Buddhist pogroms in Burma, Sri Lanka

Reuters reports that Muslims are “disappearing” from villages in central Burma, as Buddhist attacks spread from the coastal area where they began last year. A reporter in the village of Sit Kwin (Thayarwady district , Bago division, see map), says the some 100 Muslim residents have all fled, some to displaced persons camps, after a wave of attacks in which their homes, shops and mosques were destroyed, and several killed. Since 42 were killed in violence that erupted March 20 in Meikhtila town (Mandalay division), attacks led by Buddhist militants have spread to at least 10 other towns and villages in central Burma, with the latest only a two-hour drive from the commercial capital, Yangon (Rangoon). (Reuters, March 29) 

Meanwhile, several were injured in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, when Buddhist monks led hundreds in an assault on a Muslim-owned clothing warehouse March 28. Buddhist monks were filmed throwing stones at the storage facility of popular garment chain Fashion Bug in a suburb of the capital. The attack comes as hardline Buddhist groups have stepped up a propaganda campaign against Muslims. The government’s Minister for Justice Rauff Hakeem, himself a Muslim, urged the prime minister to call an urgent cabinet meeting to discuss the security of Muslims following these attacks. (BBC News, March 29)

The group Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force), ostensibly “working to protect Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka against Islam and Muslim dominance,” recently succeeded in blocking halal labelling of meat produced in the country, “thereby limiting the barbaric practise of Islamic halal slaugther” according to the website Jihad on Buddhists. Bodu Bala Sena is also campaigning to “reclaim” a former Buddhist monastery at Kuragala now being used as a mosque. (Jihad on Buddhists, March 18)

  1. Sri Lanka: Buddhist mob attacks Colombo mosque
    A Buddhist mob on Aug. 10 attacked a mosque in the Grandpass area of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, leaving at least five people injured. Buddhists and Muslims clashed after the attack, and police imposed a curfew in the area. Last month, a group of Buddhist monks had protested near the mosque, demanding it be relocated. Several houses were also damaged in the clashes. Two of the injured were police officers guarding the mosque. (BBC News, Aug. 11)