As a religion synonymous with compassion and defined by non-violence, Buddhism has always been seen as a gentle way of life. It is for this reason that developments in Burma and Sri Lanka appear all the more mystifying.
Since mid-2012 in Burma, a country which is slowly liberalizing after decades of military rule, there are credible charges that rampaging Buddhists have killed more than 200 Muslims and forcibly evicted over 100,000.
Nearly a thousand miles away, in Sri Lanka, which four years ago witnessed a gruesome end to a 26-year conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Buddhist mobs recently set fire to a Muslim-owned shop and a militant group known as the Bodu Bala Sena (the Buddhist Brigade) came up with strident anti-Muslim slogans.
Attacks on a perceived or real Islamist militant threat are common throughout Asia. But what is bewildering in these two countries is that neither is facing a radicalized Muslim population. Muslims in Sri Lanka and Burma are a peaceful, small minority, in the main removed from national politics. READ MORE