Burma

  • Buddhism’s Fundamentalist Streak Paid Member

    BANGKOK (RNS) To many Americans, Buddhism is about attaining enlightenment, maybe even nirvana, through such peaceful methods as meditation and yoga. But in some parts of Asia, a more assertive, strident, and militant Buddhism is emerging. In three countries where Buddhism is the majority faith, a form of religious nationalism has taken hold: More »
  • Physicians group blames government for Burma religious strife Paid Member

    (RNS) Buddhists are killing Muslims in Burma with impunity because the government failed to stop the attacks, New York-based Physicians for Human Rights reported amid fresh assaults that left more Muslims homeless. During the past year, scattered clashes across Buddhist-majority Myanmar, also known as Burma, have left more than 240 people dead, most of them Muslims. A mob of about 1,000 Buddhists burned more than 35 Muslim homes and a dozen shops on August 24 in Kanbalu in Burma's central Sagaing Division after hearing rumors that a Muslim man sexually assaulted a young Buddhist woman, police told The Associated Press. More »
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    Buddhist monk blames Muslims for Myanmar bombing Paid Member

    (RNS) A radical Buddhist monk in Myanmar said a bomb that exploded near him, wounding five devotees, came after a death threat by a “Muslim religious leader” who wanted to silence his campaign to prevent Buddhist women from marrying Muslim men. Ashin Wirathu’s portrait appeared on the July 1 cover of Time magazine’s Asia edition, above the headline, “The Face of Buddhist Terror: How Militant Monks are Fueling Anti-Muslim Violence in Asia.” “Since their plan to fight me via Time Magazine has failed, they are now targeting my ‘dharma’ (Buddhist teaching) events, and the devotees, with explosive devices,” Wirathu told the respected Irrawaddy magazine. More »
  • On Martyrs' Day, Burma's Past Meets its Future Paid Member

    Today marks Burma's Martyrs’ Day, a holiday commemorating the anniversary of the assassination of anti-imperialist revolutionary Aung San, father of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and newest member of Burmese parliament Aung San Suu Kyi. Recognized as the architect of Burma’s independence from Britain, the young leader was gunned down in a government building on July 19, 1947 along with six of his cabinet ministers, just six months before his country would achieve independence. In Burma, today is a day of mourning, both of the leader and the principles that would have likely become manifest in Burmese society if his life had not been cut short. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: The Face of Buddhist Terror & The Face of the Dalai Lama (in Tibet) Paid Member

    Buddhist-led anti-Muslim violence and persecution has received unprecedented mass-media attention in the past couple weeks. Images of Wirathu—monk-leader of the “969” movement, recognized for its hate speech and for inciting violence against Burma’s Muslims—have now graced both the cover of TIME and the front page of The New York Times. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Radical Strains of Buddhism Paid Member

    Virulent anti-Muslim violence has once again enveloped a Burmese town—this time Lashio in the northeastern Shan State. What was once perceived as an isolated outbreak of murderous rioting in the western Rakhine state against Rohingya Muslims last year has now become a common occurrence in locales across the country, where not only Rohingya but all Muslims have become viable targets. Reacting to a quarrel between a Buddhist woman and an older Muslim male customer, Buddhist mobs—with monks in their ranks—armed with rocks, sticks, and machetes took to setting fire to the city’s largest mosque, a Muslim school, Muslim orphanage, and scores of Muslim-owned shops. More »