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Myanmar riots: the current position of Burma's Muslims
Myanmar's history of transforming from an established army regime to an emerging democratic system has come as a surprise to many onlookers. But the violence against Muslims by Buddhism from autumn 2012 to the end of 2013 has shrouded these upsurges. Recent conflicts between Buddhism and Muslims began in 2012, when a Buddha women was found in Rakhine violated andassassassinated.
It was the Rohingyas and Rakhine Buddhists who attacked a coach and murdered ten Muslims. The struggle quickly broke out between the Buddhists and the Rohingyas, causing a wave of unrest and harassment. Over 250 persons were murdered, many more wounded and 250,000 Muslims were driven out, mostly from their houses in the state of Rakhine.
The refugees who have been forced to flee the war are still in provisional shelters. At the end of March 2013, a three-day amok run took place in the centre of Meikhtila, during which Muslim houses, shops and muslim mosaics were burnt down, resulting in the deaths of some 40 in all. Myanmar'969''s basic messages are that Myanmar is for Buddhists, especially Buddhists who are Bamar and not members of other ethnical groups.
Soon after, unrest arose in the Bago area after traveling friars were preaching the 969s. Without an end to the fighting, today tens of thousands of Muslims who have been driven out by these unrest stay in barricades in fugitive shelters. When the antimuslim mood in the Buddhist dominant land began to escalate, force began in a secluded town in a hilly area near Myanmar's north-eastern frontier with China, some 700 km from the trading capitol Yangon.
In early October 2013, in Sandoway in the west of Myanmar, municipal conflict between Buddhists and Muslims broke out, which in turn resulted in the death of five Muslims and the destruction of several dozen houses. The Time Magazine. Title page of Time Magazine. A lot of commentators believe that the Buddhist-nationalist'969' movements ferments or at least stands behind a wide spectrum of anti-Muslim activity, which includes violent acts in large parts of Myanmar.
The name becomes a trademark for the nationwide anti-Muslim nationwide initiative run by the well-known Mandalay friar Ashin Wirathu. In 2003, Ashin Wirathu was imprisoned for causing anti-Muslim unrest in his home town near Mandalay, where Buddhists murdered ten Muslims. Wirathu Ashin was condemned to 25 years in jail but freed under an 2011 reprieve, just before the latest wave of anti-Muslimism.
Ashin Wirathu has since led the fast-growing'969' movements and made a number of keynote addresses in which he called on Buddhism to'buy 969' and ban Muslim businesses. Burma's ideological movements linked buddhist fanatism with intensive Burma nationism and more than a hint of ethnical jingoism. Most of the Bamar are Theravada Buddha.
During the antimuslim unrest shaken Myanmar, President Thein charged His "political opportunist and extremist religions" and warned those who take advantage of precious spiritual doctrines for their own interests by inciting hate among peoples of different creeds. Thein on October 4, 2013 charged His "outsider" with the orchestration of the eruption of Islamic Buddhaist community violence in Sandoway in the west of Myanmar, indicating a deliberate assault to subvert his first trip to the conflict-ridden area.
Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN High Representative for Myanmar's World Heritage... There have been cases where the army, policemen and other civil prosecution authorities were ready while horrors were perpetrated before their faces. This includes the power of well-organized ultra-nationalist groups that accidentally become Buddhist.
In the New York Times, Aung Zaw, a reporter who formed the Irrawaddy Publishing Group, said parliamentary groups within the New York Times seem to encourage religious to participate in the war. The fatal anti-Muslim unrest is not an accident, but is being staged by hardliners of the military to frustrate both Myanmar's internal reform and its opening to the outside.
Hardliner hatred has affected many common Buddhists in Mynamar and driven them to violent action against Muslims. Meanwhile, the Buddhist friars supply a plywood of the seriousness of force. Dr Maung Zarni, an ex-patient from Myanmar who is a guest at the London School of Economics, has looked critical at the part played by the quasi-civilian Myanmar civilian regime Thein Sein in the recent outrage.
It has identified a number of open anti-Muslim actions by the administration, from supporting the Rohingyas brutality and "cleansing" of Muslims by the Myanmar army to authorizing anti-Muslim publication and supporting the ascent of Ashin Wirathu himself. However, Myanmar is not new to the practice of religiosity, as Andrew Selth at Griffith University noted, as the regimes reports have been encouraging some anti-Muslim unrest to distract awareness from its own mistakes before 2011.
It points out that the issue is not only the tactic of the military but also the discrimination policy and attitude of the Myanmar fellowship, which means that anti-Muslim riots are likely to repeat themselves. The Myanmar spokesman and writer Bertil Lintner said the administration is very concerned about the aid Suu Kyi is ordering.
She wants to compel her into a situation where she would be compelled to make a pro-Rohingya declaration that could subvert her appeal among Myanmar's Buddhists, many of whom have anti-Muslim feelings. The Burmese seem to consent to the use of power in the name of Buddhist protection. Fingerprints have been pointed in various ways, and most seem to have agreed with Myanmar that someone or a group is intentionally causing the recent riots.
Myanmar's burgeoning information society could be the cause of malignant rumors that have sparked "hate-speeches. Myanmar's heritage of state censure, which only ended in August 2012, remains and few Myanmar citizens have universal coverage of messages from sovereign or on-line socially relevant resources in much of Southeast Asia.
As 300,000 citizens of Myanmar are reading Myanmar's weeklies, some of the most widely published papers show prejudices against Muslims. In addition, the vast majority of Myanmar's people hear of policy development through verbal propaganda, through families, boyfriends, neighbours in Myanmar and not one of them is believed to be trustworthy. However, in order to better understanding the dynamic of the root causes of the current regional conflicts, we need to look more closely at the current social, economic and social state.
In the early eleventh c. Muslims came to present-day Myanmar as merchants from Central Asia and other parts of Southeast Asia. Myanmar's Islamic populations today include those of Pathis, the oldest settlements since the establishment of Burma's first kingdom in Pagan, Pashu (Malay descent), known as Panthay, Rohinhyas (northern Rakhine), Kaman (southern Rakhine) and many other miscellaneous descent.
Myanmar Muslims also exist, either through marriages or converts. But in the view of most of Burma's and former army rulers, those who become Muslims will stop being Muslims and would probably be classed as Kalar, a pejorative word for Myanmar Muslims (originally for immigrant Indians regardless of their religion ) or even just expat.
During the 1930' s, economical distress and anti-colonial movements led to unrest against the immigrants of India in general. Whilst the unrest in 1938 was anti-colonial, it was also more specifically aimed at Muslims. However, after the creation of the army in 1962, the focus on Muslims became clear. Antimuslim unrest took place many a time during half a millennium of war.
In spite of the fact that these unrest affected a large number of friars, many suspected that the events were organised by army commanders to distract awareness from the economy, the political failures or the nation-stake. The Muslims became a comfortable patsy to protect them from the wrath of the general population.
In addition, Muslims have been expressly expelled from the Myanmar army, the high governance and many respected posts in the state. Muslims were also barred from high schooling. As a result, many Muslims got involved in small companies where they did not need a university degree or links to the state.
A lot of official or nonformal laws and regulation have also been established to oppress Muslims. The curriculum included anti-Muslim Indoctrination in army colleges and officer education programs. Irrespective of their nationality, the treatment of Muslims as second-class or even non-citizens became the standard in governing bodies. In a nutshell, Muslims became repressed and suppressed in their mother country.
Despite unrest, discriminations and continuing repression by the army, Burma's Muslims maintained a sound and peaceful association with Burma's Buddhists in the early stages of the country's war. Myanmar's Buddhists and Muslims spent several hundred years living together in peace in the remote past.
Myanmar Buddhists showed disrespect for the Islam of Burma's Muslims and even permitted their girls and nurses to wed Burma's Moslem men and did not mind their girls and nurses converting to Islam after the war. Similarly, the vast majority of Burma's Muslims, who have a temperate belief, also attended the Buddhist worship meetings of their colleagues.
Indeed, the way of living and culture of most of Burma's Muslims was not very different from Burma's Buddhists. The policy of army rule against Burma's Muslims, however, has been designed to cause many splits between the two societies. Army tyrants, possessed of the obsession to eliminate all opposition politicians, gave mercy to the religionists of extremely right-wing Islamic groups, who had little interest in the democracy movements, as opposed to the temperate Islamic religionists, who were well embedded in Myanmar civilization.
Her opinions are in line with the Deobandi, Tablighi, Jamaat and Wahhabi schools of thought, which are very different from those of the traditional, religionally temperate people. Consequently, Burma's Muslims are gradually and continuously becoming more traditional and inflexible in their religion.
A lot of them switched their clothing from the typically Myanmar way to the Deobandi way, maintaining the mustache and wear clothing that was very similar to the Indians or Bengalese. Also, the new worshipers issued many types of worship debates that made it hard for Burma's Muslims to keep up their peaceful Korean Buddhist interrelations.
Until 1987, Myanmar was one of the least advanced South-East Asian economies due to the Nazi economic system of the country's dictatorial army and maladministration, and rampant na-tionalism fuelled by paranoid politics that warped Buddhism. Many Burmese in general were compelled to leave their district either lawfully or unlawfully and run the danger of becoming undocumented operatives in neighboring states.
Most of them went to Malaysia, a major Islamic state, others went to the Middle Eastern Arabian states to work as semi-skilled labour. It has often been reported from these lands that undocumented Myanmar laborers have been unjustly mistreated. Many Muslims in Burma have been inspired to become more devout in sympathy with their Islamic mothers.
It is also natural that Myanmar's Muslims have turned inward in their religion and interaction, given the past discriminations against Burma's Muslims and the fact that they cannot depend on the state in a state during a war.
Consequences of increasing global Muslim self-confidence in conjunction with the development of the Wahhabi think-tank have compelled some Myanmar Muslims to transfer their allegiance from their nations to global Muslimism. Myanmar Muslims: state free under the Nationality Act of 1982. Nationality is a right guaranteed by various intergovernmental agreements on the protection of fundamental freedoms.
Many Myanmar commentators say, however, that the 1982 Nationality Act, passed during the rule of former General Ne Win, is inconsistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Burma's statutory commitments under existing intergovernmental agreements. They also say that the Nationality Act has deprived many Myanmar citizens, almost all Myanmar's Muslims, of their right to citizen.
According to Art. 4 (II) of the former Citizenship Act of 1948, "Any persons of ancestral origin who for at least two generation have made one of the areas contained in the Union their habitual residence and whose parent and he himself were Born in any of these areas shall be considered citizens of the Union.
" Unlike the former Nationality Act, which was enacted in 1948 when Myanmar (then Burma) became self-sufficient, the 1982 Nationality Act only grants nationality to those who can demonstrate that their family has been living in Myanmar for at least three generation. There are 135 official ethnical groups that qualify for nationality, including the most important ones - Baman, Rakhine, Chin, Shan, Karen, Mon and Karenni.
Section II, Art. 3, of the Nationality Act states that only these and other groups who established in Burma before 1823 are eligible for Burma nationality. It' s often hard to show that you moved to Myanmar before 1823, and even if you can show that, the immigrant will often refuse the proof when he finds out you're a Muslim.
While there are procedures in the 1982 Nationality Act for the acquisition of naturalised nationality, this nationality is not the same in most other jurisdictions as naturalised nationality. Myanmar's naturalised nationality does not give equal opportunities to full nationality and is not even an intermediate step towards full nationalism.
Naturalised nationals do not have the same career prospects and cannot run for elective offices. In addition, Burma's laws allow for the revocation of naturalised nationality for a number of purposes, such as "dissatisfaction or infidelity to the state" and "committing an offense with morally reprehensible character". Obviously, the whole of Myanmar's reforms and prospects cannot be secured if the issue of civic rights for Myanmar's Muslims is not adequately dealt with.
It is imperative that the multinational corporation urge the Myanmar authorities to change their 1982 Law on Nationality to make sure that all skilled people in the state enjoy the right to nationality on a non-discriminatory basis based on race and religious beliefs. Akbar Tin Win President, Federation of the Workers' Union of Burmese Citizens (in Japan).