Myanmar Buddhist hardliners force subdued festivities for Muslims

Myanmar Buddhist hardliners force subdued festivities for Muslims

Residents stand in a queue to receive meat from Muslim people during the Eid al-Adha festival in Yangon on Sept. 25. Muslims in some of Myanmar’s smaller townships say pressure from Buddhist hardliners has forced low-key celebrations this year. (Photo by Phyo Hein Kyaw/AFP)
By John Zaw
September 28, 2015
In smaller townships, Eid al-Adha celebrations are understated
Muslims in Myanmar have been forced to keep celebrations of one of Islam’s major feast days, Eid al-Adha, low-key, fearing reprisals from a Buddhist hardline group pressuring local governments to ban cattle slaughters that are central to the festivities.
Local authorities appear to be targeting Muslims celebrating Eid al-Adha in smaller townships such as Yamethin and Tharzi in Mandalay Division, according to Muslim community members who spoke with ucanews.com.
“We celebrate our feast day quietly … and remind young people not to go around the town wearing nice dresses,” said Aung Thein, a Muslim leader in Meikhtila in central Myanmar. “And we also have to bring meat to the town quietly after carrying out the cow’s slaughter in the outskirts.”
He said local members of the influential Buddhist nationalist group, Ma Ba Tha, have gone around town checking on whether cattle slaughters have taken place.
Meikhtila is no stranger to religious conflict. Tensions between Buddhists and Muslims flared into deadly violence in 2013, resulting in the deaths of 40 people, with dozens more injured.
Across the Buddhist-majority country, long-standing anti-Muslim sentiment has also triggered conflict, particularly in western Rakhine state, when violence in 2012 left more than 200 people dead and forced tens of thousands — mostly Rohingya Muslims — to flee their homes. An estimated 140,000 people in the state still live in temporary camps for displaced people.
Ma Ba Tha, or the Committee for the Protection of Race and Religion, has ratcheted up anti-Muslim rhetoric in recent months. This has raised fears that religion will be used as a political tool as the country gears up for historic elections Nov. 8 — another reason why Muslims are keen to avoid the spotlight now.
Eid al-Adha is an important celebration in Islam. The festival commemorates the story of the Prophet Abraham, also revered by Christians and Jews, who was willing to sacrifice his only son at God’s command.
Traditionally, Muslims in Mandalay held public celebrations for Eid al-Adha at local mosques, where they distributed meat to needy people, according to Aung Zaw Win, a local Muslim resident.
“Now we have to do it in our homes instead,” he said.

– See more at: http://www.rohingyablogger.com/2015/09/myanmar-buddhist-hardliners-force.html#sthash.uujYArXi.dpuf

Advertisements
By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s