Buddhists and Religious Violence in Myanmar

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

Buddhist monks have been involved in several waves of anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar, and certain Buddhist leaders are accused of motivating and orchestrating recent attacks.

“In the Western stereotype, Buddhists are meditating pacifists who strive to keep their distance from worldly passions. But last month,” NPR reports, “more than 40 people were killed in fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in the central Burmese town of Meiktila. Witnesses say some Buddhist monks joined in the violence, while others tried to stop it.”

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NPR reports on Buddhists and religious violence in Myanmar.

The Buddhist violence in Myanmar can be examined in the context of comparative studies of Buddhist nationalism and violence in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and elsewhere by historians and anthropologists such as Stanley Tambiah.

NIU students in HIST 740 Religious Politics and Sectarian Violence will be interested in this story.

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