Buddhist monks propose ban on hijabs for Muslim schoolgirls in Burma

Published: June 22, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

A powerful group of Buddhist monks have proposed Hijab bans on Muslim schoolgirls in Burma.

The country has a long history of persecution of Muslims, and while tensions between Muslims and Buddhists have been rife for decades, they have aggravated further recently.

The head scarf ban proposition is the latest indication of the growing tensions.

Ma Ba Tha, the organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion headed by a panel of monks, said that head scarves were “not in line with school discipline”. The group asked its members to lobby the government to increase restriction on the country’s already-harassed Muslims.

“We will demand seriously for the government to ban Muslim students wearing the burqa in government schools and to ban the killing of innocent animals on their Eid holiday,” it said, referring to Muslim cultural practices that Buddhist nationalists believe go against the culture of Buddhist-majority Burma.

The group with the intention of explaining their move said that they were showing people the right track and trying to ensure that in the upcoming elections people will vote for the right party so their race and religion does not disappear.

Ma Ba Tha monk U Pamaukkha said: “When they [Muslims] live in Myanmar, they need to obey the law and regulations of the country. We are not targeting or attacking their religion.”

Read:Appeal to myanamar: Stop persecution of Rohingyas, says Malala

The group was formed in 2013 when inter-communal mistrust and violence was increasing the country.

Inter-communal violence in Burma’s Rakhine State has displaced 140,000 people identified as Rohingya, who have fled to the sea in to escape the tyrannical conditions, which gave birth to a regional human smuggling crisis.

Ma Ba Tha has proven quite successful in influencing the government. President  Thein Sein’s administration drafted laws restricting religious conversion, inter-faith marriage, polygamy and restricting population growth.

David Mathieson, a senior researcher on Burma for Human Rights Watch, said: “The Ma Ba Tha have become an unaccountable and arrogant political force based on extremist religious and social views, like a fifth column using Buddhism to serve shady political and economic interests.”

This article originally appeared on The Guardian

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Burmese Python
    Jun 22, 2015 - 6:09PM

    If the spread of radicalism has to be contained certain measures have to be employed.Recommend

  • Hmm
    Jun 22, 2015 - 6:19PM

    Follow Buhhist rules and Buddhism , else get out of country .Recommend

  • Burmese monk
    Jun 22, 2015 - 6:32PM

    @Burmese Python:
    Like persecution of Hindus Recommend

  • Raghu
    Jun 22, 2015 - 7:23PM

    Good that President has taken many progressive steps like banning polygamy,religious conversions, interfaith marriages with a hidden agenda of conversion and population growth. All laudable and democratic. However more rights for minorities within these limits would do good.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jun 22, 2015 - 9:29PM

    Myanmar has strong support of China and Buddhists have strong support throughout the world. So, no one will say anything against the Buddhists of Myanmar. Also, this whole problem was started because of muslims in Myanmar trying to convert some Buddhists to muslims there. Recommend

  • Mostafa
    Jun 22, 2015 - 10:28PM

    They are killing rohingyas and this genocide should stop live and let them live in peace the regime should effectively deal with peoples issues and switch to protecting human rights dont kill humans and humanity dont treat rohingyas like animals Recommend

  • Milind
    Jun 23, 2015 - 8:44AM

    @Raj – USA – “Myanmar has strong support of China and Buddhists have strong support throughout the world”

    Not just China, with the co-operation of Burmese during the recent crackdown on our NE militants, they have our support as well..Recommend

  • Jun 23, 2015 - 8:57AM

    France does it too.Recommend

  • Zarb e Hanood
    Jun 23, 2015 - 10:17AM

    If it is alright for Muslims to deny fundamental right of Non-Muslim to eat in Public places during Ramazan in Pakistan;
    If it is alright for Muslims to force Non-Muslim women to wear repugnantly misogynistic garment of burka in public in Saudi Arabia;
    If it is alright for Muslims to prevent Adult Non-Muslims from exercising fundamental right of drinking alcohol in Iran:
    If it is alright for Muslims to force Non-Muslim’s to eat inhumanely slaughtered livestock under halal methodology of throat slitting and bleeding animals to death in Kuwait;
    Then it is perfectly alright for Buddhists to insist that illegal Muslim immigrants desist from following practices that are repugnant to Buddhists such as wearing burka, indulging in polygamy etc.
    Organisation of Islamic Co-Operation (OIC) must instruct illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Myanmar not to carry on religious activities that are repugnant to Buddhists.Recommend

  • Ansar
    Jul 6, 2015 - 10:36AM

    is buddha said to all budhist that you can kill to other religious person.
    will your buddha happy this type of your work .
    you are human not an animal.Recommend

  • genesis
    Jul 6, 2015 - 5:58PM

    @Mostafa:
    This criticism against Myanmar should be directed against China as well,It is taking more harsh measures against Muslims than Myanmar and Pakistani or for that matter Islamic nations are strangely silent and pretend it is not happening!Recommend

  • jonny
    Jul 10, 2015 - 12:04PM

    If it is alright for Muslims to deny fundamental right of Non-Muslim to eat in Public places during Ramazan in Pakistan;
    If it is alright for Muslims to force Non-Muslim women to wear repugnantly misogynistic garment of burka in public in Saudi Arabia;
    If it is alright for Muslims to prevent Adult Non-Muslims from exercising fundamental right of drinking alcohol in Iran:
    If it is alright for Muslims to force Non-Muslim’s to eat inhumanely slaughtered livestock under halal methodology of throat slitting and bleeding animals to death in Kuwait;
    Then it is perfectly alright for Buddhists to insist that illegal Muslim immigrants desist from following practices that are repugnant to Buddhists such as wearing burka, indulging in polygamy etc.
    Organisation of Islamic Co-Operation (OIC) must instruct illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Myanmar not to carry on religious activities that are repugnant to BuddhistsRecommend

  • hari
    Aug 22, 2015 - 9:10AM

    Good work, India can learn a thing or two from Burma.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Aug 22, 2015 - 7:04PM

    @Dipak:
    “France does it too.”
    So, should India, too!Recommend

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