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TIME: “The Face of Buddhist Terror”


Having seen the type of headlines about Islam and Muslims that have proliferated over the decades I recoil at the association of a religion, Buddhism, with “terror” and violence. This kind of sensationalist treatment is unnecessary and when it becomes a cultural meme can have near irreversible consequences.

That said, it is about time that the violence and ethnic cleansing perpetrated and fanned by violent Buddhist extremist monks against Muslims in Myanmar is finally receiving major national media attention.

Straying From the Middle Way: Extremist Buddhist Monks Target Religious Minorities

By Hannah Beech

The fault lines of conflict are often spiritual, one religion chafing against another and kindling bloodletting contrary to the values girding each faith. Over the past year in parts of Asia, it is friction between Buddhism and Islam that has killed hundreds, mostly Muslims. The violence is being fanned by extremist Buddhist monks, who preach a dangerous form of religious chauvinism to their followers.

Yet as this week’s TIME International cover story notes, Buddhism has tended to avoid a linkage in our minds to sectarian strife:

“In the reckoning of religious extremism — Hindu nationalists, Muslim militants, fundamentalist Christians, ultra-Orthodox Jews — Buddhism has largely escaped trial. To much of the world, it is synonymous with nonviolence and loving kindness, concepts propagated by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, 2,500 years ago. But like adherents of any religion, Buddhists and their holy men are not immune to politics and, on occasion, the lure of sectarian chauvinism.

When Asia rose up against empire and oppression, Buddhist monks, with their moral command and plentiful numbers, led anticolonial movements. Some starved themselves for their cause, their sunken flesh and protruding ribs underlining their sacrifice for the laity. Perhaps most iconic is the image of Thich Quang Duc, a Vietnamese monk sitting in the lotus position, wrapped in flames, as he burned to death in Saigon while protesting the repressive South Vietnamese regime 50 years ago. In 2007, Buddhist monks led a foiled democratic uprising in Burma: images of columns of clerics bearing upturned alms bowls, marching peacefully in protest against the junta, earned sympathy around the world, if not from the soldiers who slaughtered them. But where does social activism end and political militancy begin? Every religion can be twisted into a destructive force poisoned by ideas that are antithetical to its foundations. Now it’s Buddhism’s turn.”

Read the rest…



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  • Crimson_Kimono

    No this is the truth, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, ETC ETC. Has nothing to do with the fighting. It has to do with “Agendas” disguised as religion, politics, etc. Its just easier to blame something else than the real picture. This as well as some of the other posts can actually make a religion look worse b/c you haven’t given the whole picture. Those people who killed Muslims are not Buddhists, (we do not have any form of killing allowed in our texts) and the same goes backwards Those who are Muslim and killed Buddhists, are not Muslim! stop blaming. Drive all Blames onto one! (if u dont know that meaning you should really find out b/f commenting) -Metta

  • Awesome

    well, I never really expected anything but this rubbish from people like you…
    so I’m not surprised.

    – I am surprised that you bothered to respond, however I am not surprised by your response, which is nothing but prejudice and stereotyping.

    But at the same time I will always be amazed how you people try to sell “it’s only stereotypes”… nobody is buying it…

    – I’m amazed that it can always amaze you when the “stereotypes” description is hardly ever used by anyone to describe that. More often, “Islamophobia” is used as a description.

    Or perhaps “you people” is meant to refer to me specifically? If that’s the case, I am not a “people”, I am a “person”. Please try to learn the difference.

    Also, if I were selling something, I would be asking for money. No one can buy something that is not being sold to begin with.

    so you say in non-muslim countries people are persecuted for their religion just like in Pakistan and Iran? People are sentenced to death for converting to islam?

    – If you think I said such a thing, please point it out, because I can’t find such a statement anywhere in what I said.

    “That just leaves the real reason: religious chauvinism on the part of Burmese Buddhists”

    yes, muslims never do that, right?

    – Not in Burma, which rules it out as a real motive for the attacks on Muslims in Burma by those Buddhists.

    Aren’t you tired of your own

    – Aren’t you tired of being an ignorant bigot?

    who are you trying to convince?

    – You need to understand the difference between informing and convincing, just like you need to understand the difference between a “people” and a “person”.

    I have a lot of acquaintances from muslim countries, from initially non-muslim areas but now muslim-populated, I live in a country where muslims (like everywhere) impose their lifestyle on others so don’t tell me about tolerant muslims – there is no such thing.

    – You are incorrect in saying that it’s “like everywhere”, because I highly doubt that you or your acquaintances have been “everywhere” to make that assessment accurately. Your prejudice towards Muslims is extremely subjective due to bad, personal experiences either you or your acquaintances have had, or because of laws in place in certain predominantly Muslim countries. And due to your extremely limited perspective, your opinion on what types of Muslims exist or do not exist, is only a product of your own prejudices and not of reality.

  • A Voice of Reason

    You live in a country where Muslims impose their lifestyles on others? Really? Do they force your wife to wear a Burka? Huh? I didn’t think so. I would look up the definition of the word “impose” if I were you. Radical bigot.

  • Christian-Friend

    I…would prefer to live in neither

  • Sam Seed

    So I guess you share this man’s hatred towards Muslims. Wrong is wrong, you cannot try and twist this into an argument about how Muslims are treating others in Muslim lands. When did these Muslims try to force the Buddhists to submit to Islam? You are clearly clutching at straws my friend, when there are no straws to clutch you have to somehow make it sound that this is in retaliation to something Muslims have done.

    ‘Everyone is tired of your tricks’, oh really can you show us some of the tricks these Muslims are playing? Yes why would anyone think of Muslims, certainly not the US with it’s wards being waged on Muslims lands. Get the hatred out of your head and stop pretending that nothing is wrong here. Muslims are being targeted because of their faith, and you are wrong in your defence of this Muslim hater.

  • Heinz Catsup

    Well said man.

  • Awesome

    why? why? Why would anyone think that about muslims? why? can’t think of
    anything… let’s ask all the minorities living in muslim countries

    – The reason that Muslims are stereotyped that way is the same reason that Buddhists are stereotyped in the way they are; because of how the corporate media chooses to portray them. Even the perception of the conditions of minorities in Muslim countries is a result of the corporate media.

    The real question is why does the corporate media focus on Muslims only when it involves violence?

    Clearly, it is to reinforce that stereotype of Muslims that they created, because a McCarthyist “moral panic” against Muslims serves the interests of their handlers.

    you know what is usually means “violence agains muslims”?
    it’s when muslims tried to establish their law, force all the others to sumbit, and were put back where they should be.
    everyone is tired of your tricks

    – Actually, “violence against Muslims” means unprovoked, violent attacks against Muslim individuals simply because they are Muslim. Those unfounded conspiracy theories about a Shariah takeover may be a motive in some cases. However, they are not a motive in all the cases, as in Burma, the problem is a Buddhist form of religious chauvinism that targets religious groups that don’t tow the line of the mainstream, Burmese Buddhists.

    If this were about trying to stop Muslims from establishing Islamic law, then clearly the target should be those government agents, offices and institutions that would be facilitating such a takeover. However, as reality demonstrates, that is neither the motive nor the target of these attacks against Muslims. Furthermore, the whole Islamic law takeover plot doesn’t actually exist to begin with, so those would-be institutions also do not exist.

    That just leaves the real reason: religious chauvinism on the part of Burmese Buddhists. In fact, chauvinism seems to be a defining characteristic of people in general who are hostile towards Muslims, whether it is racial, cultural and political (as it is with Israel and various groups in western countries) or religious (as it is with certain Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus who are extremists). When people start to think and act like adults more, it’s possible that these petty, civil disputes would go away, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it.

  • Daria57

    why? why? Why would anyone think that about muslims? why? can’t think of anything… let’s ask all the minorities living in muslim countries
    you know what is usually means “violence agains muslims”?
    it’s when muslims tried to establish their law, force all the others to sumbit, and were put back where they should be.
    everyone is tired of your tricks

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    We’ve covered a lot of it in the past as well.

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Off course

  • Sam Seed

    I agree, I think most of them are peaceful.
    But I want to see if there are any that would defend this criminal just because he happens to be a Buddhist, just like there are Muslims who would defend Anjem Choudhary.

  • mindy1

    Never thought i’d see this, Buddhists straying so far from their ideals :'( who you worship should never be a death sentence :(

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Good point. Lets not allow ourselves to go down a path that would lead to something similar to Islamophobia only with Buddhists instead of Muslims.

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Hopefully most of them, would say no.

  • A Voice of Reason

    What’s REALLY ironic is that Muslims are seen as stereotypically violent and Buddhists are seen as stereotypically peaceful. Yet in Burma its Buddhists slaying Muslims.

  • Javed Asghar

    And yet …..
    The article is full of caveats about Mid East money for mosques and making out that it was always Muslims who initiated the trouble or excusing the massacres by highlighting reprisals in other countries
    What a surprise that its only when Christians are now being picked on as well

  • Reynardine

    Not every Buddhist is the Dalai Lama, and there have even been Dalai Lamas who were more like this guy. Tengrists in Mongolia were, in earlier centuries, subjected to the same kind of persecution as the Rohingya today. Those who enjoy the sense of power that persecuting others gives them will employ any scripture, any ethical subterfuge, to clothe themselves in self-righteousness while doing so. Let us all be warned.

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  • Sam Seed

    Finally, the Buddhist Hitler is on the front page. This man should be put back in prison with a muzzle. Tell me my Buddhist friends, do you agree with this man’s position on Muslims?

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