Thursday, March 6, 2014

Racism in Buddhist Burma: Muslim Rohingya

CC Liu, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; Kathmandu Post (; BBC News America; 
Beloved daughters of Burma must be protected from feared minority? It's racist discrimination. Sandalwood paste is used on many children to lighten and keep skin clear (Dietmar Temps/Deepblue66/flickr)
Proposed law is discriminatory
(KP) Burma’s human rights record will hit a new low if a proposed marriage bill becomes law. Couched in an idiom that merely seeks to give “protection and rights” to Buddhists, the proposed law targets the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority and forbids Muslims from marrying into the majority community. 
Spearheaded by a monk, Ven. Wirathu, the move, it seems, has officialdom’s blessings. President Thein Sein, succumbing to pressure from the extremist lobby, asked parliament to consider enacting such a law, which proposes a 10-year jail sentence for a Rohingya marrying a girl from the Buddhist community without obtaining her parents’ permission.

Vaguely worded, the proposed law, which bans polygamy, would “balance the increasing population” -- of whom, the legislation doesn’t specify. The proposal has also been criticized by Aung San Suu Kyi, who called it “a violation of women’s rights and human rights.” 
Already subjected to a discriminatory two-child policy, the Rohingya community is considered by the UN as the world’s most persecuted group. The state doesn’t recognize the Rohingyas as Burma’s citizens [regarded as rightly belonging in neighboring Muslim Bangladesh, who rejects them] even though most of them have been living in Burma for generations. They are not allowed to own land, and they cannot travel without permission. More

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