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Myanmar Buddhist leaders examine ways to end sectarian violence

Source: Reuters - Fri, 14 Jun 2013 15:04 PM
Author: Reuters
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Buddhist leaders and monks gather at a monastery in Yangon Thursday -- hoping to find a way to end the conflicts between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar.

They propose a new law -- which will grant individuals the right to change religions only if they choose to do so. As it stands now Burmese women who marry Muslims have to give up Buddhism -- the new law would change that.

(SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) MONK WIRATHU, MEMBER OF GROUP PROPOSING NATIONAL BUDDHIST PROTECTION LAW, SAYING:

"This law is my dream. I've given speeches like this in different places so that we could propose this law."

The meeting comes several weeks after the latest outbreak of sectarian violence that killed one man in the north of the country. About 1,200 Muslim residents were forced to find shelter at a Buddhist monastery after their homes were burned.

In March Religious unrest also erupted in the central part of the country killing at least 44 people over a course of three days.

Muslims make up about 5 percent of the estimated 60 million people in Myanmar.

The unleashing of ethnic and religious violence after 49 years of military rule raises questions over whether reformist government has full control over security forces as the country goes through its most dramatic changes since a coup in 1962.

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