There was welcome news on Friday that a group of senior monks in Myanmar made an appeal for peace following recent violence there that was divided along religious lines, overwhelmingly instigated by Buddhist mobs against Muslims. It is disappointing, however, that the monks, who spoke at a conference at a monastery near Yangon, stopped short of condemning the wave of anti-Muslim attacks outright.
Also, their contention that reports of some monks being involved in instigating violence, especially in central Myanmar in March, were the result of media attempts to tarnish the image of Buddhist clerics in Myanmar are unconvincing.
Nevertheless, the appeal for peace is definitely a step in the right direction and in line with the true principles of the Buddhist faith, and thus should be encouraged. If senior monks continue to emphasise the need for peace, then monks who do take part in rabble rousing can be branded as renegades. More importantly it will make it much more difficult for people in power to hide and justify their racial and religious prejudices.
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