Burma: anti-Muslim pogrom in Mandalay

A Buddhist mob attacked Muslims in Burma's second city of Mandalay July 2, damaging a mosque and Muslim-owned shops and leaving at least five injured. Police fired warning shots to disperse the mob of some 300 Buddhists, including a contingent of about 30 monks on motorbikes. The conflagration apparently began after rumors were aired on Facebook that a Buddhist domestic worker had been raped by her Muslim employers. More than a thousand police officers have been deployed in central Mandalay. (OnIslam, The Irrawady, Democratic Voice of Burma, July 2)

The riot comes days after a top UN humanitarian official said she witnessed "appalling conditions" at camps for displaced Rohingya Muslims in Burma's violence-torn Rakhine state. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang protested severe restrictions for Rohingyas on freedom of movement both in the camps and isolated villages, as well as "wholly inadequate access to basic services including health, education, water and sanitation."

Burma's government considers the Rohingyas to be immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship rights, even though many were born to families who arrived in the country generations ago. Almost all of the 1.3 million Rohingya live in Rakhine state, where sectarian violence in the last two years has left some 280 dead and forced another 140,000 to flee their homes. (AP, June 17)