Ban Buddhist-Muslim Marriage: Burma Monks

Discussion on Burmese history and culture.
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Pear
Posts: 538
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:23 am

Ban Buddhist-Muslim Marriage: Burma Monks

Post by Pear » Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:57 am

Adding to religious tensions in Burma, about 200 senior Buddhist monks have presented a draft law seeking restrictions on marriages between Buddhist women and Muslim men, a move widely criticized by the country’s Muslim minority.

“In terms of human rights, this type of restriction would be an abuse,” Kyaw Khin, secretary of the All Myanmar Muslim Federation, told the Irrawaddy news site on Thursday, June 13.

Myint, a senior lawyer and member of the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network, warned against passing a prohibitive religious rule into law, adding that the proposed law would violate basic human rights.

He cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 16 which states that “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.”

The draft law first came to light during a Thursday convention in Rangoon attended by about 200 senior Buddhist monks.

The meeting, held ahead a two-day conference, discussed a new draft law preventing interfaith marriage between Buddhist women and Muslim men.

According to the monks, highly revered in Burma, the law would resolve ongoing tensions between Buddhists and the country’s Muslim minority.

“We hold this meeting with the intention of protecting our Buddhist race and our religion, and also to have peace and harmony in our community,” said U Dhammapiya, a senior monk and a spokesman for the convention.

U Wirathu, an extremist nationalist monk who has led numerous vocal campaigns against Burmese Muslims, said he was delighted with the plans.

“I have dreamed of this law for a long time. It is important to have this law to protect our Buddhist women’s freedom,” he said during a press conference.

Wirathu leads the controversial 969 campaign that is being implemented all over Burma that encourages Buddhists not to do business with Muslims and only support fellow Buddhists’ shops. Burma’s Muslims -- largely of Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi descent -- account for an estimated four percent of the roughly 60 million population.

Muslims entered Burma en masse for the first time as indentured laborers from the Indian subcontinent during British colonial rule, which ended in 1948.

But despite their long history, they have never fully been integrated into the country.

Violating Rights

Citing examples in Singapore and Malaysia, the monks said they would collect signatures to pressure Burma’s Parliament to adopt the law.

“We found that there was peace and harmony in Singapore after they ratify this law in their country,” U Dhammapiya told reporters.

“This is why we should not have a problem [passing a similar law] in our country.”

The monks added that they would send letters to President Thein Sein, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and all other lawmakers.

Yet, Muslims confirmed that the law would find little support in the parliaments, denouncing it as violating basic human rights.

“There would be a long way to go, if it is to be passed in Parliament,” Myint, a senior lawyer and member of the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network, said.

“I believe it won’t happen.”

Burma’s government, he said, “should be careful not to pass a law just to protect one particular religion,” he added at a monastery in Rangoon’s Hmawbi Township.

The new law comes at a time of growing sectarian tensions between Burma’s Buddhists and Muslims.

More than 200 people were killed last year in sectarian violence between Buddhist mobs and Bengali-ethnic Muslims, known as Rohingya in western Burma.

The violence has forced thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee their homes and stay in refugee camps.

Human rights groups have accused Burmese police and troops of disproportionate use of force and arrests of Rohingya Muslims.

Human Rights Watch has accused Burmese security forces of targeting Rohingya with killing, rape and arrest following last year's unrest.

Source: onislam

KoKo
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:05 am

Re: Ban Buddhist-Muslim Marriage: Burma Monks

Post by KoKo » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:45 am

Myanmar women's groups oppose interfaith marriage proposal

Leading Myanmar women's groups on Tuesday came out against proposed restrictions on interfaith marriage put forward by an extremist Buddhist monk.
The RAINFALL women’s organisation and seven other groups said they opposed the campaign to get the parliament to pass a law requiring any Buddhist woman seeking to marry a Muslim to first gain permission from her parents and local government officials.

"We see this as discrimination against Myanmar women," said Zin Mar Aung, a former political prisoner who now heads RAINFALL.

The influential Mandalay-based Buddhist monk Wirathu, who earlier this year launched the 969 movement calling on Buddhists to boycott Muslim-owned shops, last week mooted his draft legislation at a convention of 200 Myanmar monks held to discuss the rising sectarian violence in the country.

The gathered monks refused to discuss the proposal, but Wirathu said he is undeterred.

"I have dreamed of this law for a long time," Wirathu said. "This is to protect Buddhist women." Wirathu is seeking 300,000 signatures to support the proposal, which he will then submit to parliament through supportive legislators, he said.

The law would also force any Muslim man marrying a Buddhist to convert Buddhism, the main religion in Myanmar.

Violators would face up to 10 years in prison and having their property confiscated.

Source: The Nation

Pear
Posts: 538
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:23 am

Re: Ban Buddhist-Muslim Marriage: Burma Monks

Post by Pear » Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:12 pm

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi opposes interfaith marriage proposal

Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday slammed a draft proposal restricting interfaith marriage advocated by an extremist Buddhist monk.

"You can not treat women unfairly like that," Suu Kyi said. "This is a violation of women’s and human rights," she said.

The influential Mandalay-based Buddhist monk Wirathu, who earlier this year launched the 969 movement calling on Buddhists to boycott Muslim-owned shops, is to hold a meeting of monks on June 27 to gather support for his proposed legislation on interfaith marriage.

He is also trying to collect 300,000 signatures to support his draft law, which he hopes to submit to parliament.

The law would require any Buddhist woman seeking to marry a Muslim to first gain permission from her parents and local government officials, and force any Muslim man marrying a Buddhist to convert to Buddhism, the main religion in Myanmar.

Violators of the law would face up to 10 years in prison and having their property confiscated.

Eight women’s groups came out against the proposed legislation on Monday, labelling it discriminatory.

Source: The Nation

Poi
Posts: 540
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:20 am

Re: Ban Buddhist-Muslim Marriage: Burma Monks

Post by Poi » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:06 am

Myanmar's monks draft law banning marriage between a Buddhist and a Muslim

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

The discrimination is part of a wider story on ethnic tension that has seen violent clashes between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims.

The trouble is testing the ability of Myanmar's leaders to hold the country together, as it transitions to civilian rule.

Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, is about 90 per cent Buddhist, a religion characterised by inclusiveness and tolerance.

But lately, those central elements of Buddhist teachings have been overtaken by a desire to protect Buddhism from Islam.

Monk Ashin Wirathu has been blamed in part for fanning religious violence that flared first in western Myanmar's Rakhine state last year between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, and has since boiled over elsewhere.

He has been described as "Burma's Bin Laden" due to his extremist anti-Muslim teachings, which he delivers in lectures like this around the countryside.

"They have the belief that the world should have Islamic faith," he said.

"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?"

In Meiktila in central Myanmar, when fighting broke out in March, both Muslims and Buddhists lost their homes and businesses after parts of the city were torched.

But the loss of life and property was overwhelmingly Muslim.

Now parts of town are closed off and in ruins, a few flags marking Buddhist homes lost in the vast destruction around a mosque.

Source: ABC

Pear
Posts: 538
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:23 am

Re: Ban Buddhist-Muslim Marriage: Burma Monks

Post by Pear » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:25 pm

Anti-interfaith marriage law would restrict women’s rights in Burma

A draft of a proposed anti-interfaith marriage law has been spread on social networks since the beginning of last month. Its main intention, as stated in its Burmese language booklet, is to restrict Buddhist women from marrying men of other faiths.

“Whoever marries with a Myanmar Buddhist woman against above sections shall be punished with imprisonment of 10 years and all his properties shall be transferred to that Myanmar Buddhist woman,” says point no. 6 of the drafted law. It states that someone who wants to marry a Buddhist woman must be a Buddhist with an official certificate stating he is a Buddhist. The criteria to obtain that certificate is not mentioned.

It is unclear who initiated the proposal for the controversial anti-interfaith law. Many believe that nationalist monks started an “emergency marriage act for Myanmar Buddhist women” campaign.

According to the 27-page document, which is in Burmese, this new law is meant to protect Buddhist women who are losing their rights by getting married to followers of other religions. It says that other religions, such as Islam, force Buddhist women to convert to their beliefs when they marry its followers.

Opinions on the newly proposed law is divided. While many nationalists echo that the purpose of this law is essential for a predominantly Buddhist nation, others, especially women’s rights activists, have voiced their disagreement.

Supporters of the anti-interfaith marriage act, which is known as the National Protection Law, point out that there are restrictions against marriage with Muslims and people of other faiths in neighbouring Singapore.

Although the majority of the public think that the initiative on this act is related to the 969 movement led by monks, leading monks in favor of the anti-marriage act asserted that the campaign for marriage act has no link with the 969 movement during a press section on July 27. The leading monks and followers held a workshop to further discuss the proposed law on July 9 and 10 in order to refine it to submit to parliament.

The current Myanmar Customary Law allows Buddhist women to marry anyone, regardless of his religion. When there are disputes between a Buddhist woman and non-Buddhist man, only the 1954 Buddhist Women Special Marriage and Inheritance Act, which protect Buddhist women’s rights, shall be applicable to all parties.

Not only have online debates started since the drafted law was posted online but offline movements are also being carried out. There are campaigns that are led by new law supporters asking for signatures from the public stating that they agree to enact such anti-interfaith marriage laws. Unconfirmed reports say that some people, including university students, were forced to sign without their consent.

On the other hand, some activists have voiced their disagreement on the drafted law. The Women’s Organisation Network of Myanmar denounced it on the grounds that it restricts Burmese women’s rights instead of promoting women’s opportunities.

Since Burma stepped into its current reform period, the public is speaking up more for their rights and voicing their opinion on different aspects of law and daily life. It would be a challenge for a democratic transition in Burma to deal with supporters of this anti-marriage law.

Source: Asian Correspondent

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