Dear Narendra Modi ji,
We are facing a situation in India where thousands of girls are being simply picked up and thrown into sexual slavery across West Bengal, Hyderabad and many other areas in Muslim dominated areas. The tragic case of Tutukti is a case in point where hundreds of calls from around the world to police, media and politicians could not recover the child speaks volumes on the dangerous situation. This is the fate of so many girls estimated at 100 girls per day across 32,000 villages of West Bengal and just recently 10 girls were kidnapped from Hyderabad and sold into sexual slavery. The world has become increasingly aware and taking actions to contain Islam. We cannot continue our country with business as usual when there are serious demographic changes occurring with little population control among Muslims who are increasingly radicalized in Madrassas, Mosques and Islamic universities and posing a dangerous threat to non-Muslim civilizations.
What is India’s plan to contain the Islam, when all over the world actions are being taken including Islamic own countries. Is there a plan to stop Saudi funding, to stop Madrassa education, to close down the Mosques preaching violence and speaking against population control which even Egypt is doing, to bring in laws to tackle where vote bank politics are allowing daily riots and kidnapping girls and throwing into sexual slavery, uniform civil code, teach true history of partition and Islamic threat, to close down the media houses which are blatantly partisan and creating a dangerous situation of partition of India.
What are we afraid of when so many countries are boldly moving forward to bring in changes. If Egypt can close down 27,000 Mosques for radical teachings, can we not learn something from it. This is about survival of India as a nation and another possible brutal partition of India. We cannot commit civilization suicide with half gap measures and fearing the opinion of biased Indian media. No amount of development will save us from this if we do not address today. If we need to change constitution, or create conditions to change to via Emergency we have to move forward. We cannot build a nation prostituting our girls or daily riots making a living hell in many parts of the nation.
Please see heartbreaking video on West Bengal
UK’s law to combat ‘poisonous Islamist ideology’
Kounteya Sinha,TNN | May 13, 2015, 10.23 PM IST
- US embracing a new approach on battling ISIS in Iraq
- David Cameron gets a consignment of Indian alphonso mangoes
- UK’s Cameron to announce new plans as UK immigration rises
- British unions plan strike on June 22 in dispute with Tata
- SNP tells Cameron: “It will not be business as usual when it comes to…
The new legislation will include introducing banning orders for extremist organizations who seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, new extremism disruption orders to restrict people who seek to radicalise young people and powers to close premises where extremists seek to influence others.
It also includes strengthening the powers of the Charity Commission to root out charities who misappropriate funds towards extremism and terrorism, further immigration restrictions on extremists and a strengthened role for Ofcom to take action against channels which broadcast extremist content.
Cameron said, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance. This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”
“It means confronting head-on the poisonous Islamist extremist ideology. Whether they are violent in their means or not, we must make it impossible for the extremists to succeed.”
Home secretary Theresa May said the twisted narrative of extremism cannot be ignored or wished away.
“This government will challenge those who seek to spread hatred and intolerance by forming a new partnership of every single person and organization in this country who wants to defeat the extremists,” she added.
Austrian law rules imams must be able to speak German
New law passed in parliament also bans foreign sources of financing for Muslim organisations.
Protesters gathered outside the parliament in Vienna to protest against the new law [EPA]
Austria’s parliament has passed a bill amending historical laws on Muslim organisations which will ban foreign sources of financing and require imams to be able to speak German.
The text aims to promote what conservative Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz called an “Islam of European character” by muting the influence of foreign Muslim nations and organisations, and offering Austrian Muslims a mix of increased rights and obligations in practising their faith in the central European country.
However, the law has generated opposition from several quarters, including Austrian Muslim groups that call it “discrimination” that imposes restrictions on Islam that other religions are not saddled with.
Mehmet Gormez, a leading Muslim cleric in Turkey, has decried the bill as “a 100-year regression,” arguing that no complaints have ever been lodged about the fact that Turkey funds many imams in Austria.
Austria’s current “law on Islam” dates to 1912, after the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Austro-Hungarian empire.
The two-year-old bill predates the recent shootings in France and Denmark but is designed to “clearly combat” the growing influence of radical Islam, Kurz said.
Earlier this month, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls similarly raised the notion of banning foreign funding of Islamic organisations.
Kurz says officials in Germany and Switzerland have also expressed interest in the bill.
The passing of the law comes amid estimates indicating about 200 people from Austria – including women and minors – have gone to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
A poll published by the OGM institute on Tuesday found 58 percent of Austrians feeling “radicalisation” of the nation’s Muslims was underway.
The legislation bans Islamic cultural organisations and imams in Austria from receiving funding from abroad.
It also requires the nearly 450 Muslim organisations in the country to demonstrate a “positive approach towards society and the state” in order to continue receiving official licensing.
Imams will be obliged to be able to speak German under the law.
“We want a future in which increasing numbers of imams have grown up in Austria speaking German, and can in that way serve as positive examples for young Muslims,” Kurz explained.
The legislation also accords Muslims the right to consult Islamic clerics on the staffs of hospitals, retirement homes, prisons and in the armed forces.
Muslims in Austria will also have the right to halal meals in those institutions as well as in public schools, and will be allowed to not come to work on Islamic holidays.
Muslims make up roughly 560,000 of Austria’s total population of 8.5 million. Most Austrian Muslims are of Turkish and Bosnian origin, as well as ethnic Chechens and Iranians.
Egypt closes 27,000 places of worship
An Egyptian administrative court on Feb. 18 upheld the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ decision issued in September 2013 to close down neighborhood places of worship of less than 80 square meters (861 square feet), a move intended to protect young people from the militancy and extremism that can prevail in such places, which lack the legal standing to hold Friday prayers.
This move sets a precedent that raises many questions about the fate of mosques in many Egyptian villages, the grounds of which are usually less than 80 square meters. In reply, opponents of the decision such as the Salafist Nour Party claimed that closing down places of worship without providing a larger alternative serves to further bolster extremist ideology, considering that the larger existing mosques cannot accommodate Friday worshippers who line surrounding streets to pray. On the opposite end of the spectrum, supporters of the decision such as intellectuals and scholars say that those mosques are time bombs that threaten national security, as they fall outside the purview of the Ministry of Religious Endowments and are used to spread subversive ideologies.
At the same time, the ministry has awarded 400 preaching permits to Salafist leaders without requiring oration tests, despite the ministry’s previous and constant accusations that they spread extremism.
Ahmed Karimeh, a professor of Sharia at Al-Azhar University, told Al-Monitor that legal teachings and conventions specify that Friday, Eid and main prayers must be conducted in a mosque, and not in a neighborhood place of worship. The five daily prayers can be held at these informal sites, but not the special celebration prayers. In that sense, the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments upheld a recognized religious law.
Karimeh explained that closing those neighborhood places of worship, located in apartment buildings, commercial buildings or factories, would help mitigate the influence of extremist religious orators such as those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist groups or Shiites, who use those places of worship to take advantage of religious gatherings. As such, the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ decision, while late, was the correct one.
But Karimeh warned that the move would be to no avail if the ministry allowed people without credentials to take to pulpits. Initially, in August 2013, the ministry allowed only Al-Azhar imams access to pulpits, a decision later reversed in February when, for political considerations, the ministry allowed Salafists to preach, a disastrous decision that turned mosques into time bombs under the control of violent, Salafist-born militant factions, according to Karimeh. Allowing Salafists to preach for political considerations as an Islamic alternative to face the Islamic State ideology, at a time when hundreds of Al-Azhar scholars applied for but were denied preaching permits, runs contrary to the ministry’s repeated statements that it would bar non-Al-Azhar imams from taking the pulpit.
Karimeh criticized the ministry’s examination policy and said that it solely tested the applicant’s memorization of the Quran, without evaluating his general culture. He added that closing down neighborhood places of worship would not be enough to confront extremism. Toward that end, attention must be paid to the preachers, who should be properly schooled andfinancially compensated, so as to allow them to better educate themselves, instead of having to work as taxi drivers or vegetable vendors to provide for their families.
Karimeh also denied claims that some villages lacked proper mosques. It should be noted that neighborhood places of worship and mosques with surface areas of less than 80 square meters numbered 27,000 in all of Egypt’s provinces and villages.
Before the Ministry of Religious Endowments made its decision, the Egyptian Dar al-Fatwa issued a September 2013 edict, endorsed by a majority of religious scholars, barring the multiplicity of mosques in villages and cities, unless when absolutely necessary, as a plethora of places of worship only serve to divide believers. It explained that group worship was required for all scripted prayers, as those were celebrated for the love of God, but Friday prayers were inherently different, in that they are a form of offering to God.
An estimated 400 permits were issued to Salafists, who pledged not to use Friday prayers for political purposes. A follow-up committee was formed by the ministry in February to oversee new imams during Friday prayers, cancel their permits and initiate legal proceedings against them if they failed to abide by their agreement with the ministry, as well as permanently bar them from taking the pulpit of any mosque in the country.
The Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments previously adopted numerous measures to combat extremism and control religious rhetoric, and continuously affirmed that imams not affiliated with Al-Azhar would never be allowed to preach, going as far as to close down 27,000 neighborhood places of worship. The sudden shift in position by the ministry was followed by it issuing preaching permits to 400 Salafist leadership figures that it considered extremist, a clear reflection of the state of confusion that prevails in Egypt today.
CHINA FORCES MUSLIM OFFICIALS TO FOREGO RAMADAN FAST IN ISLAMIC XINJIANG PROVINCE
As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan arrives this week, Chinese officials are reportedly forcing everyone from Communist Party members to schoolteachers to vow they will not participate in the traditional fast during this month, or exhibit their religion in any way. The ban follows similar restrictions in western Xinjiang province last year.
Reuters reports that Chinese party officials are targeting anyone in Xinjiang of ethnic Uyghur background with a prominent position in their communities, including “party members, civil servants, students, and teachers in particular.” In addition to personal targeting, the report claims that government websites and state media in the region have issued official notices against Ramadan. In one Xinjiang county, those approached to vow not to fast were forced into “guaranteeing they have no faith, will not attend religious activities and will lead the way in not fasting over Ramadan.”
Restaurants in the large western province have also been encouraged to remain open during the day. Muslim restaurants often close during Ramadan hours, when fasting is scheduled to occur from sunrise to sunset.
China’s minority Uyghur population is mostly Muslim and lives in western Xinjiang, hundreds of miles from Beijing. The communist Chinese government, secular by definition, has issued especial restrictions on Islam, following a number of attacks deemed terrorist by the national government, which officials have claimed were motivated by Islamist extremism. The most recent attack occurred this week; Chinese police shot a man to death at a Xi’an rail station; he allegedly attempted to attack train travelers with a cement block.
Chinese officials banned Ramadan entirely last year in Xinjiang and issued an orderbanning Islam entirely in Xinjiang’s public places in December. Not only are residents banned from practicing their religion in public places, but the government established a new penalty carrying a fine as high as $5,000 for religious-themed social media and Internet posts that “undermine national unity.” Authorities have also forbidden minors from following any religion at all in the region, forcing parents to sign pledges vowing they would not expose their children to religion.
While China has also made moves to suppress the growing popularity of Christianity–which is affecting the majority ethnic Han population, not just minorities–it has more heavily targeted Islam in the wake of propaganda aimed at Chinese Muslims from groups such as the Islamic State. Most recently, China has forced shops in Xinjiang to sell alcohol and cigarettes, both forbidden by Islam, in an attempt to culturally integrate western Muslims with the rest of the country and, bluntly, to “weaken religion.” Burqas, beards, and Islamic garb generally have all been banned in public in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital. Somewhat contradictorily, however, China has also invested in helping native Muslims make their hajj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, sending up to 14,000 Chinese Muslims to Meccain 2014
Angola bans Islam and shuts down all mosques across the country because it ‘clashes with state religion of Christianity’
- Minister of culture described Islam as a ‘sect’ which is banned as counter to Angolan customs and culture
- Nation’s president said: ‘This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country’
PUBLISHED: 13:32 EST, 25 November 2013
Angola has reportedly declared Islam illegal and ordered for all of the country’s mosques to be closed down.
Minister of culture Rosa Cruz e Silva said that mosques in the largely Christian country would be closed until further notice.
She described Islam as a ‘sect’ that would be banned as counter to Angolan customs and culture.
Angola (capital, Luanda, pictured) has reportedly declared Islam illegal and ordered for all mosques to be closed
There are unconfirmed reports that mosques across the African country are being destroyed, according to the International Business Times.
President Jose Edurado dos Santos reportedly told the Osun Defence daily: ‘This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.’
Along with Islam, which is a religion associated with less than 1 per cent of the population of 19 million, 194 other ‘sects’ have been banned in the nation, where more than half the population is Christian.
Ms Cruz e Silva said: ‘The legalisation of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights [and] their mosques will be closed until further notice.’
Clashes between Christians and Muslim people are frequently reported in the local media.
Manuel Fernando, director of the Angolan Ministry of Culture’s National Institute for Religious Affairs, denied the reported measures.
‘There is no war in Angola against Islam or any other religion,’ Fernando told Agence France-Presse. ‘There is no official position that targets the destruction or closure of places of worship, whichever they are.’
Dutch MP calls for removal of all mosques in Netherlands
A Dutch right-wing political party has demanded Netherlands be cleared of mosques, amid an ongoing row over the integration of Muslim and Turkish minorities in the country.
Machiel de Graaf, a member of Dutch anti-immigration and anti-Islam Party for Freedom (PVV), asked all mosques in the country to be shut down while speaking during a debate on integration in the House of Representatives.
Emphasizing that a Netherlands without mosques would be better, the parliamentarian said “We want to clean Netherlands of Islam.”
In addition to not being integrated into Dutch society and refuse to be assimilated, Muslims living in the country threaten Dutch identity and culture by giving more birth, according to de Graaf.
De Graaf’s remarks drew harsh criticism from members of social democratic parties attending the debate.
While Labor Party (PvdA) deputy Roos Vermeij urged the right-winger to retract his words, Democrats 66 (D66) deputy Sten van Weijenberg stressed his statements were dangerous.
De Graaf’s party, which is led by right-wing politician Geert Wilders, has been a vocal critic of Muslims and immigrants living in the country, but his words mark the first time that the request for the complete closure of mosques has been expressed.
The debate also came as Turkey warned Dutch authorities about aggressive and racist policies toward the Turkish community living there.
Two weeks ago, two lawmakers of Turkish descent from the PvdA were expelled after refusing to support their party’s critical remarks about a number of Turkish organizations that were accused of being “too focused on promoting Turkish and Islamic identity.”
Pedro Lazo Torres, the leader of Havana’s Muslim community, revealed that his joint efforts with Turkey’s Religious Affairs Foundation (TDV) to open a mosque in Havana was rejected.
World Bulletin / News Desk
Cuba’s communist government has turned down a plan to open a mosque in the capital Cuba.
Pedro Lazo Torres, the leader of Havana’s Muslim community, revealed that his joint efforts with Turkey’s Religious Affairs Foundation (TDV) to open a mosque in Havana was rejected.
Torres expressed his dismay at the decision, noting that Russia was granted permission to build an Orthodox church in the country but 4,000 Muslims in Cuba still have no official place of worship.
Cuban Muslims have until now had to make do with performing congregational prayers in Torres’s living room.
In April, TDV assistant manager Mustafa Tutkun sought permission to begin work on a mosque, which was to be designed after the famous Ortakoy mosque in Istanbul.
The plan was part of a wider project by the TDV in building mosques for Muslims who live in the Caribbean.
A similar project in Haiti is due to be complete by the end of this year.
Advocates of sharia law should leave, or lose voting and welfare rights: Jacqui Lambie (Australia)
- THE AUSTRALIAN
- SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 1:07PM
Jacqui Lambie has lashed out at supporters of sharia law. Source: News Corp Australia
AUSTRALIANS who support sharia law should “pack up their bags and get out of here” or else be stripped of their vote and welfare entitlements, Jacqui Lambie says.
The Tasmanian Palmer United Party senator today said Australians who support Islamic law held “allegiance to a foreign power”, but refused repeated opportunities to define what she meant by sharia law.
“I just say anyone who supports sharia law in Australia should not have the right to vote, should not be given government handouts and should probably pack up their bags and get out of here — that’s what I’m saying,” Senator Lambie said in Hobart.
“Anybody that’s supporting or calling for sharia law in Australia should get out. It’s as simple as that.”
Senator Lambie denied cutting benefits and disenfranchising some Muslims could exacerbate their sense of isolation.
The PUP senator last month warned of a possible Chinese invasion, calling for doubled military spending to “stop our grandchildren from becoming slaves to an aggressive, anti-democratic totalitarian foreign power”.
She has refused to apologise for the remarks.
Sharia law is the Islamic legal system, derived from both scripture and the rulings of Islamic scholars.
Some religious leaders have called for Australia to embrace “legal pluralism’’ in order to allow Muslims to marry, divorce and conduct financial transactions under the principles of sharia.
In opposition, Attorney-General George Brandis defended the rights of Muslims abide by sharia law insofar as it was consistent with mainstream law.
Senator Brandis said sharia law was often compatible with mainstream law in many instances in Australia, such as in will-making, dietary and clothing practices as well as religious worship.
“There is only one test and that is: is it compliant with Australian law? So long as Australian citizens, of whatever faith, comply with Australian law, that is the only thing that matters,” Senator Brandis said in March 2012.
“The Coalition does not believe that sharia law should be accepted or recognised in Australia. It is logically possible for somebody to do something that is both consistent with Australian law and consistent with sharia principles. The question is: are they obedient to Australian law.”
POLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE forms patrols to protect Polish women from Muslim predators and rape gangs
The Polish Defence League, which describes itself as ‘showing the true face of Islam and acting against the Islamization of Europe,’ started the operation in December in several Polish cities including Warsaw, Poznan and Krakow. “We are there to monitor clubs and restaurants where Muslim men prey on native Polish women, and to intervene, when necessary.”
Examiner (h/t Subramanian) The English-language site for Radio Poland News is reporting on Jan. 15, 2014 that members of the nationalistic Polish Defence League are taking it upon themselves to escort Polish girls and women home after a night of clubbing, to ensure they don’t become victims to the epidemic of Muslim gang-rapes that’s sweeping Europe.
(As we seen countless times here and on other blogs) Gangs of Muslim men throughout Europe, especially Scandinavia and Gre
at Britain, have taken gang rape to such proportions that the rape-gang members themselves have nicknamed their sexual attacks “tournante,” French for “take your turn.”
Radio Poland notes that “patrols” in Warsaw, Poznan and Krakow will begin escorting women from “the ‘threats’ of getting involved with Muslim men. Defending Polish Women… Also cited was an incident earlier this month in a Warsaw nightclub “where the ‘activists’ – who were defending the honour of Polish women.’”
With one of the smaller Muslim communities in Europe estimated between 20,000 and 40,000 but expected to grow due to Poland’s liberal immigration laws and relaxed requirements for political asylum, certain Polish men are proactive in ensuring the “rape jihad” doesn’t reach epidemic proportions in their homeland. Due to illegal immigration, authorities are unable to get a solid number.
Radio Poland News cites a recent posting on the PDL website which warns violent Islamists that despite most European men looking the other way, Polish men won’t.
In Poland, there will be NO sharia law. NO headbanging or shouting Allahu Akbar in the streets. NO insulting our religion and our culture. NO burning cars like in France. NO burning down police stations [like in Sweden]. NO imposing your ways on us. NO calling us the sons of apes and pigs. If you do, we will be the ones waging jihad…on YOU!
Radio Poland News failed to cite the Open Doors study that the targeting of Christians for murder simply due to their beliefs has doubled world-wide in 2013: Overwhelmingly, the main engine driving persecution of Christians in 36 of the top 50 countries is Islamic extremism.
Muslims flee Northern Ireland to escape anti-Islam violence
WASHINGTON, June 3, 2014 — Some Muslims in Northern Ireland have announced plans to leave the country to avoid anti-Islamic violence. The announcement comes after an attack on a Muslim family in the city of Belfast, when crazed rioters broke into their home and assaulted them.
The home invasion came after remarks from Belfast based Pastor James McConnell, who said in a sermon “The God we worship and serve this evening is not Allah. The Muslim god-Allah-is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel deity. Allah is a demon deity.” He later added that Islam is “a doctrine spawned in hell.” Hospitalization was required for at least one of the victims.
A second attack occurred only hours later, also resulting in injuries. Victims told the Northern Ireland News Letter “The victim’s friend, who had been cleaning up the broken glass outside the house after an attack earlier that day, said those involved in the attack had called the pair ‘dirty Arabs’ and ‘Paki b******s.’”
The term “Paki” is viewed as a racial slur in Europe , particularly when directed at individuals of Pakistani descent (or of a similar appearance to those who come from Pakistan). The News Letter reports a young woman and a middle aged man have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
Pastor Paul Burns of Adullam Christian Fellowship Church in Belfast agreed, telling the Belfast Telegraph “When Pastor McConnell is talking about it as a direct teaching of Satan – it is.”
The Christian News Network reports “Following McConnell’s May 18th sermon, the Police Service of Northern Ireland investigated the preacher for allegations of hate crime. Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described the preacher’s comments as ‘hate mongering’ and said the anti-Muslim statements ‘must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.’”
McGuinness told the Daily Mirror “Coming in the wake of recent spate of disgraceful racist attacks against families in parts of Belfast and elsewhere, such inflammatory comments only serve to fuel hatred … [It is] essential that there is a full and thorough investigation of these comments and their potential to generate further racist attacks.”
The First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson, has also thrown his support behind Pastor McConnell. According to the BBC “[Robinson] went on to say that he would not trust Muslims either.”
The remarks by the Pastor and First Minister have been met with strong criticism from the Christian community. Presbyterian Reverend Dr. Rob Craig spoke out against the remarks to the BBC, stating “They are not consistent with the Gospel of Christ and the love of God. I would be deeply offended if someone were to brand either all Presbyterians or all Christians with some extreme act by someone who claimed to do it in the name of Christ. I want to treat my neighbor as I would want to be treated myself.”
“As Christians, it is our duty to spread the love of God across Ireland to those whom we meet and with whom we come into contact, irrespective of nationality, race or creed, and be gracious in doing so,” said a spokesperson for another Church to the Belfast Telegraph. “I would reject any generalized view of Muslim people,” he continued. “I do not view Islam as a monolithic religion but as taking different expressions and possessing within itself a variety of theological traditions.”
“I believe that the Church of Ireland is right to engage in constructive dialogue with other religions. To do so is not to endorse other religious beliefs but is to recognize those of other faiths who are willing to join in such an effort will do so in the right spirit,” said Canon Ian Ellis, editor of The Church of Ireland Gazette.
Facing a police investigation over instigating a hate crime, Pastor McConnell has attempted to backpedal by apologizing to the victims of the attack and offering to pay for the damages caused by the home invasion. It is unknown if the offer to pay for the attack counts as a legal admission of guilt in Northern Ireland. First Minister Robinson has also backed away from his remarks. Critics describe the apologies and changes in demeanor as “insincere.”
“I’m regretting what happened to me. The friends told me yesterday ‘we were right what we told you before, not to go [to Northern Ireland],’” said Muhammad Asif Khattak, a victim of the attack, to BBC.
BBC reports that hate crimes in the country are up 30% from last year, but successful investigations into attacks has plummeted to 20%.
THE GROWING ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT IN MYANMAR (BURMA)
By Omkar Mahajan
Myanmar has always been a predominantly Buddhist nation with a sizable Muslim minority. In fact, there have been significant tensions between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority in Myanmar. Throughout history, Muslims have been persecuted in Myanmar. However, the persecutions dramatically intensified during British rule in the 1930s and have since increased with more persecutions in recent years and in the present day. Additionally, Buddhist extremist groups have since emerged preaching hate and violence towards the minority Muslim population. Even more disturbing is that despite the democratic reforms of Myanmar and the removal of its military junta, the government still oppresses and persecutes its Muslim minority. Not surprisingly, the United Nations has already condemned Myanmar for its treatment of its Muslim minority and has noted that Myanmar is committing human rights abuses towards Muslims. Muslims in Myanmar continue to be oppressed despite intervention from the United Nations and other countries, the democratic reforms of its government and the mistreatment of Muslims has only been exacerbated with the appearance of Buddhist extremist groups and vocal leaders opposed to Islam. Efforts to quell down violence and opposition towards Muslims are clearly not functioning.
What is the history between Islam and Buddhism in Myanmar?
Islam is believed to have first arrived to Myanmar from Arab merchants in the 7thcentury CE. Islam then appeared in greater numbers as settlements from Muslim traders and travelers arrived along the coastal regions of Myanmar. It wasn’t until the 1500s that persecution and negative sentiments towards Islam emerged significantly. The leader of Myanmar at the time, King Bayinnaung, was fiercely intolerant of Islam and prohibited Muslim practices and rituals such as Halal (Yegar 10). Persecutions of Muslims in Myanmar from that point became commonplace and many Muslims fled Myanmar. However, the negative sentiment would intensify greatly in later centuries to come.
During the British rule of Myanmar in the 1930s, tensions between Muslims and Buddhists increased. There were approximately 500,000 Muslims in Myanmar at the time and there was also a steady flow of immigrant Muslims moving from British India to British ruled Myanmar (Yegar 29). Unfortunately, due to economic hardships and the rise of xenophobia, religious and race riots targeted Muslim populations. Even though the riots were originally intended to target Indians, the British and other foreigners, the riots actually harmed many Burmese Muslims because numerous people viewed all Muslim residents there as foreigners. The Burma for Burmese Only Campaign was soon established to protest the Muslim presence in Myanmar (Yegar 37). These protests led to the destruction of 113 mosques (Yegar 37).
What did the British do about these events?
The British created a committee to investigate the real causes of these events (Yegar 38). Although the committee determined that economic hardships and sociopolitical conditions caused Burmese hardship, their efforts were short lived. They advocated that Muslims be represented on the legislative council, have the right to practice and follow their own religion and be granted full citizenship (Yegar 38). Furthermore, the Burmese Muslim Congress was founded to oversee these efforts and look after the welfare of Muslim residents in Myanmar. Unfortunately, the government under U Nu, the first Prime Minister of Myanmar shortly after Burmese independence, ignored these measures and Muslims were later oppressed.
Nu ordered the disbandment of the Burmese Muslim Congress (Yegar 75). Moreover, he later adopted Buddhism as the official religion of Myanmar angering many Muslims in Myanmar. However, a coup d’état in 1962 removed U Nu from power and replaced the government with a military junta under General Ne Win. This military government would remain in power until the 21st century.
General Win enacted numerous alterations to the government structure of Myanmar and this not only aggravated the situation and well being of its constituents, but it also exacerbated the status of Muslims in Myanmar. For instance, Muslims were banned from serving in the army. The business, media and other forms of communication were restricted and placed under the control of the military junta. The country soon became a one party system and protests against the military regime of Myanmar were violently crushed. The government also conducted a number of human rights abuses including the usage of child soldiers, systemic human trafficking and sexual slavery and forced labor. In fact, in June 2012, “Children [were] being sold as conscripts into the Burmese military for as little as $40 and a bag of rice or a can of petrol.” Forced labor was also widespread throughout Myanmar. However, the human rights abuses committed towards Muslims in Myanmar were much worse.
What was the Military Junta’s treatment of its Muslim minority?
The Military Junta committed genocide and ethnic cleansing towards its Muslim minority and violated many human rights laws towards its Muslim populations. The Rohingya people, an ethnic group that resides in Myanmar of whom the majority of Muslims in Myanmar belong to, have been persecuted ever since. First, they were denied basic citizenship rights and were treated and seen as foreigners despite residing in Myanmar for centuries. Second, the government forcibly removed Rohingya Muslims from their homeland and replaced them with Buddhist residents. Over 800,000 Rohingya Muslims have been displaced from their homeland. Additional human rights abuses toward the Rohingya Muslims include but are not limited to prohibition of owning land, banned from having more than two children, and unable to travel without permission. However, in 2011 there was a democratic transition and the government was radically changed from an authoritarian regime to a unitary presidential republic. Shockingly, the status of Muslims did not improve under the democratic transition and human rights abuses continued to occur.
What is the current status of Muslims under the democratic government of Myanmar?
Despite the democratic transitions in Myanmar, the status of Muslims has not changed significantly. Muslims continue to be denied citizenship, are still unable to travel without permission, are banned from owning land, and having more than two children. What has changed is that the violence between Buddhists and the police towards Muslims has increased tremendously. Over 140,000 Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State have been forced to evacuate and leave Myanmar as a result of the ongoing violence. Many have escaped to Thailand, Malaysia or even Australia for refuge. An additional 100,000 Muslims have left Myanmar out of fear of persecution. The 2012 Rakhine State riots, located in the eastern state of Rakhine, enlarged the amount of violence occurring between Buddhists and Muslims. Entire villages were destroyed and over 80,000 Rohingya Muslims were displaced just from those riots alone. A civil war between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists has also been taking place in the Kachin State, located in the northern part of Myanmar. As a result of this, the government intervened declaring it a state emergency and imposing curfews in those regions and sent military forces to handle the matter.
Furthermore, in September 2012, President Thein Sein promoted a controversial plan that, in his own words, would “send [Muslims] away if any third world country would accept them”. Sadly, there has been a growing tendency from the military to target Rohingya Muslims through arrests and violence. Nonetheless, the international community did not tolerate such actions and did intervene as a result.
In what ways did the international community intervene in Myanmar?
First, the United States and the European Union both placed strict economic sanctions and other trade barriers in place towards Myanmar. Unfortunately, this had the adverse effect of harming civilians in Myanmar instead of the general government. Since the democratic transitions, the sanctions have been lessened.Many international organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations have condemned the human rights abuses that have occurred in Myanmar. Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s Special Assistant to the President on Human Rights, documented that “serious human rights abuses against civilians in several regions continue, including against women and children” and despite the United Nations General Assembly urging the Burmese government to respect human rights, violations and mistreatment of Muslims continue to occur. Unfortunately, active international involvement in Myanmar to salvage the situation and status of Muslims has been minimal and ineffective.
Why is oppression and violence occurring to Muslims from the general populace and the government in the first place?
First, there have been a number of Buddhist monks who have actively advocated the persecution and killing of Muslims. U Nyarna, a Buddhist monk and leader of a local monastery, has called for the expulsion and killing of Muslims. His followers plan on sending Muslims in Myanmar into camps where they will later be deported to other countries willing to take them. Nyarna justifies his actions by asserting that “although killing is wrong, people cannot be saints in times where they feel threatened.” But, Nyarna is not the most vocal leader or most influential opponent towards Islam amongst the Buddhist community in Myanmar. In fact, Nyarna pales in comparison to Ashin Wirathu, an enigmatic leader who appears to be more of a dogmatic extremist than a zealous monk devoted to his religion.
Wirathu, the leader of the 969 movement in Myanmar, is a Buddhist monk who is one of the most extreme opponents towards Islam in Myanmar. Despite claiming to be a simple preacher who isn’t hateful, his speeches are often filled with rhetoric blaming Muslims and encouraging violence towards them. He led a rally of monks to promote and support President Sein’s plan to expel Muslims from the country. He also called for the boycott of Muslim owned stores and restrictions on interreligious marriages between Buddhists and Muslims. The 969 movement, which he created, calls for the permanent removal of Islam in Myanmar. Access to the internet and social media has allowed Wirathu to reach more followers. He has been able to post his sermons inciting hate and violence on Youtube. His commanding presence and powerful oratorical skills have allowed him to incite fear in Buddhist people that Islam in Myanmar poses a threat and needs to be dealt with. He argues that Buddhism is under attack from Islam and the nationalistic sentiments he echoes resonates with many Buddhist citizens of Myanmar who feel strongly about their religion. Even more disturbing is the fact that the President of Myanmar has defended Wirathu. Extremist leaders like Wirathu are the reason why violence against Muslims in Myanmar continues to occur. International intervention is needed to quell down the violence occurring and salvage the plight of the Muslims in Myanmar. After all, despite the democratic transitions in Myanmar and the minimal involvement from the international community, oppression towards Muslims is occurring at a growing scale and it is clear that greater intervention and pressure will have to occur.
Yegar, Moshe. The Muslims of Burma: A Study of a Minority Group, by Moshe Yegar. Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1972. Print.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: RICK MORTON
CZECH REPUBLIC is leading the anti-Islamization movement in Eastern Europe
On the heels of several PEGIDA-like anti-Islamization protests, around a thousand people arrived in Brno to protest against Islam in the Czech Republic.
“We decided to organize today’s event on Valentine’s Day because this holiday is not permitted in many Muslim countries. The organizers aim to prevent the construction of mosques and demand that Muslims already migrated to the Czech Republic not be allowed to follow their own laws and customs.
Event organizer for Valentine jug Dudkiewič Martin explained that in the past, Czechs, Germans and Jews lived together in Brno without any problems, but that isn’t the case with Muslims, who seem bent on creating something evil in this city.