Interreligious dialogue is the only way to solve Rohingya crisis: Archbishop

The prelate was commenting on an issue of major tension in Myanmar, after the call by the United Nations in a resolution dated November 20 urging Naypyidaw to grant citizenship to the Muslim minority.

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Myanmar
Nov 26 2013, 6:33 PM
Interreligious dialogue is the only way to solve Rohingya crisis: Archbishop
Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon.

Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon says interreligious dialogue will be the best solution to Rohingya issue that troubles the nation.

"Serious dialogue among religious leaders would have more weight than any political decision," he said.

The prelate was commenting on an issue of major tension in Myanmar, after the call by the United Nations in a resolution dated November 20 urging Naypyidaw to grant citizenship to the Muslim minority. 

Burmese authorities, who argue that the Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, immediately rejected the call.

The main opposition party, the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi, shared the government opinion.

Clashes between different ethnic and religious groups in Myanmar have raised tensions, especially in western Rakhine state where fights had broken out between native Arakanese Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.

Rape and murder of a young Buddhist woman sparked a spiral of terror, leaving large-scale death and destruction in the last two years, and displacing over 160,000 people. Many have sought refuge outside Myanmar to escape attacks by the Buddhist extremist ‘969 Movement’.

United Nations estimates that there are at least 800,000 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The Myanmar government considers them illegal immigrants and deny them constitutional rights.

The Archbishop of Yangon explained that Rohingyascame to Myanmar a hundred years ago and is the population of Rakhine State. At the same time, there is a large number who only recently moved to Rakhine. Citizenship must be assessed case by case and cannot be generalized.

The prelate expressed compassion for the country’s Muslims, who are subjected to constant attacks. He alsorequestedthe international Muslim community to understand the fear that ordinary citizens have of Muslims.

"Where there is dialogue, hate speech and misunderstandings give way to solidarity and empathy," Archbishop Boemphasised the need for dialogue and asked religion be taught in schools so that pupils can learn about the positive aspects of other faiths.

Source: AsiaNews