6 Jul 2013

Ban mooted on inter-faith marriage in Myanmar

7:50 am on 6 July 2013

Monks in Myanmar have drafted a law that would make illegal marriage between a Buddhist and a Muslim.

Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, is about 90% Buddhist, a religion characterised by inclusiveness and tolerance. Muslims are in the minority.

But the ABC reports these central elements of Buddhist teachings have been overtaken lately by a desire to protect Buddhism from Islam.

Trouble broke out in Rakhine state in western Myanmar last year between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, and has since boiled over elsewhere.

Fighting broke out in March in Meiktila in central Myanmar, and parts of the city were torched.

Now parts of the town around a mosque are closed off and in ruins.

The ABC reports no one has been held to account yet for burning down a Muslim school, killing 28 children and several teachers.

Ashin Wirathu, a monk known for anti-Muslim teachings, is blamed in part for fanning the trouble.

An ABC correspondent said he is described as "Burma's Bin Laden", who delivers lectures like this:.

"They have the belief that the world should have Islamic faith. "So it's not only Buddhism, they attack, invade all other religions in the world.

"Shouldn't we use violence and hardship on those who practice against us? Also shouldn't we retaliate against those who are bad to us?"