Critical Commentary: Hundreds of Buddhists in Myanmar protest Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s upcoming visit

Posted on November 19, 2013 by



There have been numerous incidents of violence in Myanmar in the past year due to conflicts between Muslim and Buddhist peoples.  An article called Hundreds of Buddhists in Myanmar protest Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s upcoming visit, written by Niniek Karmini explains a specific incident.  The purpose of this article is to explain the protests against the Organization of Islamic Cooperation by Buddhists and to give a mostly unbiased view of the situation.

In the largest city in Myanmar, Yangon, Buddhists protest the visitation of a group of representatives from various Islamic countries.  While this article was written on November 12, 2013, the delegates were going to arrive on November 13th.   These representatives were coming to discuss with government officials the problems that have risen because of the persecution of what is predominantly Muslims.  The article states that “More than 240 people have died and 240,000 others have been forced to flee their homes” as a result of this violence (Karmini).   The arguments made by Buddhists are that the international humanitarian organizations that work in Myanmar are biased towards the Rohingya Muslims and therefore should not be involved in their internal political affairs.   Even though the organizations have denied the bias, they have still been forced to shut down in certain areas for a time due to treats.

This article was written by a journalist from The Associated Press, which, along with the New York Times shows that this article is a reliable source.  It was written very professionally, without a large bias towards a specific side of the issue.  The article analyzed the opinions on both sides, the urge for assistance and support shown by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the protectiveness of the Buddhists in the community.  The article does include statistics and facts that are negative towards the Buddhists, but to show equal support of them they include quotes from Buddhist representatives in order for them to give firsthand justification of their actions.  The key is that the author, Niniek Karmini did include quite a few facts so that the reader can understand the context of the situation even if they were not previously familiar with it.  The bias that comes into play in this article is because of the layout of the article. It begins by explaining the situation with a more negative aspect towards the Buddhists.  Because of this the natural bias of the reader is to support the persecuted Muslims.  It is only later in the article that any credit is given to the Buddhists.  The photos used in the article aren’t negative, but the Buddhists shown in the picture look quite angry, which is not a fully positive view because the protest isn’t calm but instead is angry and passionate.  It makes them seem (and the article coincides) very unsympathetic to the struggles of the Muslims, and the purpose of the visitation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.  Another form of bias shown is the language used.  Bloodshed and victims are both very emotional words, and they are used to describe the Muslim people and what they experienced.


Karmini, Niniek. “Hundreds of Buddhists in Myanmar protest Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s upcoming visit.” The    Washington         Post, Novem 12, 2013.                           organization-     of-islamic-cooperations-upcoming-visit/2013/11/12/f483ccc4-4b7f-11e3-bf60-c1ca136ae14a_story.html                       (accessed November 18, 2013).



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Posted in: Buddhism, Islam