task for “chauvinism” and “racism”

Writing in Foreign Policy, William McGowan reflects this week on what he terms “Burma’s Buddhist chauvinism.” In discussing the plight of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority in the Rakhine state, McGowan sees “a nationalistic and at times hateful side” of Buddhism there. You can read the entire piece here.

In addition, the Bangkok Post‘s Assistant Editor, Sanitsuda Ekachai, offers an even more strongly worded editorial, “This is Racism, Not Buddhism.” The opinion focuses on the disparity between Buddhist teachings and Burmese monks’ leadership in anti-Rohingya demonstrations. Read More »