Saturday, March 10, 2012

31 - History of Muslim Persecution in Burma

History of Muslim Persecution in Burma

The first Muslim killing
The first Muslim killing documented in Burmese history (recorded in Hmannan Yazawin or Glass Palace Chronicle) was killing of Byat Wi by Mon, Thaton King.(It was at about 1050 AD). [100]
Shwe Byin brothers Martyred
The second two persons killed later were his nephews. The two sons of his brother Byat Ta, known as Shwe Byin brothers. They were executed because of their religious beliefs. [101][102]
Assassination of Nga Yaman Kan
Rahman Khan (Nga Yaman Kan) was another Muslim killed for political reason. Although it was during wartime, the famous national hero, King Kyansittha sent a hunter as a sniper to assassinate him. [103] [104]

Muslim Massacre in Arakan
Another mass killings of Muslims in Arakan may be not for the religion but likely to be due to politics and greed only. Shah Shuja’ was the second son of the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan who built the famous Taj Mahal of India. Shah Shuja’ lost to his brother and fled with his family and army in to Arakan. Sandathudama (1652-1687 AD),Arakan King accepted and allow him to settle there. He wanted to continue to buy ships to go to Mecca and willing to pay with silver and gold. But Arakan king asked for his daughter and also became greedy to get all the wealth. As the eldest son of Mogul Emperor, he even got the world’s biggest and famous diamond, called Kohinu. There were confusing various versions of history reports. At last after an alleged unsuccessful attempt of rebellion the sultan and all his followers were killed. All men seen with beard, the symbol of Islam, were beheaded. Women were put into prison and let them die with hunger. The brother of sultan, King Aurangzeb, although the enemy himself because of the rivalry in ascending the throne, was angry because of that killings. He attacked the Arakan and the local Muslim slaves and Arakan Muslim Kamans assisted by rebelling from inside. It leaded to the end of the power of Arakan kingdom. [105][106] [107] [108] [109] [110]
Muslims under Bayintnaung
Bayintnaung (1550-1589 AD) was the first Burmese king who started the religious oppression. [111] In 1559 AD after conquering Bago (Pegu) he prohibited the Muslims from doing halal (killing by cutting the throat under the name of Allah) of goats and chicken. He showed religious intolerance with force on some other things also. Some were forced to listen to Buddhist sermons and some even forcefully converted. He also disallowed the Edil Adha, Kurbani sacrifice of cattle. [112]
“Forbidden to Muslims are also alcoholic drinks, pork, meat of edible animals which are not ritually slaughtered with the pronouncement of the name of God (to tell them that you are like us and we kill and eat you only because the Lord, our common creator, has allowed us that). [113]
Muslims under Alaungpaya
King Alaungpaya (1752-1760) prohibited Muslims to do halal on cattle. King Bodawpaya (1782-1819) arrested four famous Myanmar Muslims Moulvis (Imams) from Myedu and killed them in Ava, capital after they refused to eat pork. According to the Myedu Muslims and Myanmar Muslims version there were seven dark days after that execution and the king later apologize and recognized them as saints. [114]
Muslims under U Nu
U Nu’s Muslim Ministers ordered to stay awy from Religious activities
After the independence, Prime Minister U Nu appointed few Muslims into his cabinet. They were not included as the representatives of the Myanmar Muslims but on their own capacity as the political ally of the Prime Minister and the ruling party. They were even told to dissociate themselves from the Islamic Religious activities.
AFPFL expelled Burma Muslim Congress
The BMC, Burma Muslim Congress was founded almost at the same time with the AFPFL, Anti-Fascist Peoples’ Freedom Party of General Aung San and U Nu before World War Two. On 25.12 45 in Pyin Mana, U Razak was elected the President of BMC and decided to join AFPFL. U Razak was elected AFPFL President in the Mandalay district in 1946. Later the Governor accepted him as the member of constitutional council. He had a very good relations with Buddhist and even fluent in Pali(Buddhist scriptures are written in this ancient language of India). He became the Minister of Education and Planning in Bogoke’s (General Aung San) Government and was assassinated together later. [115] But he had supported the main policy of the AFPFL: that is against the partition along the community or religious lines. U Razak and his few associates objected to the struggle of those demanding specific constitutional guarantees for the Myanmar Muslim minority. So, although U Razak was a very popular, important and prominent Myanmar Muslim leader who had successfully organized the Myanmar Muslims to be able to get an official record that they had participated since the very beginning of the Burmese National struggle towards independence.
His stand of united Burmese (Myanmar) nation sacrificing the long-term interest of guarantee for the rights of Minority Myanmar Muslim satisfied not only the Burmese Buddhist leaders of the AFPFL, but strangely also the British Government. May be because of that he got a lot of personal rewards. U Raschid and more prominently U Khin Maung Lat, follows the general policy of sacrificing the Rights and Interests of the Myanmar Muslim Community for ‘the country and their party’. So no wander most of the Myanmar Muslims later refused to regard or recognize these ‘self interested’ seasoned politicians as their true representatives or saviors. Prime Minister U Nu, just few months after independence of Burma, requested the Burma Muslim Congress to resign its membership from AFPFL. In response to that U Khin Maung Lat, the new President of BMC decided to discontinue the Islamic Religious activities of the BMC and rejoined the AFPFL. Later he became the Minister of Justice but no more represented the wishes of Myanmar Muslim community. The newly formed The Burmese Muslim League requested a special government department for the Muslim affairs to determine their own future, as the same as for other minorities, who had Ministries in Yangon and governments in their states. U Nu removed the Burma Muslim Congress from AFPFL on 30.9.1956. BMC was asked to dissolve since 1955. Later U Nu decreed the Buddhism as the state religion of Burma against the will of the Ethnic Minorities and various religious organizations including Myanmar Muslims. U Nu as the devoted Buddhist was pressured the wealthy and influential Hindi merchants ordered the prohibition of slaughtering the cattle. Although he relaxed that during the Kurbani Edd (Hariraya Haji), Muslims had to apply the permits for each cattle and strictly follow under police supervision. Although General Ne Win revoked the first order and allow the slaughter of cattle for daily consumption, the second order of strict restriction for the sacrifice remained up to the present and the Muslims. Even Mosques’ official who failed to adhere to the permitted number of cattle are arrested and punished. And some Muslims complained that U Nu’s government had made more difficult conditions and regulations for the Haj pilgrimage than the Buddhists pilgrims going to Sri Lanka and Nepal.

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