30 July 2014
In the minds of Myanmar’s Buddhist extremists, Muslim men are constantly scheming for their women.
There are plots to systematically seduce naive Buddhist girls into converting to Islam. There are plots to infiltrate the military by marrying daughters of high-ranking officers. And there is the ultimate plot: to overthrow the government and transform Myanmar — the land of shimmering Buddhist pagodas — into an Islamic state.
No evidence suggests these plots actually exist. Yet vigilante extremists — whose views on racial and religious purity evoke the Ku Klux Klan — are successfully exploiting these fears to spark deadly anti-Muslim riots. Rape allegations have proven particularly effective in whipping up a mob rampage through anti-Muslim neighborhoods.
The latest riot, in the sun-baked city of Mandalay, broke out after a Buddhist maid accused two Muslim tea shop owners of rape. Soon afterward, according to accounts provided to GlobalPost, men on motorbikes zoomed into Muslim neighborhoods and began smashing windows.
… Buddhist extremists are operating under a “demographics siege mentality,” said Kyaw San Wai, a senior analyst of Myanmar’s politics at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“With views of Muslim men poorly treating their spouses, and of supposed plots to systematically marry and convert Buddhist women,” he said, “it becomes a potent and volatile mindset that just needs an accusation of rape or murder to spark off violence.”
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 31/07/2014