Source: National Post
It’s not a trick question, and it’s not a joke. You get violence, rape, riots and death. It all started with the rape of a Buddhist girl by 3 Muslims, and then it turned to war.
YANGON — Homes burned and gunshots rang out as sectarian violence raged for a fifth day on Tuesday between Muslims and Buddhists, threatening Burma’s nascent democracy.
Security forces struggled to stem the worst communal violence since a reformist government replaced an oppressive junta last year and vowed to forge unity in one of Asia’s most ethnically diverse countries.
President Thein Sein faces mounting international pressure to end the bloodshed in coastal Rakhine state and quell growing nationalist anger in the predominantly Buddhist country against stateless Muslim Rohingyas before the violence spreads further.
The unrest undermines the carefully crafted image of ethnic unity and stability that persuaded the U.S. and Europe to suspend economic sanctions on Burma, while increasing curfews could threaten tourism and foreign investment — rewards for emerging from nearly half a century of army rule.
Fires engulfed homes and gunshots rang through the streets of Sittwe, a port town riven by tensions between Buddhists and Rohingyas, who have long demanded recognition as an indigenous ethnic group but are denied citizenship.
Burma’s government regards the estimated 800,000 Muslim Rohingyas as illegal immigrants. Hundreds of Rohingyas have fled in rickety boats for Bangladesh but are being turned back to sea. Bangladesh has refused to grant Rohingyas refugee status since 1992.