02/3/2015 NAN — More than 1,000 Buddhists gathered by a temple in northern Thailand yesterday to protest a plan to construct a mosque in Nan province. The rally came in response to news that a group of local Muslims had purchased a plot of land in Nam Kaen subdistrict, where they said they intended to build a house of worship. Khaosod English 02 March 2015, Last update at 14:34:00 GMT Email Font Size PrintBuddhists Protest Mosque Construction in Northern Thailand NAN — More than 1,000 Buddhists gathered by a temple in northern Thailand yesterday to protest a plan to construct a mosque in Nan province. The rally came in response to news that a group of local Muslims had purchased a plot of land in Nam Kaen subdistrict, where they said they intended to build a house of worship. Advertisement Buddhists gather at Phra That Chae Haeng Temple to protest the construction of a mosque in Nan province, 1 March 2015. After gathering in front of Phra That Chae Haeng Temple yesterday, more than 1,o00 white-clad protesters, who were joined by Buddhist monks and novices, marched to Nan City Hall and submitted a letter urging the provincial government to halt the mosque project. The letter insisted that opposition to the mosque was not motivated by “religious persecution,” but rather dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency and public consultation over the project.The letter also cited other concerns, such as “noise pollution,” “differences in lifestyle and culture” between Buddhists and Muslims, and possible “unrest and violence” that could follow the construction of the mosque.One banner held up by a demonstrator yesterday said: “If Muslims want a land of peace, they must go and make the 3 southern border provinces peaceful first,” a reference to Thailand’s Muslim-majority Deep South, where Islamic militants have been battling security forces since 2004 in an effort to secede from the nation. According to a representative from the Muslim group in Nan, the nearest mosque is 130km away in a neighboring province. “It’s not convenient for us to travel, and it’s dangerous, because some people have to travel by motorcycles, so I think there should be a mosque as a community center for Muslim brothers and sisters,” Imaam Yarin was quoted as saying by Thai Rath newspaper. “Furthermore, tourists from neighboring provinces, including foreigners and individuals who are Muslim, can visit the mosque. It will lead to more spending in the region.” Yet a Facebook page that helped organize yesterday’s demonstration, called “Nan Residents Against Mosque,” cast the construction project as a direct assault on Buddhism.“The religion of Buddha has been bullied enough. The last stronghold of Buddha’s religion in Thailand is the city of Nan,” read a post that urged others to join the protest. “Our ancestors have established Buddha’s religion in this land of Dharma. The children of Nan must defend it. Do not let others trample on it.”http://www.khaosodenglish.com/detail.php?newsid=1425282802&typecate=06§ion=
No communal violence, but minor fire incidents: Maungdaw police chief
( Maungdaw, 26 November 2013) : An enquiry carried by a senior police officer reveals that the incidents related to fire on November 23 last in Maungdaw township of Arakan State were not related to any communal violence.
The Maungdaw district police chief U Shwe Than, who led the inquiry, claimed that there were two separate fire incidents on that evening, but both the incidents were not carried by any communal element.
“There were two separate fire incidents that took place in Maungdaw on November 23 evening, but it was not engineered by anybody- neither Buddhists nor the Muslims,” he disclosed.
Replying to the queries of Narinjara, U Shwe Than informed that the incidents of fire in the municipal market broke out because of an individual’s error. The negligence of one shop owner named U Abu Boko can be made responsible for that.
The fire broke out at 7.10 pm from an ignited mosquito coil, which was left behind by U Abu Boko as he went home. The fire was brought under control by the fire service personnel by 8 pm with the help of local Rakhine residents.
The incident resulted in the damage of two shops (no 2B -11 and
2B-12), which were owned by U Abu Boko and Ms Subi Khatu.
The other incident of fire broke out at around 9 pm in the same
evening at three mile ward of Maungdaw township, where a small abandoned mosque made of bamboo & thatch was destroyed. But the district police chief claimed that nobody set the mosque on fire.
“It seems to be impossible for the Rakhine people to torch the mosque as it is located at the outskirts of Maungdaw, where Muslim residents are in majority. We suspect the fire broke out from a cheroot, which was left behind by some careless people in the locality,” the police chief argued.
However, he added that the police team was still investigating the
incident to find out the responsible elements behind it.
U Khin Maung from Maungdaw however pointed out that many Rakhine people in the locality believe that it was the handiwork of a group of Muslim people with an aim to create panic situation that would finally draw the attention of international community and would benefit them.
The largest Byzantium monastery in Istanbul will be converted into a mosque after its restoration next year, Hurriyet Daily News said.
The Monastery of Stoudios, also known as the İmrahor Monument, will be turned into a mosque and be titled İmrahor İlyas Bey Mosque. The renovation of the mosque, which forms part of the Hagia Sophia Museum, will follow the same fate as that of Hagia Sophia churches in Trabzon and İznik, which had been already turned into mosques.
“I wouldn’t like to speak as a member of a council but my personal opinion is that cultural heritage shouldn’t be reflected as an antagonistic heritage. If we reflect it like this, it will damage societies on a macro level,” said Laki Vingas, acting as representatives of the Directorate General of Foundations.
Vingas added that the issue creates grief within society, and it was not only the Greek community’s problem.
“Cultural heritage is universal heritages, meaning that they are humanity’s common heritage,” he said.
İmrahor’s conversion into a mosque came at a time debate continues as to whether to reopen Hagia Sophia as a place of worship. Most recently, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has expressed his hope to see the Hagia Sophia to be used as a mosque.
Vingas said: “My personal view is that when you are trying to create a new vision you should be careful not to create new problems for the future.”
The Monastery of Stoudios was founded in 462 by the consul Stoudios, a Roman patrician who had settled in Constantinople, and was consecrated to Saint John the Baptist. It was the most important monastery of Istanbul during the Byzantium era, also serving as the center of Byzantine intelligentsia. The basilica was converted to a mosque, during the period of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II. After two major fires in the 18th and 19th centuries, the monastery was mostly destroyed. In 1946, it was turned into a museum in line with a ministerial cabinet decision.
Fresh clashes occurred in Lashio, Myanmar’s northeastern Shan state, yesterday after a Muslim man had doused a Buddhist woman with fuel and set her on fire.
Two Islamic religious buildings and shops were set on fire in the clashes, which prompted authorities to impose a curfew.
Nay Win, aged 48, was chasing after Aye Aye Win, 24, trying to douse her with fuel. At that time, the woman was at her petrol shop near the township maternal and child welfare association office by the Union Highway.
Nay Win is the Indian-Chinese man of Islamic faith while Aye Aye Win is the Chinese-Myanmar woman of Buddhist faith.
The woman tried to run but was caught and doused with the fuel by the man, who was later beaten by angry local people from nearby areas.
As soon as the information spread, police arrived at the scene and arrested Nay Win.
At 5pm, about 150 locals had gathered in front of No (1) Police Station, shouting for the handing over of the arsonist to them.
According to the local reporter of the Daily Eleven, the man and woman did not know each other before, and the man living in Kengtung only arrived in Lashio three days ago. He was staying in a hotel, the reporter said.
Aye Aye Win, whose hands, legs and hair were burnt, is receiving treatment at the emergency ward of Lashio People’s Hospital.
An official from Shan State Police Force said: “The incident occurred after a row between Nay Win and Aye Aye Win at the petrol shop. We found two stimulant tablets from the pocket of the man’s trousers. The father of the victim has opened a case at the police station.”
Five relatives of the victim and about 10 Buddhist monks arrived at the police station at 7pm, shouting for taking the arsonist out of the police station and gradually, the number reached about 30. The suspect was sent to Lashio Prison at 7.30pm, the police officer added.
Lashio Police Station has charged Nay Win with arson attack, attempted murder and drug possession.
Angry residents set fire to a mosque near Lashio Myoma market and an Islamic school on Lanmadaw Road around 7 pm. The fire spread to 15 shops near the school and was nearly extinguished by 11 pm, according to local residents.
The authorities managed to handle the mob outside the police station and all over the city around 8:30 pm and section 144 of the Penal Code has been imposed in Lashio since 9:30 pm last night.
This riot occurred on the same day the Union Peacemaking Committee and the Kachin Independence Organization held their first peace talk in Myanmar.
The majority of the population in Lashio is Chinese while few Muslims live in the city. Critics have called for the authorities to investigate which country and organization are involved in the riot and release the report to the public.
Since Thein Sein’s civilian government took office, the first riot started on June 8 2012 in Rakhine State based on Thida Htwe’s death that occurred on May 28, a day after Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visited Myanmar to discuss bilateral cooperation.
Ten days before Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Myanmar, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton told Myanmar Minister of Foreign Affairs Wunna Maung Lwin that US President Barack Obama will release an official announcement for the easing of investment sanctions on Myanmar.
After riots occurred in Meikhtila, Mandalay Region on March 20 this year, the riots had spread to other townships in western Bago Region. These riots occurred after the Latpadaungtaung Investigation Commission released its report on March 12 and around the time President Thein Sein went on a goodwill visit to New Zealand and Australia.
Thandwe: Four Muslim were arrested on Wednesday by security forces in a southern district of Arakan after some handmade weapons were discovered in a mosque, said residents and officials in the town.
A witness said the security force arrested the trustee of the mosque U Tin Aung and other three youths who were living in the mosque after the authority found several swords, slingshots, throwing arrows and iron sticks inthe mosque.
The incident took place a day before the Burmese authorities ordered people in strife-torn western Burma to surrender guns, swords and other weapons to the police within three days.
The four arrestees were produced before Thandwe Township court a day after arrest but the authority denied to issue bail to them.
The security forces combined of both police and army personnel, raided a monastery of Bodi Gom and Jamad mosque in Thandaw on Wednesday searching for weapons.
A local government official who did not want to disclose his name said that the security force could not found any weapons in the Monastery but several handmade weapons were found in the mosque of Jamad.
The authority is preparing to take action in accordance with criminal law, he said.
Narinjara contacted Thandwe police station over phone to get more information but no one picked up the phone despite the phone ringing.
The Burmese government announced on Thursday in state-run newspapers that people in Arakan state had to surrender guns, swords and other weapons to the police within three days or face legal action.
It has been learnt that a combined security force of police and army personnel have been searching for hand made weapons at many religious institutes like monasteries and mosques.
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