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About four hours ago, the temple complex at Bodh Gaya, the site of the Bodhi Tree where Prince Siddhartha is said to have meditated and attained enlightenment in 531 B.C., was struck by eight bomb attacks.

The complex houses temples and monasteries which host monks from all over the world.  The attacks were low-intensity, small bomb attacks.  Currently, 2 monks are reported injured.

State officials in eastern India, where Bodh Gaya is located, were allegedly warned by New Delhi police last winter that the Indian Mujahideen - an offshoot of the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India - intended to send agents to attack the complex, supposedly "as retaliation for Buddhist violence against Muslims in Myanmar," according to a source listed as an official in the article.

However, Muslim organizations in India condemned the blast, and further labeled attempts to link them to the attack as "irresponsible."

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman Mansoorpuri said linking the blasts to the ethnic violence in Myanmar was akin to rubbing salt on the wounds of the Rohingya Muslims.

Criticizing the media for its "quick linking" of the blasts with the persecution in Myanmar, Maulana Mahmood Madani of the JuH said, "It is irresponsible behaviour to link the blast to any such issue."

All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), an umbrella body of Indian Muslim organizations, too, condemned the "Mayanmar angle" while calling the serial blasts "cowardly and utterly inhuman".

--from The Times of India, June 8, 2013

The conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar has come to a head this year.  Myanmar is 90% Buddhist, leaving Muslims the minority in a country transitioning from a military dictatorship to civilian rule.  Unfortunately, Rohingya Muslims "have been denied citizenship and are severely mistreated in the western state of Rakhine, where the local government recently restricted Rohingya family size to two children."

From The Times of India:

The Buddhist-Rohingya conflict in Myanmar has created a widening zone of instability in the region, stretching beyond Myanmar to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. The majority Buddhists of Myanmar have repeatedly attacked Rohingyas, a Bengali-speaking Muslim minority community who are treated by Myanmar as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh rejects them as Myanmarese, with the result that they are nobody's people. Even Aung San Suu Kyi has been silent on the issue, drawing criticism from the west. Rohingyas are not a part of the 135 recognized ethnic groups in Myanmar, which complicates the issue.

In recent times, Rohingyas have found themselves as asylum seekers in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Meanwhile, the Islamic world has taken up cudgels on the Rohingyas' behalf, mounting a diplomatic offensive against Myanmar in international forums.

In June and October 2012, there was sustained violence in Myanmar's Rakhine province (which has Sittwe port, crucial to Indian interests) which displaced 100,000 Rohingyas. In March this year, anti-Muslim riots in Meiktila, central Myanmar, left 40 dead and thousands without homes.

Much of the blame for the recent violence in Myanmar has been placed at the feet of a Buddhist monk named Ashin Wirathu.  Wirathu is the abbot of Masoeyein Monastery in Mandalay; he was freed last year after serving 9 years for helping to incite anti-Muslim riots in 2003.  He is also the head of the 969 Movement, which encourages Buddhists to shun Muslim businesses and communities.  Lately, he's been touring the countryside, giving lectures to uphold the 969 movement - and has proudly called himself "the Buddhist Bin Laden."

Wirathu's quoted as saying, "They have the belief that the world should have Islamic faith . . . so it's not only Buddhism, they attack, invade all other religions in the world.  Shouldn't we use violence and hardship on those who practice against us? Also shouldn't we retaliate against those who are bad to us?"

He has also helped to draft a law that, if approved, "would require any Buddhist woman seeking to marry a Muslim man to first gain permission from her parents and local government officials. It also requires any Muslim man who marries a Buddhist woman to convert to Buddhism."  After that draft was blasted for violating basic human rights, Wirathu withdrew it, promising to submit a new draft that, according to him, would be "much more balanced":

U Wirathu claimed the latest draft was the solution for Burma’s sectarian tensions and would gain support from the approximately 500 monks that are expected to attend the conference.

“If we can ratify this law, there will be no more violence in our country. Buddhist majority people cannot provoke violence against religious minorities, and minority people cannot provoke violence against the majority,” he said.

--from The Irawaddy, June 25, 2013

Thankfully, no one was killed in today's attack.  Of course the initial response to an attack like this is - why?  Why here, why now, why at all?

Originally posted to Gemina13 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 09:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've hotlisted this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jaime Frontero, Gemina13

    so I can come back to it.  I'm not quite an atheist, but this certainly writes a brief for questioning religion.  Because, seriously...

    Seriously?

    Can you call yourself a real liberal if you aren't reading driftglass?

    by CJB on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 10:03:56 PM PDT

  •  Oh fuck. I heard about an attack hours ago - had (8+ / 0-)

    no idea it was Bodh Gaya. I have some significant memories of that place, including seeing the Dalai Lama there. Jesus, this just breaks my heart.

  •  Just to note (5+ / 0-)

    In no way do I intend to suggest that any of the monks or people at Bodh Gaya deserved the attack.  But once I started reading about the story, the trail that opened up was startling in its familiarity.  A grievance offered, a chance to sow fear through violence - whoever did this, if it was for the purpose of striking back at those behind the anti-Muslim movement in Myanmar, they failed.  They attempted to destroy a place of peace.  And, finally, they shed innocent blood.

    Hope is a good thing--maybe the best of things--and no good thing ever dies.

    by Gemina13 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:57:22 PM PDT

  •  this happened because of Buddhist imperialism, obv (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PowWowPollock, jabney

    iously.

    lol.

    Don't worry! I'm not going there. This is just my sarcastic-ass way of gently reminding people that it takes two to tango in The Forever War.

    Just because U.S Imperialism provokes justifiably violent reactions does not mean there aren't some seriously dark, twisted ambitions on Team Jihadi.

    They may not "hate us for our freedoms", but they DO hate the idea of giving women, LGBT folk, and "blasphemers" freedom.....

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:19:33 AM PDT

    •  Um, yes, it appears that's EXACTLY (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gemina13

      what's going on.

      Well, maybe not imperialism per se. Seems they're keeping their oppression within their own borders. But still. There does appear to be Buddhist oppression of Muslims going on, and this does seem to be a reaction to that.

      Your characterization of Muslims as reactionary is pretty rancid and totally unjustified here.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:14:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's highly unusual for Buddhists to act (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheHalfrican, jabney, Gemina13

        aggressively like they currently are in Myanmar.

        Have you considered that this might be a reaction to decades, or even centuries, of persecution of Buddhists in the region?  In Bangladesh, which is Myanmar's neighbor, they are basically being slowly, but methodically, wiped out.

        You might want to google "Chittagong Hill Tracts" to gain some perspective.

        What is noteworthy is that the radical Buddhist movement in Myanmar rose shortly after the destruction of the giant Buddha statues in Bamyan, Afghanistan by the Taliban.

        I wonder what would have happened, if something equivalent would have been destroyed in the Islamic world, like, let's say, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem?

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:30:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And Muslims of course have never been persecuted. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gemina13, JDsg

          But your Islamophobia is noted.

          Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
          Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
          Code Monkey like you!

          Formerly known as Jyrinx.

          by Code Monkey on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:35:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never said that. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gemina13

            This diary is about Muslim/Buddhist conflict in Southeast Asia and that is what I addressed.

            Your phobia of Buddhism is duly noted.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:43:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, I must have misunderstood you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gemina13

              when you said this:

              What is noteworthy is that the radical Buddhist movement in Myanmar rose shortly after the destruction of the giant Buddha statues in Bamyan, Afghanistan by the Taliban.

              I wonder what would have happened, if something equivalent would have been destroyed in the Islamic world, like, let's say, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem?

              If you didn't mean to imply that Muslims would've been worse in this situation, then fine (though you should be more careful about saying things that can be taken in a Malkinesque manner). My point is that, in the end, we're all human.

              Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
              Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
              Code Monkey like you!

              Formerly known as Jyrinx.

              by Code Monkey on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:48:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I regretted this post as soon as i made it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Code Monkey, Gemina13

        and re-read the diary because I clearly missed the context about Buddhist violence. I was actually disappointed that no-one ripped me for that last night, heh. Plus I was acting too glib in a diary about a terrible tragedy, a bad habit of mine. :(

        that said,

        characterization of Muslims as reactionary

        Whoa. Hold up cuz. I didn't say jack about the world's billion plus Muslims. I thought "Team Jihadi" made it clear enough that I was talking about the tiny-but-potent minority of militant islamic extremists. The guys who would rather see schoolchildren burn alive than receive "sacrilegious" Western-style education.

        Some people take it to this extreme like Jihadist Terrorism is some completely fictional false-flag thing invented by evil Murkins sitting in a back room of the Pentagon. Yeah, I wish. Our jobs would be so much easier if that were the case. But they're really out there. That was the core point of my comment, really. I seriously doubt that many Kossacks would disagree w/ that basic premise, I just wanted to say it.

        "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

        by TheHalfrican on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:25:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with Sam Harris on this one; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gemina13

    Religion and intense devotion to an exclusionary system that says "We have all the answers as to the true meaning of life; those folks over there with a different deity are completely wrong" is at the root of a vast amount of violence in the world.

    At the end of the day, all religions are mutually exclusive. If your creed is right, all the others have to be wrong. And when belief is fervent enough, the logical end result has to be conflict.

    •  In my view, your comment kind of ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mary Mike, Gemina13, liz, SchuyH

      ... oversimplifies things.  And I suppose there can be distinctions between what is referred to as "religion" and what might be called a "spiritual tradition".

      When the Dalai Lama travels around the world, he frequently tells people that they do not need to convert to Buddhism; rather, he says they can find a path to liberation within their own traditions.  In his view, Buddhism is just one path of many.

      This view is shared by many teachers within the Sanatana Dharma traditions (Hinduism) as well.  Many within the various Hindu traditions hold Jesus and Buddha in as much reverence as teachers within their own tradition.

      I have been studying teachings, practices, and teachers from within various Buddhist, Hindu, and other traditions since 1975.  Your suggestion that Buddhism is an "exclusionary system" and your assertion that "all religions are mutually exclusive" may be convenient beliefs to hold to in support of whatever world view you may have, but they do not, in my view, accurately reflect the way that many of the traditions within Buddhism and Hinduism, and other traditions as well, view spiritual practice.

      The foundation of Buddhism is found in four simple statements ...

      1 - People suffer
      2 - There are causes of that suffering
      3 - These causes can be addressed
      4 - There are various practices that can be effective in addressing the causes of suffering and thus alleviating that suffering.

      I am not Buddhist, nor do I identify as Hindu or any other "religion"; but in my view what those four foundational statements teach can be found in traditions all over the world including some Native American traditions, Sufism, Wicca, Aboriginal Australian traditions, Hinduism, etc.  And many teachers within these traditions recognize that spiritual paths within other traditions can be as effective in helping people liberate themselves as the tradition they work within themselves.

      The Dalai Lama sees this; Ramana Maharshi saw this; Rumi saw this.

      While it is understandable that one might draw conclusions about "religion" generally from the evidence of various historical and contemporary events, a deeper look at many spiritual traditions from around the world will reveal a treasure of teachings to draw from that are useful in the understanding of mind, the alleviation of suffering, and our work toward peace, both within each person individually and among all peoples of our world.

      I'm off for a four hour drive to the Moral Monday protests in Raleigh.  Enjoy your day.

      ______________
      Love one another

      by davehouck on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:41:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd have to politely disagree. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gemina13

        Certainly, the basic, superficial tenets of Buddhism and its focus on the relief of suffering sound promising at first glance. (The same is superficially true of Christianity, if you focus on the Beatitudes and the 'warmer' parts of the New Testament). But the deeper one digs into the nuts 'n bolts philosophical and theological principles underlying it, the more troublesome things become. The same process occurs with every religion.

        The bedrock underpinnings of Buddhsim and Hinduism include all kinds of wacky Gods/Goddesses/spirits, many of them with malevolent features that justify some really awful stuff. As soon as you start building your system of morality on what is by definition supernatural (i.e. above and beyond the measurable, palpable, definable here-and-now universe), there is no end to the mischief that can follow, because you no longer are moored to reality.

        •  You are underinformed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gemina13, davehouck

          The basic tenets of Buddhism, which also include the practice of lovingkindness and compassion - obviously not being observed by some in Burma - do not include anything supernatural whatsoever. When the Buddha was asked about, for example, reincarnation, he refused to answer. Deities were added when Buddhism migrated to Tibet and China and became conflated with native religion.

  •  Thank you for writing on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gemina13

    Thank you for writing on both stories, Bodh Gaya and Burma.

    ______________
    Love one another

    by davehouck on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:46:40 AM PDT

    •  You're welcome. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davehouck

      I can see both sides of the story - but ultimately my sympathies lie with ordinary people targeted by injustice.  The victims of the bombing and the people of Myanmar, whether Muslim or Buddhist, count for me on that.

      Hope is a good thing--maybe the best of things--and no good thing ever dies.

      by Gemina13 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:59:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That Ashin Wirathu is one sorry ass excuse for a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike, rbird, Gemina13

    Buddhist.



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:29:17 AM PDT

    •  Any leader who builds a movement (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama

      To deny human rights to any group of people is a sorry-ass excuse for a human being.  I have a feeling he'd fit right in with some of our American Taliban, though.

      Hope is a good thing--maybe the best of things--and no good thing ever dies.

      by Gemina13 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:01:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about the Native American tribes (0+ / 0-)

        who tried to "deny human rights" to the white settlers who were invading North America? Didn't they have a right to organize and try to defend their land?

        I'm not saying I agree with everything that the monks are doing, but their point is valid about the fact that the Muslims are replacing indigenous populations and religions with Islam. Many countries that we now think of as Muslim nations -- Egypt, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, etc. -- were originally Christian or Buddhist. The indigenous people of Myanmar and other countries have a right to resist the encroachment of Islam. They may well be abusing that right by acting violently, but they have a right to do something to defend their country.

        •  Whoa. Are you serious? (0+ / 0-)

          You're comparing the stance of Native Americans fighting off an invasive and genocidal encroachment by white Europeans to the persecution of a minority that has been in Myanmar/Burma since the 1700s - and who have faced nothing but discrimination since their initial emigration?

          Fail.  Utter fail.

          Hope is a good thing--maybe the best of things--and no good thing ever dies.

          by Gemina13 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:40:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

            White people had been in North America for about 300 years before they started seriously clearing out the Native Americans too. 300 years' presence doesn't make people indigenous.

            Why do you think the Buddhists are pushing back against the Muslims? You think that the Muslims haven't been pushing their way in, aren't threatening the Buddhist way of life, and basically haven't been doing anything to antagonize the Buddhists, and yet for some strange reason the Buddhists keep talking about how they don't want to end up like Indonesia? What do you think is the root of this conflict?

          •  p.s. Many white settlers were peaceful (0+ / 0-)

            Just riding their wagon trains across the plains, making their way to California, etc. All they wanted was a better life. Yet they were set upon by Native Americans who for some reason felt that there were already enough foreigners changing the quality of life in North America. I can't blame the native people. I think it's natural for people to want to maintain their homeland. The Buddhists have been saying for almost a hundred years that too many Muslim immigrants were coming into Myanmar; it's not like they suddenly snapped one day. They're being encroached-on. I don't know what they should do about it, but I can't say that we watching from the outside have a right to say "Oh, clearly, they should give part of their country away to the people who poured in from the outside." Might as well say that the Native people here had no right to object to those innocent wagon trains.

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