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Myanmar: the Rohingya and the Buddhists

[ by Charles Cameron -- one person's shrine is another person's ex-shrine ]
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I was struck by this sentence in a blog post on Myanmar today:

As for the Muslims, they have been force-converted, their places of worship, as in the case of mosques, transformed into Buddhist temples, and they have been attacked during their religious festivities.

Buddhists? Just like the rest of us? Okay…

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You know how some Muslims must feel when they see a Christian cathedral sprouting right out of the heart of their beautiful Mezquita mosque in Cordoba (above)? Or some Christians, when they see the huge Islamic decals hanging in what was once the great cathedral of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia (below) — now a museum?

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I believe we’re all pretty happy that Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer under house arrest, but even she hasn’t felt at easy commenting on the Rohingya / Muslims in her native Myanmar:

The issue of the Rohingya is so delicate that even Myanmar’s leading defender of human rights and democracy, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has been oblique and evasive about the situation. Asked at a news conference on Thursday whether the estimated 800,000 Rohingyas in Myanmar should be given citizenship, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was equivocal. “We have to be very clear about what the laws of citizenship are and who are entitled to them,” she said in Geneva, which she was visiting as part of a European tour. “All those who are entitled to citizenship should be treated as full citizens deserving all the rights that must be given to them.”

Since I doubt I could ever be as brave as she has been already, I can’t complain… but maybe, all the same, wish?

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To backtrack a little, here’s the full paragraph from which that first quote was taken. It’s a two-fisted paragraph, a mind-blower:

To provide another case of discrimination and persecution of minorities and non-Buddhists, probably even less known than the Rohingya, I can mention the Christians amongst the Karen, Karenni, Chin and Kachin ethnic groups. As for the Muslims, they have been force-converted, their places of worship, as in the case of mosques, transformed into Buddhist temples, and they have been attacked during their religious festivities.

Unless, of course, your mind is already blown. Which, given the complexities of the world around us, it probably should be by now.

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