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Monks protest in Myanmar against OIC

YANGON -- Several thousand monks took to the streets of Myanmar's second-largest city Friday to protest against a world Islamic body's efforts to help Muslim Rohingya in strife-hit Rakhine state, organizers said.

Holding banners reading “No OIC in Myanmar,” the monks gathered in Mandalay to urge the government to block a plan by the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to open an office in the country.

“We cannot accept the OIC here. We will continue our protest until they give up,” one of the demonstration leaders, Thaw Bi Ta, told AFP by telephone.

“The OIC is not working for human rights but for Muslim rights. We have our suspicions about them. They never reject Muslim extremists,” he said.

“We want peace between all ethnicities and religions. We have no problem with Muslims in the country.”

Sectarian tensions are running high following Buddhist-Rohingya clashes in June in western Rakhine which left dozens of people dead and forced tens of thousands more to seek refuge in temporary shelters.

The country formerly known as Burma has seen a series of protests against the OIC and Myanmar's 800,000 stateless Rohingya, who are described by the U.N. as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Friday's anti-Muslim protest was the second in recent weeks in Mandalay involving monks, who were at the vanguard of a 2007 pro-democracy uprising that was brutally crushed by the former junta.

The monks said they planned to stage a countrywide protest on Sunday if the government did not respond to their demand.

Members of the OIC, the top world Muslim body, toured Rakhine last month after accusations from rights groups that security forces opened fire on Rohingya during the sectarian unrest, prompting concern across the Islamic world.

Speaking a dialect similar to one in neighboring Bangladesh, Myanmar's Rohingya are seen by the government and many Burmese as illegal immigrants.

The tensions in Rakhine have spread to neighboring Bangladesh, where police said last week they had arrested nearly 300 people in connection with a wave of violence targeting Buddhist homes and temples.

1 Comment
October 13, 2012    aungaungsittwe@
Monks are the only persons who really have the trust of majority in Myanmar, when they speak, people listen. Myanmar monks, Sayadaw U Wisara and U Uttama revolted against British colonization of Myanmar. Myanmar monks were at the forefront of mass protest in 1988 and held saffron revolution in 2007 which ended when the army cracked down violently by forces.

The influence of Hponegyi or monks on the majority’s lives is indeed considerable; according to Buddhism, Buddhists should worship monks, they are masters and teachers. Theravada Buddhism of Myanmar is based on Tripitika, authoritative Buddha’s doctrine, there are Vinayapitaka, Suttapitaka, and Abhidhammapitaka in which Suttapitaka is ethical doctrine. A monk who practices that ethical doctrine is considered the most eminently qualified to dispense moral guidance to others and to provide moral direction for the whole of humanity. Followers of that doctrine should be spontaneously capable of conducting right things and just things.

It is essential for every monk to follow and practice Eight Fold Path; a monk’s view, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mind and concentration should be on the right path or correct way called samma.

A monk’s attitude of friendship has to be boundless and all encompassing. It should not be limited by the common bounds of attachment familiar in narrowly defined human relationships such as family, race, and religion, it should be for everyone and equal. Metta is its ideal form of universal love.

People admire monks because they think that they are doing right things, people trust them and worship them. Though Myanmar is secular country, monks involve in political movements, monks are supporters of democracy movement. Until May 2012, monks’ contributions for the democratic processes of Myanmar, were remarkable but from May 2012, monks of Myanmar changed their minds, supporting regime’s law, conducting polices’ duties, and creating hatred among people instead of Metta. Where are these monks really going, Buddhism to racism? Why don’t they reconsider their conducts, are their actions really right?


It is unquestionable for the monks’ political involvement in a secular country if they are optimistic and conduct for the benefit humanity but now, they are trying to stop humanitarian help for the internally displaced Rohingya Refugee, they are trying to spread racism instead of Buddhism, in the name protecting Buddhism, they are eradicating essence of Buddhism. Some politicians believe that thousands of monks were trained by military regime.
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