News / Asia

    Bangladesh Braces for More Muslim Attacks on Buddhist Sites

    Soldiers from the Bangladesh Army erect tents at the torched Lal Ching Buddhist temple at Ramu, some 350 kilometers  from the capital Dhaka, October 1, 2012.
    Soldiers from the Bangladesh Army erect tents at the torched Lal Ching Buddhist temple at Ramu, some 350 kilometers from the capital Dhaka, October 1, 2012.
    Anjana Pasricha
    Bangladesh has increased security in the south east after Muslim protesters set fire to Buddhist temples and homes, attacks that were triggered by a Facebook photo of a burnt Quran, the Muslim holy book.    

    Soldiers and border guards Monday patrolled Buddhist-majority villages in Cox’s Bazar district. Authorities also banned gatherings as people fled after angry Muslims went on a rampage Saturday and Sunday, torching Buddhist shrines, smashing statues and attacking homes. 

    The wave of violence was triggered by a Facebook photo of a partially burned Quran. Muslims blamed the burning of the book on a Buddhist boy tagged in the photo.  

    Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir has called the attacks a “deliberate” attempt to disrupt harmony. Authorities also promised to rebuild the temples. Sectarian clashes involving Buddhists and Muslims have been rare in Bangladesh -- a Muslim majority nation.

    But political analysts say tensions between the two communities have been building in recent months after deadly clashes erupted between Buddhists and Muslims in neighboring Burma.

    • Buddhist monks hold banners and photographs as they protest in front of the U.N. office in Bangkok, Thailand, October 3, 2012.
    • Buddhist monks protest in front of the U.N. office in Bangkok, Thailand, October 3, 2012.
    • Buddhist monks hold a placard as they protest in front of the U.N. office in Bangkok, Thailand, October 3, 2012.
    • A member of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) guards a Buddha sculpture after an attack by Muslims in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, October 1, 2012.
    • A Buddhist monk tries to salvage his belongings from a burnt temple after an attack by Muslims, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, October 1, 2012.
    • Hands of a Buddhist woman are seen as she tries to salvage her belongings from her burned home after Muslims attacked it in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, October 1, 2012.
    • The remains of burned religious books at a Buddhist temple that was torched in an overnight attack in Ramu in the coastal district of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, October 1, 2012.
    • Bangladeshi police patrol after Buddhist temples were torched in an overnight attack in Ramu in the coastal district of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, October 1, 2012.
    • A Buddhist woman walks through the gate of a temple as a policeman stands guard after an attack on the temple by Muslims, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, October 1, 2012.
    • Bangladeshi Buddhist monks stage a protest in Chittagong on September 30, 2012 after Muslims torched Buddhist temples in southern Bangladesh.

    Bangladesh’s Buddhists are less than one percent of the population, and most live close to the border with Buddhist-majority Burma, also known as Myanmar.

    “There was a simmering discontent among a section of the Muslims here in the bordering areas, who thought that the Muslims on the other side, in Myanmar, were treated wrongly, or badly in the hands of the regime as well as Buddhist religious people," said Ataur Rahman, a professor of political science at Dhaka University. "People travel across, they exchange news and views across the area. Of course you cannot rule out people trying to take political dividend out of it.”

    Authorities in Cox’s Bazar district say they are doing everything possible to quell tension and restore peace between the two communities.

    Rahman of Dhaka University says authorities in Bangladesh are on guard against the possibility of social media being used to incite trouble.

    “People in that part of the country, sentiment is very important, so you can hoot up the sentiment of people along religious lines," siad Rahman. "You can always incite, and if you can visually show that Muslims are tortured, and you can show it in Facebook, and you can share, then automatically people become angry.”

    Last month the government banned the popular search engine, YouTube, to prevent people seeing the anti-Islam video that has sparked huge protests in many Muslim countries.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.