While the Pope ended up expressing sympathy for the well-promoted Rohingya Muslims, he said nothing about the Christians in Myanmar who are being persecuted by Rohingya and other Muslims.
Other Christian minorities, including the Chin in northern Myanmar and the Karen in the eastern part of the country, also face Muslim oppression. The Catholic Bishop Raymond Sumlut Gam of Myanmar’s Bhamo Diocese suggested that the Pope is misinformed about the nuances of the Rohingya issue: “We are afraid that the pope does not have sufficiently accurate information, and is releasing statements that do not reflect reality.”
Myanmar’s government and people have legitimate cause for concern regarding Islamist extremism. After all, the army’s assault on the Rohingya of northern Rakhine was precipitated by Muslim attacks on local police stations. Moreover, members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) are receiving military training from Islamic terrorist groups in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Rohingya diaspora in Saudi Arabia also appears to be coordinating Myanmar-based militants with Pakistani terrorist groups such as like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The Pope’s trip to Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh is occurring against a backdrop of political turmoil and criticism by some Vatican watchers. The visit may also present personal danger for the Holy Father. Although no one, of course, condones violence and mass expulsion, there has been been indignation, expressed by the spokesperson for Myanmar’s Bishop Conference, as to the Pope’s concern for the human rights of Muslims while failing to comment on the regime’s persecution of Christian minorities in Myanmar.
Although the Pope’s schedule is filled with pastoral events with the Catholic faithful, the international media appears to be focusing on Myanmar’s volatile religious and ethnic issues. Pope Francis’s visit has been opposed by some in the country’s Buddhist majority, in light of the Pontiff’s August 27 comments in St. Peter’s Square: “Sad news has reached us of the persecution of our Rohingya brothers and sisters, a religious minority. I would like to express my full closeness to them – and let all of us ask the Lord to save them, and to raise up men and women of good will to help them, who shall give them their full rights.”
From CIW NEWS Contributor
Myanmar crime immigration war infowar
Myanmar (MM) is estimated to have a population of 54.6 million with a growth rate during 2010-2015 of 0.8% pa.
At the same rate of change, in five years' time its population will increase by 2.2 million.