Crimes committed in the name of religion: Critical Commentary

Posted on September 22, 2013 by

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            In this article, written by Patcharawalai Sanyanusin in the Bangkok Post, the author talks about the current religious situation in Myanmar. Right now, the country is in a state of near chaos as many of the Buddhist majority are attacking those of the Islamic minority to quell the spread of Islam in the country. Some figures report 250 Muslims having lost their lives over the conflict and almost 250,000 having been displaced from their homes.

            The author gains credibility right off the bat by saying he practices Buddhism and loves his religion. The first paragraph goes on to praise Buddhism, which is an interesting juxtaposition from the title of the article. This dichotomy gets the reader wondering, right away, how this calm religion could be involved in the serious crimes that the title implies. The author then continues after the first paragraph to state that that being said about Buddhism, he is very disappointed at this time in his fellow Buddhists in Myanmar due to their aggressive thoughts and actions that are causing others pain and suffering. This is powerful because to say you love Buddhism and then to talk bad about it can only mean something is very much out of sorts. If this article were written by a Muslim, it would be less credible because, even though they absolutely have the right to protest the current situation in Myanmar, the article would be biased because the author would being using much more emotion in his or her writing in defending his or her own people. Sanyanusin uses logic in saying that Buddhism is commonly known around the world as a peaceful and tolerant religion; it is therefore extremely upsetting to see those who practice this religion of peace and tolerance being so violent and intolerant.

            The author then uses a religious figure, Wirathu Biwuntha, or “the face of Buddhist terror,” to further point out what’s wrong with the actions of Buddhists in Myanmar. He talks repeatedly of how this Buddhist monk is leading the attack against Islam and demonstrates how horrible of a person he is by inserting several quotes from Wirathu himself in which he bluntly states that Islam is a terrible religion and implies that all Buddhists have every reason in the world to fight against Muslims in the country. This is a powerful argument technique used by Sanyanusin because to discredit the leader of such a powerful and wrong movement shows readers just how immoral and terrible he and it is.

            This article was published in the opinion section of the Bangkok Post, a credible news source. Because of this, the news media business most likely had very little influence on the author and his writing. I say this because people don’t usually hold back when writing to the opinion section of a news source; if they believe in what they’re writing enough to submit it and be judged by readers, chances are the topic is very important to them and they’re going to say exactly how they feel about it and not leave anything out.

            Just because the author’s purpose in writing this article is to illustrate how wrong the attitudes and actions of Buddhists in Myanmar are at this time does not mean that he is anti-religion or that he now detests Buddhism as a whole because of this. He makes it clear that he still loves his religion and continues to practice, but the Buddhists in Myanmar are giving Buddhism around the world a bad image.

            Overall, the author uses great logic in his writing and has great credibility in the eyes of the reader for the reasons mentioned above. He makes it very easy for the reader to see what terrible things are going on, who’s behind them, and why they are bad, creating sympathy for Muslims in Myanmar and dislike for Buddhists in Myanmar.

 

 

Sanyanusin, Patcharawalai. “Crimes committed in the name of religion.” Bangkok Post. September 4th, 2013.

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