This is by far the most heartwarming news coming out from Myanmar in a long time. Following yesterday’s tragic events when fresh clashes between Muslims and Buddhists erupted in the Myanmar’s northern city of Lashio, the army finally decided to intervene and almost 1,000 Muslims were taken to a Buddhist Monastery in the city.
There the terrified displaced minority was provided food, water and shelter by Buddhist monks. This is the best example of compassion and humanity as lately there were only reports of clashes and bloodshed between the two communities. The acceptance shown by the Buddhists of Lashio is proof of the fact that no religion and its followers must be tagged with words like terrorism and violence. If there are Buddhists who are involved in hate-mongering and genocide of Muslims in Myanmar then there are also these monks, who despite the situation in their country, went against the odds and offered aid and support to the displaced people.
Buddhist mobs armed with sticks and machetes burned Muslim homes and mosques. Almost a thousand people were displaced from their homes. When fears of further violence began to surface, the Muslims were taken to safer abodes with the help of the army. The violence in Lashio was reportedly initiated after rumors spread about a Muslim man setting a Buddhist woman on fire. Though the incident was not confirmed by any authorities, riots nevertheless erupted which resulted in further chaos and hostility.
Things started getting uglier last year in the country when violent riots broke out in Rakhine State between Arakanese Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims which caused bloodshed and displaced 125,000 people.
In the picture above, a Muslim religious leader speaks to Muslims at the monastery in Lashio Township. People who have been forced to leave their homes and livelihood are in a state of shock. Not only have they been deprived of basic necessities, they have also been exposed to death and destruction in their own country.
This is the second most serious incident of sectarian violence in Myanmar. Earlier in April, Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental human rights organization released satellite images of Meiktila, a city in central Myanmar. More than eight hundred houses have been burnt down during the ongoing unrest between Buddhists and the Muslim minority.
Religious Affairs Minister San Sint also delivered a speech to the displaced families in the monastery. The people in the monastery were asked to remain calm and were assured that things would get better for them once the security situation of the city was restored. But then again, with the constantly deteriorating circumstances of the country, can the Muslims of Myanmar rely on the claims?