Muslims protest closure of madrasahs in Myanmar

Yangon [Myanmar], June 01 : Muslims in the Yangon city of Myanmar on Wednesday protested the closure of two religious schools during the month of Ramadan.

Local authorities - following negotiations with local Muslim leaders - chained shut two madrasahs in Yangon city on April 28 after a mob led by Buddhist nationalist monks demanded an immediate closure of religious schools in the area, reports Anadolu news.

On Wednesday evening, some 100 Muslims gathered on the street in front of one of the two madrasahs to pray and protest the closure.

However, the authorities said the closure was just temporary. Tin Shwe, the head of the madrasah, alleged that authorities also barred Muslim residents from worshiping in six other schools in Thakayta Township without giving any proper reasons.

"We requested them to let us worship in these schools during Ramadan. But it went unanswered," he said. He added local Muslims were performing prayer at their individual places such as houses and shops since the ban.

Protesting the closure, Human Rights Watch (HRW) Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson said, "The government should immediately reverse these closures, end restrictions on the practice of minority religions, and prosecute Buddhist ultra-nationalists who break the law in the name of religion." HRW said Myanmar government has placed opaque and onerous restrictions on the construction or renovation of religious structures, as well as limits on the practice of religion, elements of the systemic discrimination facing Muslims, including the ethnic Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine State.

Source: ANI