As the Muslims in Myanmar headed towards the Eid prayer, around 100 Buddhist volunteers and activists were already waiting for them at 23 different locations throughout the country, handing out 15,000 white roses to them.
That beautiful act of solidarity portrayed by the Buddhist activists — whose faith is associated with the genocide and oppression of the Muslims in the country — was received heartily by the Muslims.
The roses, according to the activists, are meant to send a “warning to extremists that many in Myanmar don’t share their unjust views”. Three weeks earlier, some 200 ultra-nationalists were reported to have forced a stop of the Ramadan prayers performed at three temporary praying sites in Yangon.
According to the 2014’s census, Muslims accounted for 4.3 percent of the total population in Myanmar. For five decades, the Muslims in Myanmar were targeted politically under Myanmar’s various ruling regimes.
In recent years, anti-Muslim violence has intensified with the encouragement of local nationalist Buddhist monks and organisation hard-liners. More than 200 people were reported dead, while tens of thousands more had to flee for their lives.
The observance of Eid is indeed a celebration of happiness and achievement. For some of our Muslim brothers and sisters rejoicing the day in other parts of the world, the Eid may mean a different angle of gratefulness. Yet, the ummah is but one body: so the question still arises, “Have we concerned ourselves enough about the plight of our brothers and sisters in a country like Myanmar”?