Police Detain Five in Relation to Muslim Prayer Hall Arson

By Lawi Weng 5 July 2016

RANGOON — Police have detained five people in relation to the burning of a Muslim prayer hall in Kachin State last week.

“Four men and one woman have been arrested,” a police officer from the Hpakant police station told the Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

The arrest was made just days after a Muslim prayer hall in Lone Khin village of Hpakant Township, Kachin State was burned down by a Buddhist nationalist mob on Friday afternoon.

The arson comes on the heels of anti-Muslim rioting in Pegu Division’s Thuye Thamain village on June 23, which resulted in the destruction of a mosque, a Muslim cemetery, and a house and storeroom belonging to a Muslim family.

Authorities chose not to take action against any of the perpetrators in the Pegu Division attacks.

At the end of her 12-day trip to Burma last Friday, Yanghee Lee, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma, urged the country’s government—led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi—to investigate and crack down on religious violence.

She said she was concerned by reports that the government would not investigate the attack on the mosque in Pegu Division.

“This is precisely the wrong signal to send. The government must demonstrate that instigating and committing violence against ethnic or religious minorities has no place in Myanmar,” Lee said.

Religious tensions between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in Burma in 2012, and ongoing violence has continued to date.