- Friday, 01 November 2013
Buddhism is not associated with fundamentalism and violence, but they’re not immune.
Ahuman hurricane has swept the Muslim population in Myanmar off its feet. A whirlwind armed with machetes and doubts, instigated by a form of Buddhist extremism now spreading at a much greater speed since Myanmar began its transition towards democracy. From 2012, hitherto unseen violence has been meted out on the Muslim Rohingya population - an Islamic minority not recognised by Myanmar or by many other countries – at the very time when the current government led by former general U Thein Sein began introducing progressive reforms designed to guarantee more rights for Myanmar’s citizens. Between June and October 2012 there were violent clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya people in the State of Rakhine, on Myanmar’s western border with Bangladesh. The Buddhists call the Rohingya people Bengalis, in an attempt to deny their existence by rejecting the very name that determines their identity. At least 200 people were killed in the violence, 5000 houses and businesses were burned down and 140 thousand people are still in refugee camps to this day.