In Burma, Mixed Reactions to Suu Kyi’s BBC Statements

RANGOON — Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has received a mix of condemnation and support from Burmese rights activists and religious leaders after denying that Muslims were the targets of ethnic cleansing in her country and saying that fear among Buddhists has exacerbated religious tensions.

In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, Suu Kyi said inter-communal violence that has displaced more than 140,000 Muslims in Burma stemmed partly from an overall state of fear among Buddhists and Muslims alike.

“It’s not ethnic cleansing. … I think it’s due to fear on both sides. And this is what the world needs to understand—that the fear is not just on the side of the Muslims, but on the side of the Buddhists as well,” she said. “Yes, Muslims have been targeted, but also Buddhists have been subjected to violence. There’s fear on both sides, and this is what is leading to all these troubles.”

Suu Kyi, who has been criticized over the past year for not taking a stronger stance against anti-Muslim violence, added, “There’s a perception that Muslim power, global Muslim power, is very great. And certainly that is the perception in many parts of the world, and in our country, too.”…(…)

The Irrawaddy, 10/25/2013

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