Monday, September 25, 2017

Meiktila Muslims seek permission to use mosques

Displaced Muslims sheltering in relief camps in Meiktila have requested permission from the authorities to attend prayers in more of the town's mosques ahead of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, which got underway on June 29.

Islam children reading Korean at district stadium relief camp in third week of May. (Si Thu Lwin/The Myanmar Times)Islam children reading Korean at district stadium relief camp in third week of May. (Si Thu Lwin/The Myanmar Times)

So far the authorities have given permission for Muslims to pray in six of the town's 13 mosques but Muslims say this is not enough.

The Myanmar Muslim Association has asked the district administration office to let them pray in other mosques that were only lightly damaged during violence in March 2013.

"If they permit it now we still have time to clean up [the mosques] and hold prayers," said U Myo, a Muslim from the relief camp set up in a transportation and communication centre in Meiktila.

"Praying at the mosque is more meaningful than praying at the refugee camp and more pleasant. During this period, we stay at the mosque the whole day and say prayers," said U Phoe Sate, a displaced Muslim man sheltering in the relief camp situated in the district stadium.

More than 10,000 people were displaced by communal violence in Meiktila in May 2013. Of these, around one-third are still living in relief camps, of which there are five. Of the 13 mosques that existed before the violence only six mosques were undamaged.

Translation by Khant Lin Oo