Mobs Attack Muslim Areas Near Burma’s Former Capital

Burmese security forces guard displaced Muslims in the central Burma city of Meikhtila in March. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Mosques and some Muslim-owned properties were destroyed on Tuesday in a town near Rangoon in the latest round of communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims.

Kyaw Khin, the chief secretary of the All Burma Muslim Federation, confirmed that two mosques and a number of houses and business in Okkan, a small town about 100 kilometers northwest of Rangoon, were attacked.

“There’s no casualties so far, but people are fleeing their homes for fear of coming under attack,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The violence was sparked by an accident around 10 am when a Muslim woman on a bicycle knocked down a novice Buddhist monk in a market area, spilling the monk’s food, according to witnesses.

“The young monk was crying, and the woman didn’t apologize for what she did,” said Aung Zaw Oo, a merchant who runs a rice shop in the market.

Both the woman and the novice monk were taken to a local police station to settle the dispute, he continued, and word of the accident spread, causing a huge crowd to gather in front of the police station.

“Shortly after noon, an angry mob started to go wild,” said the merchant. “Two mosques were partially destroyed. Muslim-owned poultry farms and cattle farms were torched,” he added.

Aung Zaw Oo said when the mob turned violent, the local police tried to control the situation, but they were outnumbered.

“When they [the police] tried to prevent an attack on a building, another mob rampaged in other areas,” he explained.

But with the arrival of more riot police from Rangoon, the situation in Okkan seemed to calm down by mid-afternoon.

“Now we have nearly 100 police with riot gear. They are patrolling the town,” said the rice merchant.

Kyaw Khin said he believes that the incident was instigated on purpose to cause instability between Buddhist and Muslim communities.

“Every time there has been unrest between the two communities it was sparked by an accident or something like that. It happened throughout the country so that I don’t know how to explain it,” he said.

The violence comes just two days after the government released details of its report into violence against Muslim Rohingya last year in Arakan State, which advocated a stronger security presence, segregation and family planning education to solve the tension. In March, at least 43 Muslims were killed and more than 12,000 displaced in anti-Muslim violence in central Burma.


17 Responses to Mobs Attack Muslim Areas Near Burma’s Former Capital

  1. Interfaith organizations should promote for more understanding.
    Anti democrats will be happy for such incidents.

  2. This recent incident was started by a Muslim again just like the one in Meilktila!

    Buddhist monks are deeply revered just like The Buddha and The Dhamma by Buddhists. We call it The Three Gems and Buddhists will not tolerate any insult to these three gems and rightly so.

    Muslims, instead of being up in arms about this, they should be respectful of other religions especially Buddhism if they want to live peacefully with the Buddhist neighbors.

    The news media should not be biased about reporting this kind of incident either.

    Enough is enough.

    • If your religion and your faith condone evil acts, your faith is not connected to divine. The Burmese are barking like mad dogs. They are ugly and their religion is just a fake one.

    • How can you prove that the Meikhtila riot is started by Muslims? Do you assume as such just because the government hastily sentenced these Muslims to long prison terms without in-depth investigation?

    • Regardless of faked or true accident, it’s a shame for Buddhist mobs to attack, burn and loot other’s property contrary to Buddha’s teachings – sinners will not escape from their karma. Too bad, civil court doesn’t exist to solve this kind of event or not functioning at all.

  3. Burmese people are too poor to displace their anger to anybody who is not similar or identical to them in term of better wealth and better living ones. It is so-called Jealousy. If there is more unrest , than shwe, nargic 2008 is immediate effective to rule the Burmese again. Naive Buddhist monks or Buddhist thugs take opportunity to promote their faked Buddhism around the country from the favor of than shwe, like U nu did in the past. Than shwe and thein sein will not control this situation immediately for more unrest and more favor of Buddhist thugs. This is the tricky way of bama military thugs’ policy for naive Burmese.

  4. A Muslim woman whose bicycle hit a young monk was rude enough because she failed to apologize. Maybe, she did not notice she hit some one. Whatever! It was just a small incident. Many Muslims in the area didn’t even know what happened in their neighborhood. Accident happens everywhere. That incident was not unforgivable whether a Muslim woman apologize or not. I wish she apologized. Even though she failed to apologize, many Muslims had nothing to do with that incident. So, punishing innocent Muslims for the things they did not even know about is evil. So, the Buddhist Burmese are so mean and evil indeed.

  5. There seems to be intentional creation of religious riots instigated by some Buddhist monks nation wide. The Muslims in Burma should be extra careful when dealing with or encountering the Buddhist clergies.

  6. How can someone justify to killing Muslims and burning Muslims property for just small incident. Those people are Govt. thugs. Trying to destabilize Burma and to take power from fake civilian Govt

  7. Maung Kyaw Nu, a former political prisoner of conscience.

    This’s lawlessness. If the Muslim woman was wrong ,she should be responsible .Police officer said it was an accident and already settled .
    Why 300 Muslims houses ,two Mosques and some shops were burned . Two Muslims died and a dozen got seriously injured .
    It was fully planned genocide .It was conducted by Army Monks and their collaborators . These collaborators have been active to breed communal Rights since Bo Ne Win came in to power in 1962. These army Monks and collaborators are not true Buddhist.
    We are very much confused why racist Army Monk Wirathu and his followers are not yet arrested . We are also surprised why the master minder of Arakan genocide Dr Aye Maung and all his racist RNDP followers are not yet book for the trail .

    The Thien Sein and his ally must take full responsibility for genocide.I’m clearly saying that this is not the war between Buddhist and Islam .This’s Thien Sein government one sided war against the Rohingyas,Muslim and some Ethnics.

    The majority respectable Buddhist Monks and peaceful loving Burmese people must resist the Army Regime collaborator Monks and ifs racist followers . We can’t let these racist group go further. Please stand against them .

  8. Remember that about 200 buddhist bengladeshi fled from bangaldesh which is one of the OIC member country.They are minority in terms of religion wise or ethnic group wise.This is how they slaughtered minorities and non-muslims.But Myanmar government accepted them back since they were being treated badly there and danger for their well-beings.But my question to bangaldesh is that why they do not accept their citizen,illegal immigrants to myanmar in rakhine?Bangaldesh claimed that they did not even know that these people are there,Same look,same religion but not welcome..Yea ..Population explosion in bangaldesh are really serious.Natural disasters too that’s why US has to accept 6000 bangaldesh immigrants every year until 2012.Now begali population reached US threadhold limit like chinese and indian limits reached.That’s why they hd to make u stories and manufacture a brand new name so called ‘rohingyas’ themself to get muslim world and whole world’s kindness with hollywood style teary eyes in the front and kerosine containers and knives at the back.Wake up asia! those things already happened in jordan,egypts and some countries in the middle east.Other religions are made minorioties and forced to fleed from their own country.That is how sneaky the are .Aljazeera is own by them hired westerner to present to their favors.Lobbying to other organizations like UN,UNHCR and all NGOs, etc.. are not a neutral body anymore.West need oil so they can not be a neutral anymore too.This is a kind of muslim brotherhood activities social networking.Yea burmese are naive not knoiwng their well organized manufactured Bengalis drama.

    • advocate shaikh niazul razy

      i shaikh niazul razy from bangladesh. u dont know histroy, first learn history then deliver comments. rohingya is not bangalee. their homeland is arakan at present so called rakhaine state. bangladesh is not poor country like u. myanmar is poorer than bangladesh. just see the different source of per capital income rate, GDP. etc. so bangalis are not be migrated to your poor country for earning their livings. if u dont like rohingya then leave their state arakan indipendent. go back from arakan. i can challenge, there is no communal riot in bangladesh. in response to communal suppression in myanmar, a little incident has been occurred at ramu in chittagong. some buddist temple and house have been set on fire by muslim mob. but no killing was committed. the offender of that said incident has been arrested and they must be punished. but ur country , the criminal buudist monk have not been yet arrested. dont cross ur limit and stop genocide otherwise u must hear bad news from bangladesh as it is we heard from ur country.

      • The don’t know their own history, do they know How many Rakhine muslim Ruler Ruled their country before they come their? I ask first read the history , then say the truth. the Rohingya peope are ancient .they have their own history and cuture .

  9. As hatred and distrust show this deep, Muslims have to change their way of living. I myself try to avoid to buy things from Muslim owned shops for a long time. But I have been doing this with my own decision in secrecy without hurting the Muslim people and their feelings. Wirathu has the right to convince the Burmese public to boycott Muslim business as Gandhi did to The British products before Indian independence. But if Wirathu’s concept and idea are taken into violent way, Wirathu has responsibility to tell the Burmese public to do it in non-violent way if he loves peaceful way of protesting. Muslims are the ones who can change their own image to live peacefully in the land of Burmese dominated Union of Burma.

  10. shaikh niazul razy (not crazy, I suppose), your ” a little incident has been occurred at ramu” destroyed thousands of years of Buddhist history in Bangladesh, it even burnt down the wellcarved Burmese teak monastery … which has been declared as a site of heritage by UNICEF, and which was 600 years old when burnt down .. and your government has desecrated more by building a construction which has no connection with the Buddhist architecture … what would you do if the Kaba sharif was made into a Hindu temple? Wage jihad? I just wonder. Then, raihan you preached about Rakhine muslim ruler … taking up of Persian names does not reveal that the person is a Muslim. There are millions of Burmese Muslims who are named as Maung Tin, Kyau Nu, Ma Thida Htay … and other Burmese names. Does it mean they are Buddhists? Come to Rakhine to see all the Buddhist historical sites … can you show me a history that tells that a muslim ruler has built a nonmuslim edifice, including those of Mrauk-U? Don’t get blind with the doctored history of the rohingya charlatans and their paid slave mouthpieces. Take courage to visit Burma and visit the old Rakhine sites – they are of course all Buddhist to the core.

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