Myanmar closes mosque in further crackdown on Muslims

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SHAFAQNA – The Myanmar regime has closed a mosque and a seminary in the country’s commercial region of Yangon in further crackdown on Muslims in the Buddhist majority nation.

A local newspaper the Voice Daily claimed that three buildings were chained shut on Wednesday, after it was found that they were being used as a mosque and seminary, without official permission, at Kywe Pone Lay village in Okkan Township, about 100 kilometres north of Yangon.

Township administrator Myo Lwin claimed that the closure was to prevent problems in Okkan area which had seen an anti-Muslim riot in 2013.

The riot had begun after a Muslim woman accidentally bumped into a monk, breaking his begging bowl in Okkan town.

Hundreds of rampaging Buddhists armed with bricks stormed into Muslim villages, calling the accident an assault.

A Muslim man was killed in the attack. Also, two mosques and 150 houses and shops owned by Muslims were destroyed by the mob.

The incident in Yangon comes amidst an ongoing brutal crackdown and persecution of ethnic Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state.

The United Nations has established a fact-finding mission to investigate crimes against humanity committed by Myanmar’s military during renewed brutal crackdown against Muslims which started last October.

The country’s de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1991, has been criticized by more than a dozen fellow laureates for the armed response. They wrote an open letter to the UN Security Council warning of a tragedy “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” in Rakhine state.

Rakhine State in west Myanmar has seen the most serious violence perpetrated against Muslims in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar since the military began to end its decades of strict rule. Reports indicate that thousands of Rohingya Muslims killed and hundreds of thousands displaced there in attacks by government forces and extremists Buddhists since in 2012 in a deliberate state-backed policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

According to the UN, the Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

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