Armed mob in Yangon demands Muslims end Ramadan prayer services

Myanmar Muslims break their fast at a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in Yangon on June 1, 2018. – Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar during which devotees fast from dawn until dusk. (Photo by Ye Aung THU / AFP)
Myanmar Muslims break their fast at a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in Yangon on June 1, 2018. – Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar during which devotees fast from dawn until dusk. (Photo by Ye Aung THU / AFP)

More than 100 self-described patriots, including Buddhist monks, showed up with sticks and knives last night at a temporary local Muslim prayer house in Yangon’s South Dagon neighborhood to stop their Ramadan prayers, according to local media reports.

The mob arrived in ten cars and multiple motorcycles to demand an end to the Ramadan prayers being held in the three houses that the local Muslim community in South Dagon’s 106th ward had set up to host nightly prayers, despite the community having acquired approval from local township administrators, according to Myanmar Now.

“About 100 people came and interrogated us with the township administrator and deputy administrator. The police chief was there too. We closed the prayer house even though we obtained permission from the state government to host prayers for one month during Ramadan. We have the permission letter too,” U Zaw Min Latt, a member of the Myanmar Muslim Association, told Khit Thit media.

A video from Myanmar Now shows a crowd led by Michael Kyaw Myint — an outspoken whistleblower jailed for levying a very public corruption accusation against U Tin Htun, an associate of Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein — cheering as Michael yells, “we are going to shut down this mosque tonight.”

On May 14th, another mob, also including monks, attempted to shut down another prayer house in the 26th ward in South Dagon. In the neighborhood, there are three temporary prayer houses that were approved by the Yangon regional government and two of them have been confronted by mobs demanding that they shut down.

In Myanmar’s Constitution, freedom of religion is guaranteed in Section 354 (d), which also guarantees citizens the right to practice “their language, literature, culture, religion and customs without prejudice to the relations between one national race and another or among national races and to other faiths.”

A well-known Rohingya lawyer, U Kyaw Hla Aung, told Aljazeera in December that people in Myanmar are “afraid of Muslims because they believe Muslims are spreading in the country.”

“They will never accept us. They deny our existence, they consider us as illegal immigrants,” Hla Aung said when asked whether or not Myanmar would ever accept the Rohingya, the country’s most persecuted Muslim minority group.


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