Reconciliation in Myanmar
Mobs burned down a Muslim orphanage, a mosque and shops during a new eruption of religious violence in the northeastern Shan state in Myanmar. Myanmar’s recent sectarian violence has been partly blamed on the 969 movement, launched in February by an extremist monk in Mandalay named Wirathu, who encourages Buddhists to shun Muslim-owned shops.
There are less than 2,000 Myanmar Muslims living in Lashio, sources said, of the city’s estimated population of about 130,000.
The incident in Shan state is the third outbreak of anti-Muslim violence to flare up in Myanmar this year.
On April 30, in Oakkan, about 100km north of Yangon, Buddhists went on a rampage after a Muslim woman allegedly bumped into a monk, breaking his begging bowl.One Muslim man was killed, and a mosque and 77 houses were set on fire.
In March at least 44 people were killed in sectarian strife in in Meiktila, 450km north of Yangon, where at least 8,000 people, most of them Muslims, were left homeless in riots prompted by an apparent row at a Muslim-owned gold shop.
Deadly unrest last year, mainly targeted at Rohingya Muslims in the western Rakhine state, left about 200 people dead and tens of thousands displaced.
Pray for nation-building in this troubled nation, and pray for the witness of the church to stand for reconciliation across divides, including crying for justice for those who are oppressed.