Asia - Pacific

Rights body accuses Myanmar junta of harassing Muslims, setting mosque on fire

Burma Human Rights Network urges world to take notice of attacks against Muslims, Christians throughout Burma

Md. Kamruzzaman  | 25.06.2021 - Update : 25.06.2021
Rights body accuses Myanmar junta of harassing Muslims, setting mosque on fire

DHAKA, Bangladesh 

A UK-based rights group accused the Myanmar military junta of harassing minority Muslims and setting a mosque on fire.

“A fire in a mosque in Ahlone Township, Yangon, is the latest incident of violence against Muslims and other minorities in Burma by the illegitimate military regime,” the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) said in a statement on Thursday.

It also blamed the junta for misinterpreting its oppressive acts. “While authorities blamed the fire on electrical issues, sources blamed the military and described it as an arson attack.”

The mosque fire comes after months of attacks against Muslims and Christians throughout Burma, said the statement, adding that such attacks against the minorities are “intolerable” and the international community must realize the seriousness of these incidents and act immediately.

According to the BHRN records and other available reports, more than 900 civilians, including 70 underaged children, have been killed by the Myanmar forces since the Feb. 1 military coup.

Myanmar's military ousted President Win Myint, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of the pre-coup ruling National League for Democracy party, citing "election fraud" in the polls for the coup.

“The world needs to immediately launch a global arms embargo and sanction all businesses connected to the Tatmadaw [Myanmar Army], including the oil and gas sector,” said Kyaw Win, BHRN executive director.

Attacks on religious structures

The statement also noted that Mohnhyin Mosque and Butaryone Street Mosque in Mohnhyin city were raided on June 3. “During the raid, a custodian of the mosque was arbitrarily detained.”

“Similarly, a Catholic church in Kantharyar Loikaw City, Kayeh State, was shot at on May 24 as civilians sought refuge there. Three women and one man were killed in the incident,” said the statement.

Referring to the destruction of an ethnic Karen Church on May 23 this year by the military and police in Insein Township, the statement claimed three people, including a pastor and a disabled person, were beaten and detained.

“On April 12, a Muslim man living in a mosque in Tamwe, Yangon, was dressed up in woman’s clothing, tied up, hanged, and killed,” according to the statement.

Calling the safety of religious minorities a matter of “great concern,” the statement warned that Burma can descend into a broader conflict between the military and the people.

Call to recognize shadow government

“BHRN calls on the international community to recognize the National Unity Government (NUG) as the legitimate representative of the Burmese people and to offer them full support as they endeavor to restore order to the country,” said the statement.

The NUG is an anti-coup shadow government in Myanmar mostly formed by the ousted lawmakers.

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