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Transcript of Burma
How can Myanmar achieve peace?
To be able to achieve peace in Myanmar the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi should raise more awareness about religious violence and call for communities to have talks. The problem is that she is doing nothing. If she supports the Muslims, the Buddhist majority won't vote for her in the 2015 election and vice-versa. However, Wirathu has tried to destroy Suu Kyi's reputation by claiming that she has been in a Muslim car and thus she is under the Muslim influence.
How do people of different religions live together in Myanmar?
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How do Muslims live in fear?
For centuries the Muslims have lived in peace with the Burmese Buddhists. Ever since May 2013 the Muslims live in constant fear of being attacked. 200 Muslims have been killed and many thousands have fled for their lives. Over 60 mosques have been burnt so far and numerous Muslim houses and shops have been destroyed. Little help has been given to them by the police who have just stood by in some riots. Some Muslims have now been moved to refugee camps.
Why do Buddhists want to attack Muslims?
According to the anti-Muslim monk Shin Wirathu, the Buddhists merely want to protect their culture and society from the Muslim "master plan" of making Myanmar an Islamic State. Wirathu claims that Muslims are invading Myanmar and that if nothing is done, the Muslim minority will take over, marry all the Buddhist women and become richer. He also says that all of the current violence is caused by the Muslims and that the Buddhists were only trying to defend themselves.
Fact file: Myanmar
Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, Animist 1%, other 2%
Type of Government:
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand
676,578 sq km
55,167,330 (July 2013 estimate)
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GDP per capita:
$1,400 (2012 estimate)
Muslims are only well behaved when they are weak, when they are strong, they are like a wolf or a jackle; in large packs they hunt down other animals.
Wirathu: "The Face of Buddhist Terror" / "Son of Lord Buddha"
Muslims keep watch over the Joon Mosque, the largest in Mandalay, day and night
Though both Buddhists and Muslims can be blamed, the person who is behind this the most is the monk Wirathu. He started the 969 defensive movement which aims to stop Buddhists from having any contact with Muslims.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Wirathu claims that no Buddhist monk has been responsible for violence and that all the mobs are just actions of self defense which got out of hand. Monks claim that the cause of one riot was that a Muslim gold shop owner beat his Buddhist customer. In one incident (reported by Buddhists) a monk was attacked by a Muslim while riding on a motorcycle.
The Muslim side of the argument is the one most supported internationally. One video (probably filmed by the police) shows a Buddhist monk beating a Muslim man with a long stick. In another video, police were standing by watching a mob (with Buddhist monks in it) ransacking a Muslim gold shop. The Times magazine has called Wirathu "The Face of Buddhist Terror"
Our conclusion to our topic question is that though there are many obstacles to peace, the Burmese will eventually find a solution to the violence. Already there have been no reported acts of violence for several months. Perhaps in the foreseeable future Aung San Suu Kyi will help the Buddhists and Muslims to reach a agreement.