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Discrimination Haunts Burma Muslims

Published: 18/03/2012 01:19:29 PM GMT
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RANGON - Muslims in the south-eastern Asian nation of Myanmar are complaining of catalogue of discrimination and abuses in their homeland.Myo Win, a Burmese Muslim, said he was discriminated against since he was a young ch (more)

RANGON - Muslims in the south-eastern Asian nation of Myanmar are complaining of catalogue of discrimination and abuses in their homeland.

Myo Win, a Burmese Muslim, said he was discriminated against since he was a young child.

"I noticed that most of the students and even the teachers at the school, they are discriminating especially for minority people," Myo told ABC News on Sunday, March 18.

"They think we are the stranger, we are foreigner, even though our forefathers were born in Burma."

Myo is not alone.

Zaw Minn Htwe also speaks of repeated abuses for no apparent reason but being Muslim.

He recalls being called by fellow students as a ‘kalar'.

"It's an insult, especially for Muslim people," he said.

"It means we are not from Burma."

Myanmar's Muslims, mainly of Rohingyas ethnic minority, number upwards of five percent of the nation's more than 50 million people.

Rohingyas have long suffered from discrimination and a catalogue of abuse at the hands of the military.

An amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 has deprived them of citizenship and made them illegal immigrants in their own home.

Beside the Rohingyas, there are the Indian-descended Muslims who live in Yangon and ethnic-Chinese Muslims, known as the Panthay.

Muslim Fears

Zaw recalls his worst moment in 2003 when his family's tea shop was attacked by monks over the destruction of Buddhist statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

"They wanted to take revenge because people had destroyed a Buddhist statue in Afghanistan," he told ABC News.

"We haven't heard about Afghanistan before and we don't know anyone from Afghanistan but they target us.

"One day they came to our tea shop, we had to hide in our house and then they destroyed it.

"I was so scared, really afraid of the people.”

The attack left Zaw with the feeling that he was being treated as a second-class citizen in his homeland, which was ruled by the military since 1962 until last year.

"At that time I could not trust anyone, even our neighbor they do not protect us."

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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