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Islam in Burma: discussion groups

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Title: Everyday ethnic tensions in Myanmar
Date of publication: 27 March 2013
Description/subject: "Anyone who is paying attention to Myanmar right now should be deeply saddened by the recent violence in Meiktilla.[1] And, understandably, many are expressing mounting concern over the rise of virulently anti-Muslim Buddhist nationalism across the country, characterized in violent Facebook comments or incendiary speeches like those of U Wirathu.[2] We risk missing just how concerning the recent violence in Meikitalla is, however, if we focus only on the most extreme speech. There is extremely hateful speech, to be sure, just as there have been recent attempts to counteract it and call for peace.[3] It is also likely, as prominent 88 Generation leader Min Ko Naing recently pointed out, that there are those systematically seeking to encourage and profit from such violence and religious tension.[4] But it also needs to be noted that these virulent sentiments connect to a less violent, but nonetheless concerning – and, I believe, widespread – lack of understanding and trust between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Burma; the tensions are religious, not limited to questions of citizenship and ethnicity. This has to be recognized, because it helps explain how the more venomous statements find purchase; only recognizing this helps explain things like the rapid spread of the ‘969’ movement[5]or seeming national indifference to the violence in Rakhine State and central Burma. This in turn highlights why there is strong potential for more violence, countrywide. And it helps highlight the need for interfaith cooperation and reconciliation that a) moves quickly to counter-act rumours and misinformation campaigns, b) addresses specific sources of mistrust and conflict and c) finds other lines of connection and solidarity through which Buddhist and Muslim communities can strengthen ties..."
Author/creator: Matt Schissler
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 July 2014