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PART I: Religious Persecution Today- Myanmar

Barrack Obama, the current president of The United States, recently commented on ISIS during the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 5, and has caused some criticism for his remarks in which he compared the acts of Islamic militant group ISIL, to the past atrocities of Christian missionaries and those who committed other violent acts in the name of Christianity. The comment is causing outrage among some, who believe that his comment is offensive to Christian believers both in the U.S., and around the world. The video below from C-SPAN and re-posted by gorapapo, outlines his speech.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history… and lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

– Barack Obama, National Prayer Breakfast 2015

Obama’s comments bring to light a reality that even in our modern world, where tolerance for other religions and people has greatly increased, many people around the world still face persecution for their religious beliefs. The map below shows levels of relgious persecution in countries around the world.

https://i0.wp.com/thespeaker.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ScreenHunter_1379-Nov.-04-17.00.jpg?resize=899%2C507

Religious persecution worldwide, The Speaker

This is the first of a three part series that looks at religious persecution in the world today, in countries like Myanmar, Nigeria and Israel, where we will take a closer look at the challenges of a diverse religious world.

 

Myanmar: Christian and Muslim Conflict

Muslim protesters in Myanmar, Wikicommons

In Myanmar, there are a few different religious groups that are facing persecution. The first, is a Rohingya Muslim minority in a majority Buddhist country, and the second a christian population in the Chin state, which lies on northwest border of Myanmar.

 The Chin Human Rights Organization estimates that Myanmar’s Ministry of Religious Affairs is responsible for destroying at least 13 large crosses, with the 4 more crosses destroyed as of recent.

“The previous regime repressed the Christian religion. The army pulled down crosses, which are sacred. The new government is doing the same and is refusing permission to build new churches.”

– Daw Zar Tlem, a member of Myanmar’s House of Representatives, representative of Chin State. (Comment from Huffington Post article)

Discrimination against Christians in the area contradicts some figures on the religious beliefs of the population. In fact, the Ministry of Religious Affairs reports that there are 108 Buddha images and shrines in Chin State, compared to 1,958 christian churches. It appears that Christianity is actually the majority in this situation, which goes to show that even a religion that is seen as dominant in the world today, can still experience discrimination on subtle and larger fronts.

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