Muslim Quarter Attacked in Rangoon

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Muslims walk towards a mosque for their evening prayers in downtown Rangoon, Feb. 16, 2012.
Muslims walk towards a mosque for their evening prayers in downtown Rangoon, Feb. 16, 2012.

Police have detained several people after an angry Buddhist mob attacked a Muslim school and shops in a suburb outside Rangoon this week, according to sources and reports.  

The attacks on Tuesday and Wednesday were triggered by reports that the Muslim school in Manpye quarter in Thaketa township was being extended to a prayer house despite objections from the predominantly Buddhist residents.

Police moved in and detained several attackers, sources told RFA's Burmese Service. The Rangoon region's chief minister, Myint Swe, visited the affected area on Wednesday to look into the issue, the sources said.

The mob comprising about 300 people went on a rampage attacking the school and several shops and hurling bricks and abuse on the Muslim community, sparking fears among some families who have fled the area, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a nonprofit Burmese media group.

A spokesperson for the Burmese Islamic Religious Affairs Council told DVB that the Muslim school had recently sought approval to renovate its roof, but because the structure had exceeded its permitted height by 5 feet (1.5 meters), the municipal authority subsequently withdrew its authorization.

Rumors then quickly circulated that the school was being built into a mosque, the report said.

The spokesman said both residents and "outsiders" were likely involved in the religious violence, which is rare in the former Burmese capital.

Burma came under international attention last year after bloody violence between ethnic Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas in western Rakhine state led to nearly 200 deaths and forced thousands of Rohingyas out of their homes.

Most of them remain homeless, living in makeshift camps, many of which lack access to adequate health care, clean water, and basic provisions, according to relief officials.

The Rohingya have long been viewed by Burmese authorities and by other Burmese as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, though many have lived in Burma for generations.

Reformist Burmese President Thein Sein, ahead of a historic visit to the country by U.S. President Barack Obama last year, had assured the international community that his government would consider resolving contentious rights issues facing the Rohingya, including the possibility of providing them citizenship.

Reported by RFA's Burmese Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.

Comments (5)


from yangon

Can accept to build myanmar pagoda in the muslim land.

Mar 18, 2013 02:27 AM


I would want to mention in practical way; not to make complaint on free religious activities. Buddhist can stay safe in Muslim Country whereas Muslim in Myanmar live with fear.Authority person are very slow to take an action not to spread instigation or agitation.

Feb 28, 2013 04:42 AM


from san francisco

muslins are lucky living in burma can go to and from their prayer house, buddists can do that in a muslin counrty , so stop complaint about it..

Feb 27, 2013 02:51 PM

Mg Win Ko

from Mandalay

Bangali Muslims are very bad. They want to takeover our land(Myanmar).

Feb 23, 2013 09:26 AM

Anonymous Reader

Buddhists are largely non-violent, and when they take actions against a matter, it is quite clear that something is wrong.

Feb 22, 2013 07:52 AM


from san francisco

i totally aggree with you like i say before muslins should be grateful to have the freedom to practice their believes in burma ,can a buddist do that in a muslin country...????

Feb 27, 2013 02:54 PM

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