Buddhist v. Muslim violence erupts in Burma

The gist of the story is that Buddhists were enraged earlier this week in majority Buddhist Burma (also known as Myanmar) when a Buddhist girl was raped and murdered supposedly by Muslims.  A mob of Buddhists then reportedly dragged eight Muslim “pilgrims” from a bus and beat them to death.   The suggestion is made that these eight had nothing to do with the rape/murder.

Why does this interest us?  Because when you read both of these articles, here and here (and there were many more), the reporters drag the alleged “persecution” of the Rohingya Muslim minority into the story even when a Rohingya leader said the dead Muslims are not Rohingya.  This is how the media keeps the Rohingya-are-persecuted drumbeat alive for western consumption.

If we find out who raped and murdered the Buddhist girl, I’ll update this post.   Actually one thing that puzzled me was what were eight Muslim “pilgrims” doing anyway, or were they perhaps Islamist agitators in Rakhine province to help stir up the locals?   This is what raised my suspicion from the BBC article:

Rakhine is home to Burma’s largest concentration of Muslims, including much-persecuted Rohingya Muslims, and their presence is often deeply resented by the majority Buddhist population.

In a joint statement quoted by Reuters, eight Rohingya rights groups based outside Burma condemned the attack on the Muslims on the bus, whom they termed “Muslim pilgrims”.

Although it appears those on the bus were not Rohingyas, the groups said the attack followed months of anti-Rohingya propaganda stirred up by “extremists and xenophobes”.  [Who else might be doing some stirring?—ed]

Here is one little nugget in the second article (from AFP) that I found interesting to explain some of the hatred the Buddhists have for the Muslims.   We have written before that some Rohingya rebels had traveled to Afghanistan in years past to fight with the Taliban.

Talking about hostility to Muslims in general, he said: “One day it will be a serious problem, they caused trouble in Thailand, Europe, USA. They try to make trouble in Rakhine State.”

Despite decades of isolation, Muslims have also suffered from the images of violence associated with radical Islam, according to a foreign researcher, who asked not to be identified.

He said Myanmar’s devout Buddhists had been particularly shocked by the destruction of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan* by Afghanistan’s Taliban regime.

“There is a feeling, a fear among the country’s Buddhists about being invaded,” he added.

Readers, I am not going to let you forget that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops testified on May 1 that they and the US State Department should be resettling more Rohingya to your towns.

This is the 105th post in our Rohingya Reports category, here.

*Dynamited by the Taliban in 2001.

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