Government demolishes hundreds of "illegal" Buddhist temples and Islamic mosques

Measures decided to stem the territorial conflicts between religions. The authorities destroy 173 monasteries south of Yangon. Minister of Religions: "Everyone must know that every creed needs permission to build places of worship".

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Burmese government ordered the demolition of hundreds of Buddhist and Muslim places of worship, built on public land without permission. This was stated by Win Myint Zaw, Minister of Culture and Religious Affairs, stating that the authorities were removing 173 Buddhist monasteries in the southern part of the Yangon region and another 86 in different states and regions.

The measure was decided as a result of numerous episodes of tension and violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities stemming from disputes over land. Early July, the police arrested five people in Kachin State for leading a group of Buddhists in setting fire to a mosque in Lone Khin. Yesterday, the government admitted that the four buildings of the religious complex had been built without permission.

On 24 June 200 Buddhists attacked a Muslim place of worship in Bago, near Yangon.

The disputes also involve the Christian minorities. The Buddhist monk Myaing Kyee Ngu, also known as U Thuzana, is known to have built several Buddhist stupa in the field of churches and mosques in Karen State, claiming ownership of the land.

Myanmar is a majority Buddhist nation, where since 2012 sectarian violence that has left at least 300 dead and 140 thousand displaced people, most of them Rohingya Muslims. Even Christians sometimes have problems with the Buddhist majority. In fact, they belong to the biggest minority groups, often marginalized by the Burmese and Buddhist majority.