Buddhist monk Wirathu is accused of whipping up anti-Islamic sentiment. Source: Vimeo
Myanmar’s Buddhist nationalists have hailed Donald Trump’s electoral triumph as a victory over “Islamic terrorism” after he pledged to ban all Muslims from entering the US and compile a database of Muslim in the country.
In Myanmar, which is gripped by religious tensions in Rakhine State, fundamentalist anti-Muslims praised Trump.
Extremist monk Wirathu, who calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden” and was labelled the “face of Buddhist terror” for his anti-Islamic sermons, celebrated with a poem on Facebook.
“Public security is the most important consideration/Donald Trump is the real leader/People love him so much/Nationalism is the priority,” he posted.
Wirathu commented: “May US citizens be free from jihad. May the world be free of bloodshed.”
There are more than a million Rohingya Muslims, many of whom have sheltered in squalid camps since being forced from their homes by riots in 2012.
Myanmar accused Rohingya militants of attacking police outposts along the Bangladesh border on October 9, with the armed forces using the alleged attacks to launch a crackdown in Muslim-dominated Maungdaw Township.
“Being engulfed in Islamisation and illegal immigration problems, we the Arakanese [Rakhine] people look up to you as a new world leader who will change the rigged system being infested with jihadi infiltrators,” Aye Maung, chairman of the Arakan National Party, which has a majority of seats in the Rakhine State parliament, wrote in an open letter to Trump.
“We… hope your leadership will steer the US and the world into a safer place without radical Islamic terrorism.”
The United Nations children’s agency Unicef says has warned of the “terrible toll” on children following reports of rape and other atrocities.
The agency called for “full resumption of essential services and the urgent lifting of all restrictions of movement of health and other professionals so they can safely reach children and families”.
The Tatmadaw or military declared Maungdaw an “operation zone”, blocking aid and foreign journalists. Residents and human rights NGOs have reported extra-judicial killings, rape and arbitrary arrests.
This week the World Food Programme announced the start of food deliveries to about 6,500 villagers, many of whom have been struggling to find basic supplies since early October.
The UN has reported that Rohingyas are one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
Many Buddhists insist they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and some elements of the media refer to them as “Bengali terrorists”.
The Rohingya say they are descended from Arab traders and have lived in the area for generations.