Think tanks: religious strife risks future Myanmar violence

Two new reports suggest that violence in western Myanmar fueled by tensions between Buddhists and ethnic Rohingya Muslims reflects and reinforces broader anti-Muslim sentiment in the country and could result in more violence elsewhere.

The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said in a report on Buddhism and Politics in Myanmar that the crisis triggered by Rohingya attacks on police posts and massive retaliation by the army has boosted anti-Muslim sentiment nationwide, opening the possibility of even more communal violence. It says Buddhist nationalists who preach against Muslims have significant support in the overwhelmingly Buddhist nation.

A separate report by Burma Human Rights Network charges that Muslims throughout the country, not just the Rohingya in Rakhine state, face increasing harassment and their stigmatization could also beget more violence.