Myanmar’s Muslims: Kicked in the teeth | The Economist
I AM in Malaysia for the election on May 5th, and up here in the north of the country quite a lot of the political to-and-fro is about political Islam. The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (better known as PAS) is strong up here in states like Kedah, so the ruling coalition Barisan Nacional is trying to scare people off voting for them by claiming that, if they were to be elected nationally, they would force the opposition coalition into turning Malaysia into an extremist Muslim state. It’s a lame old tactic, but still seems to find some traction.
A fellow-member of ASEAN, Myanmar, is wrestling with its own Islamic problem, but in a much more volatile and blood-soaked manner. This week saw another nasty outbreak of violence between Burman Buddhists and Muslims in central Myanmar, this time in a village called Oakka. It was sparked off by another minor incident, when a young girl apparently bumped into a monk. This set off a chain events that left one person dead and nine injured; reports say that Buddhist mobs torched 77 houses and a couple of mosques.