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Burma: Buddhist Monks Seek To Ban Schoolgirls From Wearing Headscarves

Rescued Rohingya women from Myanmar register for an Indonesian police identification process at the confinement area in the fishing port of Kuala Langsa in Aceh province on May 18, 2015 where hundreds of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh are taking temporary shelter after they were rescued by Indonesian fishermen. Nearly 3,000 migrants have swum to shore or been rescued off Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand over the past week, around half of whom have arrived in Indonesia's western province of Aceh. AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD        (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Rescued Rohingya women from Myanmar register for an Indonesian police identification process at the confinement area in the fishing port of Kuala Langsa in Aceh province on May 18, 2015 where hundreds of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh are taking temporary shelter after they were rescued by Indonesian fishermen. Nearly 3,000 migrants have swum to shore or been rescued off Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand over the past week, around half of whom have arrived in Indonesia’s western province of Aceh. AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

The horrific persecution of the Rohingya peoples of Burma is reaching a new and heightened level through the incitement of groups of Buddhist monks.

By Simon Lewis, The Guardian

An influential group of Buddhist monks in Burma is proposing to ban Muslim schoolgirls from wearing headscarves, in the latest sign of growing religious tension in the country.

The Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion, a panel of monks known locally by the acronym Ma Ba Tha, said the headscarves were “not in line with school discipline”.

Ma Ba Tha held a conference in Rangoon at the weekend. Some 1,300 monks from monasteries around the country gathered to discuss plans to promote a nationalist agenda as the country heads toward landmark elections later this year.

In a list of recommendations released late on Sunday, Ma Ba Tha told its members to lobby the government to put further restrictions on the country’s beleaguered Muslims, and included references to the wearing of either headscarves or burqas.

“We will demand seriously for the government to ban Muslim students wearing the burqa in government schools and to ban the killing of innocent animals on their [Muslims’] Eid holiday,” it said, referring to Muslim cultural practices that Buddhist nationalists believe go against the culture of Buddhist-majority Burma.

Explaining the move, Ma Ba Tha monk U Pamaukkha said: “When they [Muslims] live in Myanmar, they need to obey the law and regulations of the country. We are not targeting or attacking their religion.”

The group also said it would “show the people the right track” when it came to the elections, expected in November, encouraging people to vote for candidates who “will not let our race and religion disappear”.

The group would keep monitoring “crimes by non-Buddhists” and using Facebook to spread news about alleged threats to Buddhism in Burma, its statement said.
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Ma Ba Tha was officially formed in June 2013, when bouts of inter-communal violence were spreading around the country, with Buddhist mobs targeting members of the Muslim minority. Riots have been triggered by social media posts reporting alleged rapes of Buddhist women by Muslims.

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  • ShunTheRightWhale

    Just a tip from a pro: you don’t put zeros in front of the years of the first millenium AD…
    You post a summary of Islamic expansion. It gives the impression that Islam is a monolithic bloc, but it never was: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Fitna

    It seems in your post, that the Crusades were a reaction solely to Muslim expansion, that’s the case for the First Crusade, but later on it gets more complicated. Let’s look at some examples:
    – the German Crusade (1096): Jews are massacred in cities along the Rhine river
    – the Third Crusade (1189-1192): Saladin recaptures Jerusalem, Richard the Lionheart and others battle him, he earns amongst Christians the reputation of an embodiement of Chivalry, even Dante, a Medieval (!) author, gives him a place in Limbo (the best possible place for Non-Christians in his cosmology) in his Divine Comedy
    – the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) ends with the sacking of Constantinople, the center of Orthodox Christianity, a Occidental state, the Latin Empire is installed
    – the Cathar Crusade 1209-1229): Cathars and Albigensians are slaughtered over South France
    – the Baltic Crusades (13th century): the Baltic peoples are conquered by the German Military Order of the Teutonic Knights

    The last time Monte Cassio was destroyed was 1944 in a battle between Axis and Allies, one participant, Walter M. Miller, was so affected by the destruction, he wrote a novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz, about a monastery in Post-Apocalyptic times, in which a renewed Church becomes a factor of mediation. I think that’s a more productive way to cope with religious themes than to sow hate.

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