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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - The Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion and Philosophy 2011
Title Religion: A Tool of Dictators to Cleanse Ethnic Minority in Myanmar?
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
City Osaka
Country/State Japan
URL http://iafor.org/archives/proceedings/ACERP/ACERP2011_proceedings.pdf#page=182
Abstract
Religion plays a vitally important of life among the people of Myanmar.1
Beginning from the
ancient Myanmar, even before the arrival of religion, such as Buddhism and Christianity,
religion is firmly rooted in the heart of the people. They worship and adored “nats” or “spirit”
which is a form of the reverence of the spirit of nature.
Buddhism was first introduced around 241 BC but only in the time of King Anawrahta who
unified the Burmese kingdom in 1044 AD, the utmost importance of Buddhism in Myanmar
started as political events.2
From that time, Theravada is considered as the State religion.
Today, the Therevada Buddhism is practiced by the Burman, Mon, Shan, Rakhine, and some
Karen. In 1962, General Ne Win, who ruled the country in 1962 to 1988, promised that the
government would not involve itself in mixing religion and politics. Against his promise, his
government had clamped down on all forms of organizations, including many Buddhist
organizations.3
And all of foreign Christian missionaries were expelled from Myanmar, and
their properties and mission schools became the properties of government. Religion for Ne
Win regime is to mean only Buddhism. When the Ne Win regime was ousted in 1988
uprising, General Than Shwe succeeded the power to control the country. Like Ne Win, Than
Shwe declared that there will be no discrimination in religions. In practice, the military
government has increasingly taken representing itself as pious Buddhist and Burma ethnic.
General Than Shwe said that, “As you know, I am a soldier, but at the same time, I am also a
Buddhist. I faithfully try to follow the Buddhist teaching.”4
This religion, Buddhism,
becomes a tool of dictators to demolish ethnic minorities, and it has been used as a legitimacy
to maintain their power.
In this paper, I will try explore about the ethnic minorities groups in Myanmar and will focus
upon their pain and suffering of inflicted by the military government.

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