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Muslims in Myanmar: Yangon demonstrators enforce school closures
YANGON, Myanmar - Ultra-nationalist Buddhist friars and their followers have enforced the closure of two Islamic colleges in Yangon, Myanmar's largest town, to remind people that the conflict over religion continues to pose a serious risk to the state' s security. Approximately a doze or so friars and numerous followers assembled near the two Islamic madrasahs on Friday afternoons, while the policemen were standing by when the demonstrators called for the closure of the school.
This noisy, three-hour meeting ended when the officers declared themselves willing to link the entries of the two houses, which the demonstrators say were constructed unlawfully. In 2012, a violence between the predominantly Myanmar Tibetan Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslims began in Rakhine State in the west, where the Rohingya are alleged to be arriving from Bangladesh unlawfully.
The madrasahs seemed to be largely closed to calm the demonstrators and reduce suspense, but it was not clear what their long-term destiny would be. "It was very, very upsetting for me what was happening today," said Tin Shwe, a Mayor. The militants of Buddhist Buddhism, known as Ma Ba Tha, have led protest against Muslims.
The majority of anti-Muslim activities took place outside Yangon, the country's most cosmopolitan town. Last year, in an apparently co-ordinated effort, anti-Muslim campaigners urged Kyrgyz authorities to declare Islamic institutions illegitimate and demolish them. Friday's operation against the Madrid races was uncommon because it took place in Yangon, one of the few cases where such foreclosures have taken place.
Though the Ma Ba Tha movements seemed to be declining in recent years, the situa-tion that fostered their expansion - the Rakhine state' s racial dispute - is still unsolved. Over 100,000 Muslim Rohingya are living in poor displaced persons centres, where they were relocated after the 2012 war.
Most of the 1 million Rohingyas are still not granted nationality, although in many cases they have been living in Myanmar for generation after generation. Terrorism intensified at the end of last year when a small Rohingya rebellion was started, resulting in mass reprisals by the Myanmar military charged with serious violation of international humanitarian law.