News / Asia

Burma Launches Commission to Investigate Mosque Fire

Police stand in front of a mosque and school dormitory that were damaged by a fire in Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.
Police stand in front of a mosque and school dormitory that were damaged by a fire in Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.
VOA News
Burma has announced an investigation into a fire at a Rangoon Islamic center that left 13 children dead, after many local Muslims expressed concern it may have been intentionally lit.

The official New Light of Myanmar said Wednesday a seven-member government commission will look into the blaze, which local officials said was caused by an electrical problem.

The Tuesday fire came amid a wave of anti-Muslim violence, which has seen mosques and other Muslim-owned properties destroyed in several central Burmese cities.

Security remained tight Wednesday outside the Rangoon mosque, where riot police continue to patrol the streets. Authorities fear the incident could stoke further religious tension in the majority-Buddhist country.

Hla Tin, a Rangoon resident, says rumors of who is responsible are spreading fear throughout the community.

"People are saying the fire at the school was not an accident, someone started it. But the news released on the television by the government says it's an accident," he said. "We never believed the government news before, but now I believe. This is real."

The government says the results of the fact-finding mission will be released on Friday. Local authorities have already blamed two mosque workers who were sleeping at the facility for an inadequate response to the blaze.

Burma has seen a resurgence of Buddhist-Muslim violence after clashes broke out last month in the central city of Meikhtila. The violence later spread to several other cities, killing at least 43 people.

President Thein Sein, who leads the country's nominally civilian government, has vowed a tough response to the sectarian unrest, which has threatened to undermine the country's democratic reforms.

Last year, violence between Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims left nearly 200 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced in western Rakhine state.

  • People prepare to pray around the coffins of victims of a fire during their funeral at Yaeway cemetery, Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.
  • People carry a coffin during the funeral for victims of a fire at Yaeway cemetery, Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.
  • People reach out to help carry the coffin (unseen) of a victim of a fire during a funeral at Yaeway cemetery, Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.
  • Police stand in front of a mosque and school dormitory that were damaged by a fire in Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.
  • People carry a coffin during a funeral for the victims of a fire at Yaeway cemetery, Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.
  • Muslims pray during a funeral for victims of a fire at Yaeway cemetery, Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.
  • Police stand near a mosque and school dormitory that were damaged by a fire in Rangoon, Burma, April 2, 2013.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More