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Under ordinary circumstances such meetings should not have raised eyebrows of anyone except that the meeting highlighted what is wrong with the Burmese society these days. The so-called Protection Organization announced four sets of Rules epitomizing intolerance against the Muslims of Myanmar.

Buddhist Terrorism - no longer a myth
10/29/2012 - Political Social - Article Ref: IV1210-5316
Number of comments: 2
Opinion Summary: Agree:1  Disagree:0  Neutral:1
By: Dr. Habib Siddiqui
Iviews* -

Last week the Myanmar Post on its front page reported about a meeting of Karen Religious Protection Organization that was held on October 14 in Mae Baung Monastery, Pha-an. The meeting was attended by more than 100 Buddhists including the Chief Administrators from all the nine quarters except the two from the Pha-an Township. 

Under ordinary circumstances such meetings should not have raised eyebrows of anyone except that the meeting highlighted what is wrong with the Burmese society these days. The so-called Protection Organization announced four sets of Rules epitomizing intolerance against the Muslims of Myanmar. Zwe Kapin Taung Abbot U Widaza announced the four rules: 
(1) Prohibiting selling and renting of Buddhist-owned houses, land, farming land, and orchard to Muslims of Myanmar; 
(2) Prohibiting Buddhist women to marry with Muslims; 
(3) Buddhists should patronize the Buddhist shops only; 
(4) Prohibiting Buddhists from allowing themselves to use their names from buying or renting Buddhist-owned houses, land, farming land, and orchard for Muslims. 
It was also announced that anyone who would disobey the above rules would be punished severely.

These Rules were distributed in the entire Pha-an town the next day after the meeting. It is worth noting here that just before that meeting Karen Prime Minister U Zaw Min had visited the Zwe Kapin Taung Abbot U Widaza. Copies of the Rules were sent to the Karen Prime Minister, Karen State Parliament Chairmen, Karen State Security and Border Affairs Ministry and other Government Officials. The publication of such bigotry-ridden announcement in the front page of a newspaper clearly shows that the so-called reform government of Thein Sein is not serious about peaceful coexistence of all religious communities, esp. when it comes to the Muslim community. Its kowtowing with the chauvinist and terrorist Buddhist monks only proves its hideous character. 

Thanks to the smiling image of the Dalai Lama, for decades the West took little notice of Buddhist terrorism that has terrorized millions of people in the South and Southeast Asia where a sizable Buddhist population lives. This, in spite of the fact that half the Cham Muslim population in Cambodia was massacred, and half the Rohingya Muslims had to flee from their ancestral homes in Arakan (Rakhine) state of Myanmar for horrendous crimes of the Buddhist government and population against them. The Khmer Rouge, which killed millions, in Cambodia wanted a Buddhist state, with Norodom Sihanouk as the vicegerent of God and Buddha. Buddhist monks were also accused of inciting violence against Tamil Hindus and Muslims in Sri Lanka. In Thailand, violence against the Thai Muslims by Buddhist vigilantes is a recurring event. Nor should one forget the horrendous crimes of the Buddhist Japanese Army in places like Malaysia and Burma during Second World War against the Muslim populations there [note: Emperor Hirohito considered himself the head of all Buddhists and Taoists]. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims died because of policies that led to mass starvation in the occupied territories. 

[The interested readers may like to read the book - Buddhist Warfare, co-edited by Michael Jerryson and Mark Juergensmeyer, Oxford University Press (2009), which examines Buddhist military action in Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.]

As I have noted earlier, ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims of Arakan, in particular, and religious persecution and intolerance against the Muslims of Burma, in general, have become a national project that is participated by all Buddhists inside Myanmar. So, the latest news above about the Karen Buddhists should not come as a surprise. During the military rule of the SPDC, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) - a government ally - was known for its unfathomable hate crimes and persecution of non-Buddhists, esp. Muslims. 

In its May 2002 report, the Karen Human Rights Group had reported that when the DKBA formed [in 1994-95] they came and destroyed all the Muslim homes in the Papun district of the Karen State. They then forced Muslims to pay for and construct new Buddhist homes in places that once belonged to Muslims. The DKBA committed similar types of destructions of homes and mosques almost everywhere inside the Karen state. 

A Muslim male from the Pa'an district was heard complaining, "When we built our mosque it was 50 or 60 feet [long]. It was very large. It was very big and had two floors. They [the DKBA] destroyed it. We felt very sorry when they destroyed our big worshipping place. They carried concrete and sand when they passed us sitting in front of our houses and swore, 'Ma Aye Loh Ka La' ['Indian mother f__ers']. They swore like that. They [DKBA soldiers] didn't put their clothes on when the [Muslim] women went to carry water from the well. They made a lot of problems. They told us, 'You don't have a country. You can't stay here; go to the Ka La country.'" He continued, "They built one pagoda in the middle of the village. They destroyed the mosque first and built a pagoda in place of the mosque. They destroyed it with a bulldozer and built a pagoda instead. They told us, 'You have to worship our god first.' Then our mosque teacher told them, 'It doesn't concern us.' The religions are opposite. Then they said, 'You can't stay.' ... They built a Buddhist pagoda. That pagoda wasn't our affair, but they forced us to carry bricks and sand for it. They made offerings to the Buddha and they ordered us to go and build it ourselves. We then told them that it did not concern us Muslims. They said, 'No, you can't stay.' Then they asked for money for a donation at that very hour and second [immediately]. ... They asked for 200,000 Kyat at four o'clock. They were going to kill us if we didn't give it. There was one monk who said he had a sword, and that if he took it out he couldn't put it back until he had killed someone. We were afraid of that. The village is a poor people's village. We asked around here and there to find enough money until we got 200,000 Kyat, and we sent it to them.

Another Muslim man was heard saying, "On Monday, April 10th 2000, in the evening, there were 500 Muslim houses in T'Kweh Po village to the east of the Salween River. It is to the east and south of Myaing Gyi Ngu [DKBA headquarters]. There is a DKBA camp beside it. They stay there. ... They drove the religious scholars out of the mosque. They ploughed and destroyed the mosque with a big bulldozer. A lot of men, women and children were really upset and crying at that time. Then the DKBA leader Lieutenant Pya pointed a gun at the villagers' heads and said, 'Tomorrow you have to leave this village. I don't want to see your faces here tomorrow. This place is not Ka La [Indian] country. The Ka La can't stay here. The God that you worship is in my hand. You should learn that I am the God that you worship.' They also ordered the villagers to be vegetarian and to make worship shelves [Buddhist home altars]. The last thing they said was, 'Are you going to make worship shelves or will you leave this village?' They demanded for the last time, 'If you don't want to leave this village and if you want to stay in this village you have to make a worship shelf and eat as vegetarians.' They forced them like that. The villagers couldn't abandon their religion, so they left the village and went to stay in another place. ... They forced the Muslims from that village to build a pagoda. They forced them to carry sand and rocks and other things. They only forced the Muslims to do it. After they finished they asked, 'Are you going to stay in this village and make offerings to the Buddha and eat as vegetarians?' They asked them to do that. Then the villagers pleaded, 'Don't make us do that kind of thing and don't make us worship like that.' Then they [the DKBA officer] said, 'You have requested to worship your religion freely so your religion is in my hands. You should know that your Allah is just me.' So the villagers felt upset and left the village.

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