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    Myanmar welcomes Iran’s proposal for Muslim-Buddhist dialogue

    July 7, 2013
    TEHRAN – Myanmar has welcomed Iran’s proposal to hold a dialogue
    between Muslim and Buddhist religious scholars in order to help ease sectarian
    strife in the south Asian country. 
    Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi put forth the
    proposal during a meeting with Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin on
    Araqchi expressed grave concern over the ongoing clashes between
    Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims and the appalling situation of displaced
    Muslims, urging Myanmar’s officials to take effective measure to help resolve
    the conflicts. 
    The senior Iranian diplomat also said that Tehran was ready to
    help Myanmar’s government settle the crisis and send humanitarian aid to the
    affected people. 
    Sectarian clashes between Buddhists and Muslims have erupted on
    several occasions. 
    Muslims make up about 5 percent of the nation’s roughly 60 million
    people and are denied citizenship by Myanmar government. 
    The violence first flared in western Rakhine state last year, when
    hundreds of people died in clashes between Buddhists and Muslims that drove
    about 140,000 others, mostly Muslims, from their homes. Most are still living
    in refugee camps, according to AP.
    In a recent violence which occurred in May, a Buddhist mob set
    fire to a Muslim school and orphanage, which was so badly charred that only two
    walls remained. Police and other witnesses confirmed the school burning.
    The most serious attacks took place in Rakhine state in the west
    in June and October last year, when Buddhists fought against Rohingya Muslims,
    who are denied citizenship by Myanmar and seen by many in the country as
    illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. At least 192 people were killed.