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Buddhist Conflicts with Muslims in Burma and Sri Lanka

Autor:   •  October 17, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,906 Words (8 Pages)  •  811 Views

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In all major world religions, there has always been a time throughout their course in history where they have had to engage in some sort of battle with other religions. The obvious example of one of these conflicts would be the infamous crusades. Although there has been one exception, Buddhism had always been thought to be immune to such quarrels. That thought is most likely attributed to Buddhism's very strong emphasis on non-violence throughout every part of the religion, even bordering on being a philosophy of sorts. Buddhism has had some differences with other religions although its morality is always consistent with their own. Non-violence is one of the most imperative principles iof their religion, so much so it appears many times in its sacred text.

Unfortunately, recently there have been occurrences from Buddhists that contradict the crucial lessons of non-violence from the many teachings of Buddha. In Burma, also known as Myanmar and Sri Lanka both contain a population that is mostly Buddhist. Burma and Sri Lanka are some of the poorest countries in Asia even though it is also two of the most religious countries. These countries also have a rather large amount of Muslim, Hindu and Christian followers. In recent "times", the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority have been engaged in a conflict with each other.

Examples of this conflict affecting the countries include the Rakhine State Riots, Meikhtila Riots and Lashio Riots. Some of the many possible underlining causes for these disturbances include an increased need for nationalism to match changing politics from a dictatorship to a democracy or the 969 movement started from extremist Buddhist monks.

Ashin Wirathu is considered a highly prominent figure in the aforementioned 969 movement. Ashin had been arrested in 2003 for offsetting religious conflicts with Muslims and was given a sentence of 25 years in prison. His sentenced was appealed by the president, causing him to be released January of 2012. Very soon after his release he continued his strong anti-Islamic behavior. Ashin has made speeches showing unyielding negative attitudes against Muslims. During these speeches he told his followers to boycott Muslim owned businesses and has used an extremely discriminatory vocabulary whilst describing them as well. "Extremists are trying to turn Burma into an Islamic country" (4) are some of the claims he has made along with showing concern over the rapidly growing Muslim population in the area. There have also been correlations between the location of the riots and of Ashin Wirathu. Yet, He publically denies any involvement or being the cause behind the tragic outbreaks of violence that are occurring. Instead, he explains his radical groups sign 969 showing up throughout the riots location is simply his followers taking his message out of context and reinforcing the fact that he and his group are not responsible for the


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