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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid