Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Temples and Homes Burned

Late Saturday there were a series of arson attacks on Buddhist Temples and homes in Bangladesh, near the southern border with Myanmar. At least 20 people were injured in the attacks.

The violence followed the posting of a Facebook photo of a burned copy of the Quran. The rioters blamed the photo on a local Buddhist boy, the boy said that the photo was mistakenly tagged on his Facebook profile.

Following on from the recent violent demonstrations over an amateurish video denigrating the prophet Mohammed it would be all too easy to dismiss this as just another example of senseless religious aggression against "the other". However, it is obvious that the indignation felt by Muslims has much deeper roots than the perceived offensiveness of a picture of a burning book or a tasteless movie.

The film, "Innocence of Muslims", an anti-Islam video was apparently made by an Egyptian-American based in Los Angeles, one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, reportedly a Coptic Christian. It's the American connection that's most significant here. America's military involvement with the Islamic world, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. and it's continued support of Israel is hated by large numbers of Muslims who, as a result, are all too ready to see such nonsense as this pathetic film as being part of an orchestrated attack on Islam and to react in what they perceive as the only way open to them.

The same is true of the violence against Buddhists in Bangladesh where there has been heightened tension following violence over the border in Myanmar (Burma), between the predominantly Buddhist Rakhine and the Rohingya – a Muslim minority with South Asian features, in Arakan province during early June.

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