Security Heightened in Bangladesh Following Attacks on Buddhists

Posted October 1st, 2012 at 11:15 am (UTC-5)
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Security forces are patrolling parts of southern Bangladesh to protect Buddhists from further attacks by Muslims protesting a reported Facebook photo of a burned Quran.

Soldiers and paramilitary border guards were deployed to Buddhist-majority villages in Cox's Bazaar on Monday, following two days of Muslim attacks on Buddhist temples and homes. Authorities have also banned public gatherings in the region bordering Burma.

The violence was sparked after a photo of a burned copy of the Muslim holy book was posted on the social media website Facebook. Protesters claimed the photo was posted by a local Buddhist man who was later taken into protective custody by police, along with his family members. The man's Facebook page was closed.

Bangladeshi Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir said Monday that 166 people have been detained in connection with the attacks on Buddhist temples and homes. He noted the government will “strongly deal with those who want to spread the venom of communal hatred.”

Bangladesh's Buddhists make up less than one percent of the population, and most live close to the border with Buddhist-majority Burma, also known as Myanmar.

Tensions between Muslims and Buddhists have been building in recent months after deadly clashes erupted between the two communities in neighboring Buddhist-majority Burma, also known as Myanmar.