Burmese Buddhist Monks and Discrimination Against Rohingya Muslims


As reported in the Democratic Voice of Burma various Buddhist groups lead by U Wirathu have threatened to boycott the upcoming census. The Buddhist groups, lead by monks, have taken issue with the term ‘Rohingya’ being used to signify ethnic affiliation. They want the term ‘Bengali’ to be used for the ethnic group.

As Shwe Aung in the Democratic Voice of Burma explains:

‘The forthcoming census has caused controversy in many of Burma’s ethnic states and regions, especially the restive western state of Arakan, where an estimated 800,000 Rohingya Muslims are denied citizenship and referred to as illegal Bengali immigrants, though many claim to have lived in Burma for several generations and in some areas constitute a majority of the population.’

On 16 March U Wirathu joined thousands of others in a protest against the use of the term ‘Rohingya’ being used in the state capital Sittwe, as pictured above.

In further developments it has been reported that monks in Rakhine State are urging Rakhine families to fly the so-called ‘sasana flags’ (Buddhist flags) in their homes to show their commitment to the defense of their race and religion.

I have previously described the notion of discrimination in Buddhism.


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