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4 Nov, 2013

Maung Zarni: Aung San Suu Kyi and the world of Buddhist Islamophobia – Al Jazeera

Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the contemporary world’s most celebrated icons of human rights, non-violence and reconciliation, crossed the line into Myanmar’s world of “Buddhist” Islamophobia. Disturbingly, on BBC Radio Four’s flagship programme, “Today”, she characterised the waves of organised violence and Nazi-like hate campaigns currently being committed by her fellow Buddhists – the lay public and clergy alike – as violence of two equal sides, claiming that Burmese Buddhists live in the perceived fear of the rise of great Muslim power worldwide.

As a revered dissident, Aung San Suu Kyi’s idea of ‘freedom from fear’ inspired millions both in Myanmar and world-wide. I think she herself has succumbed to a different type of fear, namely Islamophobia.

Far from recent waves of violence being horizontal communal violence, the truth is that the country’s Rohingya Muslims – numbering 1.3 million out of the country’s 60 million people – have been the subject of a slowly unfolding genocide. This is the conclusion I have drawn from a three-year study that I have just completed with a researcher colleague at the London-based Equal Rights Trust.

Read the rest: Aung San Suu Kyi and the world of Buddhist Islamophobia – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.