YANGON – Extremist Buddhist mob have led a new series of attacks on Burma Muslim minority, resulting in damaging a mosque and Muslim-owned shops in the country’s second largest city of Mandalay, leaving at least five injured despite police intervention.
“We fired three warning shots to control the crowd,” Lieutenant Colonel Zaw Min Oo of Mandalay region police told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Wednesday, July 2.
According to Mandalay police, about 300 Buddhists including 30 monks attacked a Muslim-owned teashop in the area over an alleged rape of a Buddhist woman by Muslim men.
“The shop owners were accused of rape a few days ago,” a senior police official who did not want to be named said.
“The violence started after those accusations were spread and created religious tension.”
The Buddhists, who threw stones at Muslim properties, have ransacked several Muslim-owned shops, homes, and a mosque, damaging at least three cars.
Moreover, several residents were injured in knife attacks, according to Al Jazeera.
Police attempts to disperse the Buddhist mob were fulfilled by midnight after firing rubber bullets against the crowd.
“The police and the crowd fought each other and the crowd threw stones at the police,” a witness told Reuters.
Residents said that despite clashing with police and dispersing the crowd, a mob of Buddhists gathered in the Muslim-majority area at the early hours of Wednesday.
Burma’s Muslims -- largely of Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi descent -- account for an estimated four percent of the roughly 60 million population.
Muslims from around the world are fasting from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan which started earlier this week.
Muslims entered Burma en masse for the first time as indentured laborers from the Indian subcontinent during British colonial rule, which ended in 1948.
But despite their long history, they have never fully been integrated into the country, widely considered as foreigners.
In 2012, scores of Muslims were killed and thousands were forced to flee their homes after sectarian clashes with the Buddhist majority in the western state of Rakhine.
Most of the victims were Muslim Rohingya and many remain in camps they are not allowed to leave.
Rights groups have accused the Burmese security forces of killing, raping and arresting Rohingyas following the violence.
In April 2013, more than 40 people were killed and several mosques were burnt in central Burma after a dispute between Muslims and Buddhists in Meikhtila.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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