Burmese Monks March on Bangladeshi Consulate

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 10:30 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Anger over violence targeting the Buddhist community in Bangladesh is becoming an issue again in neighboring Burma.

About 400 maroon-robed monks marched through the streets of Sittwe to protest in front of the Bangladeshi consulate in Burma's Rakhine state. Police officials say another 1,000 people watched.

The protesters presented a letter to the consulate, demanding the Bangladeshi government do more to prevent attacks against Buddhists living in the district of Cox's Bazaar and other locations across southeast Bangladesh.

The letter also stated the monks opposition to the possibility of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) opening an office in Sittwe.

Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims rioted last week, targeting Buddhist temples after they found an Internet photo of a burned Quran and blamed it on a Buddhist man.

Buddhists make up less than one percent of Bangladesh's population. Many live close to the border with Buddhist-majority Burma.

There have also been tensions between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in Burma's Rakhine state. Violence in June killed about 90 people. Many Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh to escape the fighting.

Burma refuses to recognize its estimated 800,000 Rohingya Muslims as an ethnic group and denies them citizenship. Many Burmese consider the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Rohingya Muslims also are denied citizenship in Bangladesh, which says the group has been living in Burma for centuries.