Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

12 Oct, 2013

Are invisible forces orchestrating Myanmar’s anti-Muslim violence? – Al Jazeera

Myanmar’s president made his first trip to the violence-hit town of Thandwe last week, days after a 94-year-old Muslim woman was slain by Buddhists in a nearby village. Spurred on by an unrelated argument between a Muslim political leader and a Buddhist taxi driver two days prior, a mob approached her home in a nearby village on October 1. Her daughter managed to escape, but returned to find a charred house and a mother with cuts to her neck, head and stomach.

The state-run New Light of Myanmar later quoted President Thein Sein as saying that he had suspicions about the nature of the Thandwe attacks, where close to 100 houses were razed. “Ethnic Rakhine [Buddhists] and ethnic Kaman [Muslims] have been living here in peaceful co-existence for many years,” he said. “External motives instigated violence and conflicts. According to the evidence in hand, rioters who set fire to the villages are outsiders.”

For someone who has demonstrated such ineptness at confronting head-on the anti-Muslim violence over the past 16 months, the statement is surprising. In it, he finally appears to acknowledge that organised networks of Buddhist extremists are operating in Myanmar.

Read the rest: Are invisible forces orchestrating Myanmar’s anti-Muslim violence? – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.