Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

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Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby mandala » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:24 pm

More controversial news from Burma - Here are a few snippets from this article:

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=51,11487,0,0,1,0

About 200 senior Buddhist monks convening in Rangoon on Thursday have begun drafting a religious law that would put restrictions on
marriages Buddhist women and Muslim men.

On Thursday, the monks announced that preventing interfaith marriage would help improve inter-communal relations in Burma, and much of their time was spent discussing a 15-page draft law that would introduce the restriction.

“We hold this meeting with the intention of protecting our Buddhist race and our religion, and also to have peace and harmony in our community,” said U Dhammapiya, a senior monk and a spokesman for the convention.

U Wirathu, a well-known nationalist monk, said he was delighted with the plans to try to stop any Buddhist woman from marrying a Muslim man. “I have dreamed of this law for a long time. It is important to have this law to protect our Buddhist women’s freedom,” he said during a press conference.

A copy of the law proposed by the monks would require any Buddhist woman seeking to marry a Muslim man to first gain permission from her parents and local government officials. It also requires any Muslim man who marries a Buddhist woman to convert to Buddhism.


I'm just shaking my head in disbelief at this. Peace and harmony? Protecting women's freedom by restricting who they can marry?
What the hell is going on in Burma - it sure is ugly.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:31 pm

mandala wrote:What the hell is going on in Burma - it sure is ugly.
A nationalist military dictatorship teaming up with religious fundamentalism to scapegoat a minority group in order blind their opressed population to the ugly truth of their actual situation.

Sounds familiar?
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:43 pm

It is really funny that Burma may soon have the same laws against intermarriage and religious conversion that Malaysia has. It goes to show that narrow people will find ways to be narrow regardless of country, religion or politics.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby anjali » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:08 pm

Interesting development. People usually don't enact such drastic measures unless either 1) they feel threatened, or 2) feel superior. Such actions either defend against an unwanted meme or promote a desirable meme (maybe both?). Personally, this proposal seems extreme, but I can certainly have compassion for the suffering some Burmese must be experiencing to even think such action is necessary.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Jikan » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:15 am

anjali wrote:Interesting development. People usually don't enact such drastic measures unless either 1) they feel threatened, or 2) feel superior. Such actions either defend against an unwanted meme or promote a desirable meme (maybe both?). Personally, this proposal seems extreme, but I can certainly have compassion for the suffering some Burmese must be experiencing to even think such action is necessary.


I don't understand what you mean by "meme" in this context. Would you please explain a bit? thanks
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby anjali » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:08 am

Jikan wrote:I don't understand what you mean by "meme" in this context. Would you please explain a bit? thanks


Here is one definition of "meme" from urbandictionary.com: an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media).

Just like humans have genes (phenotype/genotype), cultures have memes--at least that's the notion. Over time, embodied ideas (cultures) change. Cultures will seek to propagate memes that represent and insure the survival of that culture, and cultures will also try to protect themselves against memes that threaten their survival. In the case of this thread, Buddhist-Muslim (interfaith) marriage is an idea; religious conversion is a another idea; constraint on interfaith marriage is yet another idea. At some level, it's all just ideas in competition for the minds of people, but ideas that if adopted or rejected can have an impact on cultural identity and physical demographics.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Dan74 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:28 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
mandala wrote:What the hell is going on in Burma - it sure is ugly.
A nationalist military dictatorship teaming up with religious fundamentalism to scapegoat a minority group in order blind their opressed population to the ugly truth of their actual situation.

Sounds familiar?
propaganda.jpg


I wonder though if the government is complicit in what we've been seeing. Have you seen some evidence to indicate this?
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:36 am

This brings to mind how in Ladakh if a Muslim boy gets a Buddhist girl pregnant, the community forces him to marry her. I was told even if they sleep together the boy can be forced to marry her to restore her dignity in the greater community.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:53 am

anjali wrote:Interesting development. People usually don't enact such drastic measures unless either 1) they feel threatened, or 2) feel superior. Such actions either defend against an unwanted meme or promote a desirable meme (maybe both?). Personally, this proposal seems extreme, but I can certainly have compassion for the suffering some Burmese must be experiencing to even think such action is necessary.
You'll find it is the Burmese Muslims that are suffering as a consequence of this mindset and not the Burmese Buddhists.

Do a Google search with the terms Rohingya massacre if your stomach can handle it.
I wonder though if the government is complicit in what we've been seeing. Have you seen some evidence to indicate this?
The governments inaction in regards to defending their citizens (albeit minority group) is one piece of evidence, the fact that the state mechanism is assisting in formulating and applying prejudicial laws is more evidence. Do you really need more?
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Jikan » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:54 pm

anjali wrote:
Jikan wrote:I don't understand what you mean by "meme" in this context. Would you please explain a bit? thanks


Here is one definition of "meme" from urbandictionary.com: an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media).

Just like humans have genes (phenotype/genotype), cultures have memes--at least that's the notion. Over time, embodied ideas (cultures) change. Cultures will seek to propagate memes that represent and insure the survival of that culture, and cultures will also try to protect themselves against memes that threaten their survival. In the case of this thread, Buddhist-Muslim (interfaith) marriage is an idea; religious conversion is a another idea; constraint on interfaith marriage is yet another idea. At some level, it's all just ideas in competition for the minds of people, but ideas that if adopted or rejected can have an impact on cultural identity and physical demographics.


Thanks. I understand what the word "meme" means; I just wanted to understand what you meant by it in order to make sense of your post.

Are you certain this is simply about ideas competing with each other? It seems to me instead that this is about groups of people in institutions competing for power, using cultural distinctions as means to that end. In this instance, I think good old ideology (apropos of the man represented in Dan74's avatar) explains more than meme theory*. I mean ideology in the sense of false consciousness, of being duped by power.

It's true that we should feel compassion for those who abuse others when they feel insecure (or imagine they have been made to feel insecure by the presence of the Scary Other; here think of the ideology of the Violent Muslim). Those who instituted the system of apartheid in South Africa surely suffered, and will have to endure the suffering that comes as a sure consequence of having made others suffer in order to make your life seem better or more secure. Greg played the Nazi card already, appropriately. Surely the brownshirts suffered, this should be recognized, and their suffering should be remembered in the context of the suffering they are responsible for causing. People have bodies that can die. Actions have consequences. None of this is reducible to ideas or culture.

*For an example showing just how little idea of cultural memes can really explain, here is an incompetent and contradictory analysis of the buildup to the Iraq war. It is total make-believe. Shambhala Pubs used to have this on their website in promotion of one of their favorite authors; evidently they've become ashamed of it...

http://www.integralworld.net/iraq2.html
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:15 pm

Greg played the Nazi card already, appropriately.
I could have played this card too, it is just as relevant:
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Jikan wrote:http://www.integralworld.net/iraq2.html
That was just way too boring and shallow for my liking. I didn't get past the first paragraph of his explanation: first tier, second tier, green, orange, red...
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby anjali » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:19 pm

Jikan, you make good points.

Depending on the level of analysis, yes, it's all about competing ideas (with a suitably broad definition of idea). People are just collections of changing ideas over time (mind streams).

Of course everything said about South African apartheid and Nazi brownshirts (and other equally reprehensible atrocities) is true. Who here would say otherwise? I suppose an interesting question might be, should our depths of compassion be asymmetric toward victims and victimizers?
Last edited by anjali on Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:34 pm

anjali wrote:...should our depths of compassion be asymmetric toward victims and victimizers?
Good point. Obviously not. But we also should work towards there being no victims and that requires pointing out to the perpertrators that their actions are negative and will only bring them more suffering ie we shouldn't really be making excuses for them.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby anjali » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:00 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
anjali wrote:...should our depths of compassion be asymmetric toward victims and victimizers?
Good point. Obviously not. But we also should work towards there being no victims and that requires pointing out to the perpertrators that their actions are negative and will only bring them more suffering ie we shouldn't really be making excuses for them.

Agreed! Compassionate action toward victims and perpetrators will, and must, be different. Each is suffering in a different way and requires the appropriate skillful means for that particular kind of suffering.

(As an aside: Greg, it's awesome you are getting to go on your retreat. I'm really happy for you. )
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:03 pm

I honestly think that the fundamentalist Buddhists who are against Islam take much of their inspiration from fudamentalist Islamic policies.

In Malaysia, for example, it has long been the law that anyone who married a Muslim must convert to Islam. People who leave Islam to convert to another religion can be imprisoned. These attitudes have been entrenched for a long time.

See this article from the Economist:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicd ... y-chart-20

In Malaysia, 50 percent of the Muslim population surveyed who support Sharia advocate executing those who leave Islam. In Egypt, Jordan and Afghanistan it is 80 percent and over. In countries such as Lebanon and Iraq, which many in the Western world for political reasons label as fundamentalist, it is actually under 40 percent of Sharia sympathizers who advocate executing apostates.

In the comments section underneath the survey a comment mentions that scripturally there is no basis for executing apostates in Islam:

[Qur'an 3:187] "... you shall surely hear many hurtful things from those who were given the Book before you and from those who set up equals to God. But if you show fortitude and act righteously, that indeed is a matter of strong determination."

Then other quotes follow disputing this. I wonder if the Buddhists too will soon try to find canonical reasons for the human rights abuses in Burma/Myanmar.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:19 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I honestly think that the fundamentalist Buddhists who are against Islam take much of their inspiration from fudamentalist Islamic policies.

In Malaysia, for example, it has long been the law that anyone who married a Muslim must convert to Islam. People who leave Islam to convert to another religion can be imprisoned. These attitudes have been entrenched for a long time.

See this article from the Economist:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicd ... y-chart-20

In Malaysia, 50 percent of the Muslim population surveyed who support Sharia advocate executing those who leave Islam. In Egypt, Jordan and Afghanistan it is 80 percent and over. In countries such as Lebanon and Iraq, which many in the Western world for political reasons label as fundamentalist, it is actually under 40 percent of Sharia sympathizers who advocate executing apostates.

In the comments section underneath the survey a comment mentions that scripturally there is no basis for executing apostates in Islam:

[Qur'an 3:187] "... you shall surely hear many hurtful things from those who were given the Book before you and from those who set up equals to God. But if you show fortitude and act righteously, that indeed is a matter of strong determination."

Then other quotes follow disputing this. I wonder if the Buddhists too will soon try to find canonical reasons for the human rights abuses in Burma/Myanmar.


The killing of apastates comes from the Hadiths(which are from Muhammed)
The quran teaches that Muhammed was a pure man of god and everything he said and did all muslims should EMULATE.

So since Muhammed said in the hadiths to kill apastates its perfectly good to follow and do.
Also sunnis and shias have different hadiths,so some follow different customs mixed with sharia law.

The reason also you see alot of sectiarn fighting between shais and sunnis also has alot to do with their hadiths.

For instance shia have Zenji laws which say a man and woman can be contractually married for 1 day,then their marriage is annuled the next day.(this is simply legal prostitution)
Many a sunni have killed a shai cause he Zenji his daughter.

So killing apostates is upheld in islam (based on everything Muhammed said to do being good in the hadiths)

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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby mandala » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:00 pm

anjali wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
anjali wrote:...should our depths of compassion be asymmetric toward victims and victimizers?
Good point. Obviously not. But we also should work towards there being no victims and that requires pointing out to the perpertrators that their actions are negative and will only bring them more suffering ie we shouldn't really be making excuses for them.

Agreed! Compassionate action toward victims and perpetrators will, and must, be different. Each is suffering in a different way and requires the appropriate skillful means for that particular kind of suffering.


I disagree. The "depths of our compassion" should indeed be equal. Otherwise, we're just like everyone else in mainstream society who feels "justified anger" at perpetrators and "idiot compassion" for those seen as victims.

Of course you treat different people, differently, but compassion - if we're talking from a Buddhist view - should not be dependent on whether one is a "victim" or a "perpetrator".

If anything, it makes more sense to have MORE compassion for the perpetrator as their suffering has just begun and will inevitably grow. The 'victim' on the other hand, has karma that's already ripened.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:06 pm

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260: Narrated Ikrima: Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby tingdzin » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:40 pm

Yes, as revolting as we may find examples of Buddhist narrow-mindedness, it is important to remember that Muslim women are simply not allowed to marry non-Muslim men (it is not an individual choice), and that the current trends being discussed are a natural if rather unpalatable reaction to this. I have discussed this situation with many Muslim Arabs, and without fail their internal walls go up when such a possibility is even mentioned. Some years back a wildly popular lady Indonesian singer wanted to marry an Indonesian Christian man, but she received so many death threats, from high and low levels, that her fiance decided to convert to Islam.
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Re: Monks call to ban Buddhist-Muslim marriages

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:30 pm

And all this, of course, justifies so-called Buddhists being fundamentalist pricks. I mean, after all, that's what the Buddha taught us to be, right?
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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