Ethnic Hatred Tears Apart a Region of Myanmar

Thomas Fuller, New York Times, November 29, 2012

The Buddhist monastery on the edge of this seaside town is a picture of tranquillity, with novice monks in saffron robes finding shade under a towering tree and their teacher, U Nyarna, greeting a visitor in a sunlit prayer room.

But in these placid surroundings Mr. Nyarna’s message is discordant, and a far cry from the Buddhist precept of avoiding harm to living creatures. Unprompted, Mr. Nyarna launches into a rant against Muslims, calling them invaders, unwanted guests and “vipers in our laps.”

“According to Buddhist teachings we should not kill,” Mr. Nyarna said. “But when we feel threatened we cannot be saints.”

Violence here in Rakhine State—where clashes have left at least 167 people dead and 100,000 people homeless, most of them Muslims—has set off an exodus that some human rights groups condemn as ethnic cleansing. It is a measure of the deep intolerance that pervades the state, a strip of land along the Bay of Bengal in western Myanmar, that Buddhist religious leaders like Mr. Nyarna, who is the head of an association of young monks, are participating in the campaign to oust Muslims from the country, which only recently began a transition to democracy from authoritarian rule.

After a series of deadly rampages and arson attacks over the past five months, Buddhists are calling for Muslims who cannot prove three generations of legal residence—a large part of the nearly one million Muslims from the state—to be put into camps and sent to any country willing to take them. Hatred between Muslims and Buddhists that was kept in check during five decades of military rule has been virtually unrestrained in recent months.


Buddhists and Muslims in western Myanmar have had an uneasy coexistence for decades, and in some areas for centuries, but the thin threads that held together the social fabric of Rakhine State have torn apart this year.

Muslims who fled their homes now live in slumlike encampments that are short on food and medical care, surrounded by a Buddhist population that does not want them as neighbors.


Leaders of the Buddhist majority in the state say they feel threatened by what they say is the swelling Muslim population from high birthrates and by Islamic rituals they find offensive, like the slaughter of animals.

“We are very fearful of Islamicization,” said U Oo Hla Saw, general secretary of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, the largest party in the state. “This is our native land; it’s the land of our ancestors.”

During outbreaks of sectarian violence in June and again in October, villagers armed themselves with swords, clubs and sharpened bicycle spokes that they launched from homemade catapults. In Muslim-majority areas, monasteries were burned. In Buddhist-majority areas, mosques were destroyed. The mayhem was set off by the rape and murder of a Buddhist girl for which Muslims were blamed.


Political leaders describe the near total segregation of Muslims as temporary, but it appears to be more and more permanent.

“I don’t miss them,” said U Win Maung, a bicycle rickshaw driver whose house was burned down in June by his Muslim neighbors. “The hatred we have for each other is growing day by day.”

During his visit, Mr. Obama spent a considerable portion of a speech at Yangon University focusing on the importance of diversity, singling out the “danger” of the Rakhine situation and telling his audience “there is no excuse for violence against innocent people.”


The Buddhist residents of Rakhine see themselves as the inheritors of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Mrauk U. They do not consider themselves ethnically Burmese, and the government recognizes them as a separate group. Rakhine Buddhists say they feel squeezed, persecuted by the Burmese majority and threatened by the swelling Muslim minority.

Before the violence, Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims had a sort of master-servant relationship, a castelike system in which Muslims did menial work and Buddhists were usually the bosses.

“We lived side by side but we never talked to each other,” said Daw Htwe May, a 51-year-old Buddhist resident of Sittwe who lost her home in the violence.

A group of Buddhist women burst out laughing when asked whether their children played with Muslims.

“Even a small boy knows that he should not play with a kalar,” a pejorative term for people of Indian descent, said Daw Thein Hla Yi, 55.

Buddhists say Muslims should be considered illegal immigrants, and they are angry that foreign countries and the foreign news media have sympathy for Muslims.


President Thein Sein told a visiting delegation from the United Nations in July that only Muslims who have been in the country for at least three generations would be allowed citizenship. The rest were a “threat to the peace of the nation,” he said, and would be put in camps and sent abroad. The United Nations rejected the idea, saying that it was not in the business of creating refugees.

Diplomats say that Mr. Thein Sein has retreated from that position and is now talking about resettling displaced Muslim populations inside the country{snip}

In Sittwe, Buddhists say they are not ready to make concessions. Mr. Nyarna, the monk, said many Muslims do not “practice human morals” and should be sent to Muslim countries to be among “their own kind.”

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  • ZB

    Muslims are a cancer in any society,Christian or otherwise, that has to suffer their violence-prone, fanatical presence. Anyone who imagines that their presence in any numbers is a boon in any way would do better to check themselves into the nearest psychiatric ward.

  • David Ashton

    Pity we can’t ship all our anti-racists and multi-culturalists from the western world to this little corner of their beloved “third world” to advise its ethnic groups on how to live together in peace.

    • GM (Australia)

      No, it gets even worse, it is proposed to bring some of these Muslim minorities to Australia. (As you have suggested perhaps some of our multicultural advocates here can go over to Burma as diversity advisers)

      • IstvanIN

        Australia is pretty much doomed by Asianization anyway.

        • GM (Australia)

          Yes and hopefully no. Get off the train at some Sydney suburban train stations and the only non-Asian face you will see is when you look into a mirror. Get out of the main cities and you will find a mainly white society. But what really annoys me is that all of Asia ignored the Australian continent from the beginning of time right up until when the white man came simply because it was considered to be just a worthless wasteland. Now that we have created a modern prosperous nation Asians want to come here in droves.

          • IstvanIN

            From everything I have read your politicians are complete traitors. They want to turn Australia in an Asian-majority nation, regardless of what the British people who built the nation, or even the Aboriginal people, think about it. They want to destroy your culture, no monarchy, new flag, no being Britain in the Pacific, in fact they want to cut all ties to the UK. They want mandatory foreign languages taught in school, as a step toward phasing out English. Your elites really hate you folks. I really wish you guys had a few nukes to defend yoursleves.

            Please don’t take my rant personally. Our, US, politicians are doing the same thing. It is sad and mentally ill. The Anglo-sphere is mad.

          • David Ashton

            There is a Marxist method in the cultural madness.

          • pcmustgo

            And our American politicans are traitors who want to turn our America into a Chinese-Mexican-Indian-Muslim country. Even the republicans do now… instead of waking up and smelling the coffee, they think the solution to our 23 million unemployed is—- more third world immigrants!

          • GM (Australia)

            Agree, (most) of our politicians are complete traitors and the latest piece of PC madness is that some company board positions should be reserved for those who speak an Asian language.

            As for the nukes, it has now been deemed acceptable for us to sell uranium to India!

          • GM (Australia)

            Re the above post, I will will modify it and expand on it slightly to say I don’t know if “traitors” is the correct word, but very few of our politicians will ever question or speak out against our immigration policies or multiculturalism. I can not work out if this is because of a fear of being branded racist etc or if there is some unwritten agenda to say that all white nations must accept large numbers non-white immigrants. The Greens are all for open-door immigration policies and the present left-leaning labor government is putting a lot of effort into promoting diversity and has announced an increase in our refugee intake. As per usual the public is not consulted on these matters and there is no debate that I know of..

            Both major parties here are making an effort to try and stop boat people arriving but the results so far are too little too late. I Think there were 1700 boat arrivals last week, mainly Middle East Muslim and from Sri Lanka. On top is this there will be the endless arrivals on student visa scams, tourist visa over-stayers as well as hundreds of legal arrivals from China and India. Again, no one questions or seemingly is allowed to question immigration policy. Ask a politician questions and you will get a double-speak non-answer.

            Now the original topic on this post is about Burma, which like every other non-white nation has serious racial problems involving minorities. At the moment everyone who is anyone, including your president and our prime minister is enthusiastically embracing Burmese opposition leader Suu Kwi, that is good, but isn’t it time someone started asking her some serious questions as to how she will deal with these problems. And the answer must not be that we will take in more Burmese Muslim refugees.

          • Liberalsuck

            I say we should use the same immigration laws and tactics when dealing with unwanted immigrants that countries that these “immigrants” come from on the people invading our lands. Fair enough, eh?

          • GM (Australia)

            Do you realize that their policies are either arrest on the spot or shoot on sight!

          • Libearlsuck

            That’s the West’s problem. They have gotten to be too nice when dealing with violent criminals or invaders over the years.

          • FourFooted_Messiah

            I have no problem with that.

          • Ciccio

            No different to Israel. It was a desert unpopulated wasteland until Jewish enterprise brought hordes of unemployed Arabs looking for jobs.

      • David Ashton

        That news doesn’t surprise me, unfortunately. It’s pretty predictable, and media-led, with the usual dotty clergymen in tow. Of course, unless ALL the refugees, DPs, sick, maim, crippled, blind, ethnic victims and ethnic war-criminals, jihadists &c, around the globe, are ALL admitted, you have to be selective. This is discrimination too quite apart from importing and multiplying ethnic conflicts from other areas to your own (this argument will work with some “liberals”).
        So why bother to ruin your own country at all? Let the rest of the world solve its own problems, with an ounce of western advice and tons of contraceptives.

    • fsagas

      I don’t want to visit Burma and come across an idiot sorry. There is a rich and ancient history.

      I rather ship people who think Islam is so swell to a Middle Eastern country–in the Arabian desert. A place I probably will never go to.

      • Libearlsuck

        Watch the Rambo movie made in 2008 where he fights off the Burmese Army and rescues these stupid liberal whites from Colorado who go there to “give aide and comfort to the people there.”

    • pcmustgo

      Yes, I can see some white liberals futile attempts to spit out some trite “the world is flat” and “can’t we all just get along?”

      • Liberalsuck

        LOL! I think we should ship all these white liberal smug jackasses (from all white nations) to these nonwhite/thirdworld countries and they can never come back.

  • A peach looks good
    With lots of fuzz
    But a man’s no peach
    And never was

    Myanmar Shave

  • AmRen friend

    First of all, I’m surprised that a newspaper like the New York Times, especially with its political bent, would dare print an article that portrays diversity in the negative. The part of the article that really tugged at me was when the Buddhist guy said he’d like to put the Muslims in remote camps until other countries would be willing to accept them. By “other” countries, no doubt, we can only infer the white countries of the West. It makes me angry that the Leftist leaders, especially in England and Northern and Western Europe, will be demanding to let all those Muslims in.

    • Sloppo

      There are many muslim countries with a great deal of open land. It is obvious that muslims are incompatible with non-muslim cultures. The only sensible thing would be to relocate muslims in non-muslim lands to muslim countries where they can live peacefully without persecution, basking in the beauty of the belief system of the pedophile-pirate’s moon-god.

      • David Ashton

        Precisely (except don’t SAY the last bit). Strict Muslims are not supposed to stay in the House of War (our areas) except temporarily as merchants or missionaries. Multiculturalism and tolerance of sharia laws allow them to evade this Islamic requirement with a “good conscience”. The right policy is to grasp this nettle: Muslims return to the House of “Peace” and we take our troops out of their countries.

      • i am

        Liberals are incompatible with any culture.
        If it wasn’t for liberals, we wouldn’t have to worry about Muslims.

        • Liberalsuck

          Well, at least without liberals (in charge and influence), we would be able to fight them and defend our borders and our people. The liberals have tied the West’s hands behind their backs.

    • NYB

      It’s already happening.

      “Some 140,000 refugees from Burma’s nine main minority groups have been
      living in nine isolated and closed camps on the Thai / Burmese border
      for up to 20 years, the largest refugee population in Southeast Asia.

      “Canada will begin interviewing Karen refugees with the goal of bringing approximately 2,000 to Canada for resettlement, joining the 800 already there.”

      “Bhutanese refugees have been living in several United Nations-run refugee camps in eastern Nepal since the early 1990s.

      “As of October 2011, Canada had selected 5,000 Bhutanese refugees − nearly 4,500 of whom have already arrived in Canada. The remainder, plus the additional 500, are expected to arrive throughout 2012.”

      Canada has also been taking in Montagnard refugee applicants who claim they can no longer live among Vietnamese.

      Tribalism which is insurmountable in Asia is considered trivial to the ideologues of multicult.

      • David Ashton

        The prospective multiplication of ethnic conflict moved from different places and into the white Anglosphere. When will Canada take in Vietnamese who cannot live among other people?

        • Liberalsuck

          I view taking in these unwanted immigrants like if you were in college. Let’s say someone is looking to room with you, but you want to know why the other residents don’t want to live with them. You wouldn’t just let them live with you, right? Shouldn’t white people be using this same logic and practice when dealing with people wanting to live around us?

        • FourFooted_Messiah

          As a Canadian, I don’t want Viet-namese here either. Vietnamese gangs are rampant in major western cities (and probably Toronto and Montreal, too, now).

          All I can say is, you Americans didn’t napalm enough of them (I know, we weren’t involved in that war, because we didn’t particularly care if a bunch of gooks went commie. It’s too much like worrying that a bunch of rabbits out in the woods went Stalinist.)

      • Liberalsuck

        How stupid! How breathtakingly stupid white liberals are. The other nonwhites won’t put up with BS from blacks or muslims, so they will ship them to a nice, first-world white nation where the whites there won’t fight them. They don’t want to be called racists and, hey, “let’s all get along and smoke a joint…”

        • FourFooted_Messiah

          I wouldn’t share my joints with these “people”. I don’t know where their lips have `been.

      • FourFooted_Messiah

        Oh, that’s what a Bhutanese is. Ottawa just foisted several hundred of them on the small city in which I currently live.

        No wonder the cops already had to shoot one.

        If they’re Muslim, why couldn’t they go to Malaysia?

  • Brendan

    The mayhem was set off by the rape and murder of a Buddhist girl for which Muslims were blamed.
    What, there too? Sounds like rape is de rigueur among the religion of peace.

    In Sittwe, Buddhists say they are not ready to make concessions. Mr. Nyarna, the monk, said many Muslims do not “practice human morals” and should be sent to Muslim countries to be among “their own kind.”
    I wonder when French, Britons, and Swedes will start getting the same attitude en masse.

    • GSJ

      Not soon enough sadly. I give a thousand thanks to the braveness of these Buddhists. If the TRUE religion of peace, not this Mohammedian cult falsely claimed to be peaceful, is tired of these people, we should be too.

      • Liberalsuck

        Any group that is nice will have a breaking point if pushed too far. even whites who are generally more lowkey and not quick to anger will resort to violence if there is absolutely no other way to stop a threat. Whites and Asians aren’t as quick tempered and dangerous as blacks can be.

        • fsagas

          I’m always more wary of a volcano then a match.

    • Nimadan

      Male muslims react badly to any culture that’s less sexually uptight than their own. Traditional Burmese culture isn’t a San Francisco-type freakshow but it’s far more permissive than islam.

    • kjh64

      Well at least the men there get angry and do something about unlike the weenies in the West where they sweep things under the rug and cover for them.

  • Wow. How hard do you have to try to get a Buddhist monk to want to commit violence?

    • pcmustgo

      Muslims and Blacks push all of our tolerance… Its’ the most horrible thing- losing your sense of decency and kindness because of their hate.

      • Liberalsuck

        Just being around a group of blacks, especially black males, automatically gives many people of all races this feeling of, “I want to get out of here.” The liberals will say, ‘Oh, that’s just fear/reactive behavior.’ But why? It’s instinctual. The same feeling we get when we see a bee or a a wild exotic animal. Something about them automatically says, “Danger, get away!”

        • Brian

          Instincts are rarely wrong. Trust them. They’ve evolved over Billions of years of experience. Many people have reported feeling nervous in places where no overt threat was evident, but nearby was hidden predators waiting for them to pass them by.

      • rightrightright

        This black woman’s hate for white people is extreme, although it smacks a little of “methinks she doth protest too much”.

  • GM (Australia)

    “President Thein Sein told a visiting delegation from the United Nations in July that only Muslims who have been in the country for at least three generations would be allowed citizenship. The rest were a “threat to the peace of the nation,”

    Perhaps all the leaders of the western world can take some notice of the above statement, they (Muslims) are in reality a treat to the peace of every nation. (Not just Burma)

    Incidentally these refugees look like ethnic Bengals, perhaps they should be returned to Bangladesh.

  • StillModerated

    Muslims who fled their homes now live in slumlike encampments that are
    short on food and medical care, surrounded by a Buddhist population that
    does not want them as neighbors.

    When the bleeding heart “human rights group” says muslims, do they mean Bangladeshis? Whose folks back home pretty much live in slumlike encampments, are short of food and medical care, etc. Excuse me while I go boohoohoo.

    [T]hey feel threatened by what they say is the swelling Muslim population
    from high birthrates and by Islamic rituals they find offensive, like
    the slaughter of animals.

    Yeah! just wait until they find out about female genital mutilation

  • Greg Thomas

    If you want the truth, listen so those who are not under the cultural constraints of
    multiculturalism and diversity. It is so refreshing to hear people utter the
    truth regarding muslim invaders. No doubt, obama’s diversity lecture while in Miramar fell on deaf ears, as it well should.

    The irony is that if someone in a White western nation made such a declaration, they would have some explaining to do to the local diversity police. Geert Wilders was subjected to a trial for expressing similar sentiments.

  • fsagas

    Buddhism is a great religion.

  • IstvanIN

    Is this why the US is bringing Burmese to NJ, because the Muslims are taking over Burma? Well, the Burmese are going to be surprised when they see the number of mosques in NJ!

  • KenelmDigby

    What’s the betting that these Burmese muslims will be ‘resettled’ in the west by the UN and (ironically) the christian churches?

    • The__Bobster

      Pa. is being flooded with these Burma Shaves. Now I know the full story.

  • Jeddermann.

    This is as it always has been and always will be. Different people JUST CANNOT get along trying to live in the same spot. For whatever reason or combination of reasons it just does not work. Anywhere at any time in history. A facade may exist from time to time of co-existence but merely that, a facade.

    • David Ashton

      Paradoxically there are non-white ethnics who agree with white people about this. A world-wide disengagement is better than a world-wide entanglement.

      • storibund

        “Disengage” from Islam’s openly-admitted quest for world domination?

        They’re hoping so. It would make their job so much easier.

  • guest

    Muslims are a very hateful group of people. No matter how much these liberal fools act so tolerant towards them, it will always be met with hostility from the muslims. These buddhists don’t tolerate them and we shouldn’t have to either.

    • Liberalsuck

      Let these muslims have the white liberals. I know bad behavior from blacks and muslims won’t be tolerated by conservative, rural whites who have guns, lots of ammo and are growing very angry at how things are going.

  • pcmustgo

    Did you notice the liberal NY Times made the Muslims look like victims? Perhaps they want to ship out these Muslims because of 100’s of terror attacks…

  • george 1625

    The position of the Buddhists is only common sense.

    And notice how, always, always, ALWAYS, the Muslims are shown in a sympathetic light. In this article the bias is slight, but present. The Muslims fear, the Muslims are worried, the Muslims are persecuted, etc. It never stops. The media is ALWAYS on their side.

    Apparently not one journalist has the brains to ask why there are Muslims in Burma in the first place.

  • Liberalsuck

    If only white men in white countries had to balls to kick out their Muslims and other unwanted “immigrants.”

  • I find it interesting that the same things that used to cause pogroms against blacks by whites (rape, murder, etc) is now so common place that we don’t even react against it.

    Do you think 30,000 black on white rapes would happen each year if we burned down a city block every time it happened? I don’t.

    • Skippy

      Contrary to the current dogma, there were excellent reasons for the lynching of Blacks in the Old South. It wasn’t just to be mean and unfair to the poor ole Black folks –unless you buy into the Liberal precept that actually holding Blacks responsible for their crimes is unfair. Many of the “victims” were known to have committed serious crimes including violent robberies, rapes, and murders. Hangings may not have been pretty, but you can bet your ass they kept black crime against Whites to a minimum. I just read a news story where a trio of Blacks shot a pregnant White woman, cut her baby out of her while she was still alive and kidnapped it, and then killed her two young children to keep them from identifying the criminals. Do you think this would have happened under Jim Crow? Or if it had, that the punishment wouldn’t have been so severe that it would sear itself into Black memory for the next century? Southern Whites weren’t so ignorant as we seem to think they were. They knew that the only way to keep Blacks from lapsing into savagery was immediate and harsh punishment of all transgressions.

      • Liberalsuck

        I agree that they weren’t just lynched simply because they had black skin. If that were the reason, then I would be horrified even as prowhite and anti liberal as I am. If whites hated blacks so much back then, hell they could have just killed them all without any national notice or legal or criminal consequences. I just don’t see that most white men were going out and harming blacks every day for no reason. I just can’t see a white man 100 years ago after busting his butt all day at a physically laborious job come home and say to his wife, “hey, honey, I’ve had a long 16 hour day working on my feet. Instead of cleaning out the barn and heading to bed early so I can hunt for our breakfast tomorrow before I go to work tomorrow, me, Floyd and Eddie were going to hang some negroes just for the hell of it and then hit the bars afterwards. Don’t wait up.”

  • I really think that Obama has a learning disability. He’s trying to get Buddhists and Muslims in Burma to join hands and sing “Kumbaya”, and cheerfully accept “diversity” – in a yellow land, no less! Where TF did he think he was, Southern California?

    I laud the Buddhists, for standing up for their own. When a Muslim raped a Buddhist girl (which I don’t doubt), they didn’t stand around wringing their hands, wondering what they did to offend Muslims – they took action, whether Obama likes it or not.

    Muslims have NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER, to be in Burma. They want to subjugate non-Muslim lands into eternal dhimmitude and slavery. Only, in Burma, they’re not dealing with Trotsyites or American college students.

    Muslims, out of Burma.

    • rightrightright

      The Muslims who invaded India granted neither Hindus nor Buddhists “dhimmi” status as they were not “People of the Book”. They were simply slaughtered in their millions. Buddhists have no reason at all to wish to get along with Muslims. They know.

      • Liberalsuck

        The Muslims slaughtered Jews and Christians, also people they referred to as “people of the book.”

  • Michael_C_Scott

    This has me wondering when the same thing will be happening in Britain.

  • Ulick

    “Buddhists say Muslims should be considered illegal immigrants, and they are angry that foreign countries and the foreign news media have sympathy for Muslims.”

    I hear ya, Buddhists. I’m angry about that, too.

    • Liberalsuck

      I’m also angry that white people are forced to take in people we don’t want either.

  • Howard W. Campbell

    Muslims, like blacks cannot get along with their own people, much less anyone else. Why should it be different in Burma than any other country in the world? I’m curious to know if the Burmese (Myanmar) government will force “everybody to get along” or if the UN will send in troops to defend the poor beleaguered muslims.