Jeddah, 7 Jumadil Akhir 1434/16 April 2013 (MINA) – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged the Burmese government to allow in a ministerial delegation to discuss anti-Muslim violence in the Buddhist country.

In a statement, the OIC calls on Burmese authorities to strongly respond to the organization’s appeal and allow a ministerial OIC delegation to visit  Burma, OnIslam reported Monday (15/4) as monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

At least more than 43 people were killed and several mosques burnt in a week of sectarian violence in the central city of Meiktila earlier this month.

The online media reported the anti-Muslim violence started by an argument between a Buddhist couple and gold shop owners and later spread to several towns in central Burma.

Monks were blamed for inciting hatred against Muslims by preaching a so-called “969 movement” which represents a radical form of anti-Islamic nationalism that urges Buddhists to boycott Muslim-run shops and services.

The violence followed attacks on Bengali-ethnic Muslims, known as Rohingya, in a deadly bout of sectarian clashes in western Burma.

“Such violence is a clear indication of the government’s negative approach in dealing with ethnic and religious tensions that erupted last summer,” OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in his speech at an emergency meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Sunday, April 14.

The OIC chief criticized the refusal of the Burmese government to allow an OIC delegation to visit Burma to check on reports of anti-Muslim violence. “Despite our attempts to establish communication with the authorities in Myanmar (Burma) by selecting a prominent figure from a neighboring country to visit Myanmar and open discussions with officials, the government was not responsive,” Ihsanoglu said.

Formed in September, the Contact Group includes 11 of the OIC’s 57 members (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Djibouti, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sudan and Turkey).

In October, the OIC tried to open an office in Burma to help Muslims there, but the move was blocked by President Thein Sein following massive protests by Buddhist monks. (T/P09/P03)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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