Burma Times Correspondent: January 16, 2015
It was supposed to be the happiest day in their life, but it turned out to be their worst. Along with their friends who had come to attend their wedding, they were arrested on terrorism charges and later sentenced for 14 years in prison.
Muslims in Shan state are spending their days in apprehension following the sentencing of 16 men and 4 women to long term jail sentences.
The 969 movement and the Ma Ba Tha spearheaded the propaganda against the marriage party and called for harsh sentences. Family members say Buddhist monks belonging to these movements harassed them.
One of the reasons why Muslim weddings are often targeted is because the above mentioned Buddhist groups regards the community as ‘animals who breed too quickly’. So Muslim marriages are the target for hatred by these groups.
Shan state, the biggest in the country has been plagued with insurgencies since independence. The reformist government seeks to utilise militant Buddhism and anti-Muslim sentiment as a uniting platform to isolate the state’s Muslims as the sole enemy.
Muslims are a small and isolated minority in the state and are more vulnerable than other communities.