In Burma, Religious Riots Flare Up Again

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The central Burmese town of Meikhtila declared a curfew for a second night on March 21 after clashes killed 10 people, including a Buddhist monk, and injured at least 20, authorities said. Riots erupted in Meikhtila, a town roughly 340 miles north of Yangon, a day earlier after an argument between a Buddhist couple and the Muslim owners of a gold shop escalated into a riot involving hundreds of people, police said. The violence is just the latest in a series of sectarian clashes, after unrest in western Rakhine state last year left more than 200 dead, according to Associated Press reports.

(MORE: State of Emergency Declared in Central Burma After Religious Riot)

(MORE: TIME’s Hannah Beech on Burma’s President Thein Sein)

(PHOTOS: Sectarian Unrest in Burma Sees Dozens Dead, Thousands Fleeing)

(PHOTOS: On the Front Lines with the Kachin Independence Army)

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6 comments
JimC
JimC

It's important to see good Muslims and Terrorist Muslims. Not all Muslims are terrorists. I know some Rohingya are terrorists and they started this whole mess to achieve fake identity. But we should not react with violence. Everyone should stop accusing each side. Those from outside of Burma should be very careful of this situation. I have been to Burma more than 20 times and situation is a lot more complicated than majority and minority issue because Muslims are not always minority especially in border towns and they also killed a lot of Buddhists. So we must be very careful. 

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's how totalitarian governments work -- they set the little people against each other, or have them focus on an outside threat. If the Muslims and Buddhists weren't fighting each other, they'd team up against their common enemy: the government.

dkumar217
dkumar217

@PerryWhite1 Although , the point you are making is hard to counter but you may be surprised, there is no place on earth where ethnic Buddhists are at peace with Muslims or vice versa. So lets say even if Myanmar was an vibrant democracy, it would be difficult to suggest that the communal harmony between Buddhists & Muslims would have prevailed. You need to know a bit of history of Rohingya Muslims and why the general ethnic non muslim residents of Burma are against them. ( Notice , I have written resident ethinic burmese not the junta,even though military junta too is against them). There is a reason why the so uber cool peace loving Aung San Su Ki also did not spoke against the regime or in favor of these muslims.

SEP
SEP

While I can hardly pass judgement from so far away, I would find it hard to believe that it was the Buddhists who escalated this to violence, especially to such proportions - 10 people dead.