The whole world is watching the so called Democratization process of Myanmar shaping progressively albeit at a slow pace. But the whole world failed to understand that most of the Myanmars never really wish to practice a true Democracy based on Equal Rights for all the citizens, regardless of race and religion. They even fail to realize that they are just wishing in their hearts and minds to establish a Bama Buddhist Empire lording over all the Ethnic Minorities and Religious Minorities. Ethnic Bama Buddhists do not wish to compete with the Ethnic and Religious Minorities on the level playing field.
Just think deeply about the following truths:
- Most of the Petroleum, Gas, Minerals, and Jades etc are in the Ethnic Minority areas and if they are given autonomy what will be left much for Bamas?
- If they gave EQUAL RIGHTS to Burmese-Chinese, Burmese Muslims, Rohingyas etc Bamas would be handicapped in economy.
- Religious freedom to Minority Religious Groups: Christians, Muslims and Hindu etc….would jeopardize the upper hand they are taking in all the fields.
On top of those basic facts, most of the Burmese (Buddhist Bamas of Myanmar) on both side of political divide could not hide the feelings of deep seated hatred and antagonism i.e. Islamophobia toward all the Muslims in Myanmar.
Copies of the 120 page long Anti-Muslim booklets which are titled, ‘We are afraid that our race will disappear’ and “Burmese Citizens Beware!” pamphlets are distributed repeated everywhere in most parts of Myanmar nowadays.
“… Malaysia and Indonesia were once Buddhist countries in history (Sic), but unfortunately the Muslims used (their) methods (to expand their religion) so successfully that they have become Muslim (dominated) countries; Buddhism has disappeared from these countries…. Bear in mind that the four social causes of the Myanmar Military must be accomplished….”
It continues to accuse the Muslims in Myanmar with long chronology of alleged crimes and faults against Bama Buddhists. In a flick of the slick magician’s hand, strong and powerful majority Bamas are portrayed effectively as victims of systemic attacks and schemes of a minority Muslims.
Burmese Citizens – Beware!
The Muslims living in Burma are attempting to expand their religion while destroying Buddhism in Burma by using the following ways:
1) Land: All the land in the country shall be owned by the Muslims.
2) Money: To organize Buddhists to become Muslims using the power of money.
3) Women: To organize Buddhist women to get married with Muslims using money and other ways.
4) Doctrine: To preach Muslim doctrine in every place.
5) State power: After successfully using the above stated methods and when [the] majority of the people become Muslim, to take state power.
Although some educated people now understand that these pamphlets are meant to incite unrest to divert the attention on political and economic problems and to be able to cling on to the power by the military dictators, many common people still usually fall for them and the damage done leaves an indelible black mark on the politico-social, religious and race relation history of Burma or Myanmar.
President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD failed to stop or even ignore their duty to denounce these Islamophobic propaganda. Daw Suu just sent out the statement requesting both side to stop fighting without acknowledging that Muslims are victims.
Perhaps most upsetting to Bama Buddhists is the idea of Muslim men marrying Bama (Buddhist) women and converting them to Islam. Throughout military rule in Burma, successive regimes have used the spectre of a Muslim takeover to whip up nationalist sentiments. In particular, when anti-regime tensions are running high, the military rulers staged-incidents of intolerable behavior by Muslims always seem to pop up and are used to channel anger into communal conflicts effectively diverting the main issue or problems.
There also included instructions to local people not to buy goods or dine in Muslim shops and restaurants.
1) People are told not to buy things at Muslim shops. They are advised not to eat or buy from shops with 786, Bismillah or Halal logos or those own by Kalars (Muslims).
2) They must not trade with Muslims.
3) People are not allowed to rent houses and land to Muslims.
4) Shops are told to display the logo ‘ARAHAN’ – Symbol of Buddhism or 969 logos.
5) People must not buy things from the shops that do not have the above logos.
(The above is the excerpts from the anti-Muslim pamphlets in Burmese which are distributed in Yangon, Mandalay and many areas in Myanmar.)
The 969 groups are openly selling or sometimes distributing the copies of that book and some tapes and pamphlets made from the gist of that book. Radical 969 Bamas distribute them to many Buddhist monasteries throughout the country. The government is also doing nothing about it and seems to agree with them.
The whole book is written to demonstrate the anti-Muslim sentiment existing in Buddhists and the authorities turning a blind eye, although realizing that this had lead to very dangerous and disastrous consequences and the pressure in Myanmar-boiler is increasing daily and ready to explode. Although the Hardliners and Ultra-Nationalists affiliated to the military and government are doing a vigorous propaganda campaign throughout the country obviously wishing to derail the present democratization process but it is mind bogging to witness many seemingly Democratic activists, including the professionals and the prominent monks and especially most of the NLD leaders and members are seen to be swallowing the hook, line, and sinker of Islamophobic Propangada.
1. HUMAN RIGHTS YEARBOOK 1999-2000: BURMA Page HRDU 229
Muslims in Burma have been regularly denied the right to freedom of religion. They have also been subject to various forms of persecution and discrimination. There were credible reports that in early 1999 anti-Islamic booklets were widely distributed throughout the country through the USDA, a SPDC-sponsored mass organization. The All Burma Young Monks Association (ABYMU) denied military allegations that they had printed and distributed the booklets. The reports of these booklets followed other reports in recent years of SPDC’s instigation or toleration of violence against Muslims. These booklets didn’t indicate where they were printed or who wrote them, but they shared a basic message: Muslims are about to subvert all other religions. The anti-Muslim booklets explain how this had happened in Iraq and Indonesia, and how Muslims in Burma are about to turn the country into an Islamic state. During the widespread distribution of these pamphlets, communal riots were in Myinggyan, Myinmu, Myanaung and Tarmwe(Rangoon). It has been noted by some in Burma that in the past, Muslim people have been made the scapegoats for the government’s economic failures, and the resulting religious conflicts distracted people from these failures.
2. As Human Rights Watch reported in its 2001 report, “Crackdown on Burmese Muslims”, monks, working with the support of the government, have distributed anti-Muslim pamphlets such as the 2001 tract “Myo Pyauk Hmar Soe Kyauk Hla Tai (The Fear of Losing One’s Race). Distribution of the pamphlets was also facilitated by the Union of Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). The USDA is the civilian support wing of the military regime,
While the idea of monks actually leading rioters may seem unusual, certain details make it less so. Myanmar’s large and much feared military intelligence service, the Directorate of Defense Security Intelligence is commonly believed to have agents working within the monkhood. The monks have always been courageous supporters of the democracy movement. It would seem that monitoring dissident monks is not their only function.
Human Rights Watch also reported that monks in the 2001 riots were carrying mobile phones, a luxury not readily available to the Myanmar population – as very few without government connections can afford them. It is also reported that there was a clear split between monks who provoked violence and those who did not. It has been suggested by Human Rights Watch and others that these facts may reflect the presence of agent provocateurs among the monks. That suggestion may not be far off.
If violence does once again break out, it will be agitators at the lead. And this religious violence threatens to divert the world’s attention from the real issue in Myanmar – the continuing deprivation of its people’s prosperity by an unpopular military dictatorship.
Burma has a long and unfortunate history of discrimination against its Muslim citizens. With precedents for communal violence set in the past, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) have found it expedient on numerous occasions to exploit religious and ethnic tension, especially when it can be directed towards Muslim people, to divide the public and distract attention from other political and social issues.
Muslims were explicitly targeted for persecution. Acts of violence, destruction, and sacrilege perpetrated by SLORC soldiers against Burmese Muslims. For instance, in July 1988, pamphlets supposedly written by Muslims encouraging fellow Muslims to marry Burmese women suddenly appeared in Taunggyi and other towns where anti-military feelings were growing after the student demonstrations in Rangoon. As expected, Muslim-Buddhist conflicts broke out, and the stores and homes of Muslims were attacked and looted. Such pamphlets have shown up several times in Burma over the past ten years, including in October 1996 in Rangoon, when Islamophobic pamphlets appeared.
3. Ref: Myanmar’s Muslim sideshow By Cem Ozturk. ASIA TIMES ONLINE
4. Religious Freedom Reports of US State Department.
Author: Dr. Abdul Rahman Zafrudin. Human Rights Activist and General Practitioner at a Private Clinic , born in Myanmar and now residing in Malaysia.