News / Asia

Thai Monks Rally Against Muslim Violence

Buddhist monks hold a placard as they protest in front of the U.N. office in Bangkok, October 3, 2012.
Buddhist monks hold a placard as they protest in front of the U.N. office in Bangkok, October 3, 2012.
VOA News
Buddhist monks are protesting a wave of violence targeting the Buddhist community in Bangladesh.

About 200 monks marched peacefully in Bangkok, some carrying banners pleading for peace and harmony.  Others carried posters demanding an end to what they called "Muslim Terrorism" against Bangladesh's small Buddhist community.

A monk from Chittagong, Phra Jyotisen Bhikko, called for U.N. help.

''If the U.N. intervenes, if it tells the Bangladesh government to stop all this, then I think it will stop," he said. "Even now temples and our villages are being attacked.  If the U.N. intervenes then I hope this will stop."

Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims rioted Saturday and Sunday, targeting Buddhist temples across the country's southeast.

The attacks began after Muslims found a photo of a burned Quran on and blamed it on a Buddhist man.

  • 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.

Bangladeshi Home Affairs Minister Mohiuddun Khan Alamgir has accused radical Islamists and opposition party activists of instigating the riots as a "premeditated and deliberate" attempt to disrupt communal harmony.

He also accused Rohingya Muslims from Burma of vandalizing and looting at least 10 Buddhist temples and dozens of homes in the district of Cox's Bazaar, which borders on Burma.

Bangladeshi authorities deployed extra security forces Monday in Cox's Bazaar to protect Buddhists, who make up less than one percent of Bangladesh's population and live close to the border with Buddhist-majority Burma.

Bangladesh says more than 100 people have been detained in connection with the riots.

Tensions between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in western Burma's Rakhine state escalated into violence in June, killing about 90 people.  Many Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh to escape the fighting.

Burma refuses to recognize its estimated 800,000 Rohingya Muslims as an ethnic group and denies them citizenship.  Many Burmese consider the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Rohingya Muslims also are denied citizenship in Bangladesh, which says the group has been living in Burma for centuries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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