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Three Muslims Charged For Praying in Public in Myanmar’s Yangon

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Bengali Sunni Jameh mosque in Yangon, Myanmar

Bengali Sunni Jameh mosque in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Hintha.

Myanmar authorities on Friday charged three Muslims for conducting Ramadan prayers in front of a shuttered Islamic school in the commercial capital Yangon and warned other Muslims not to hold prayer sessions on public streets, a township official said.

The Islamic school was one of two madrasas that were temporarily closed in the city’s Thaketa township in late April after Buddhist ultranationalists accused Muslim residents of illegally using them for prayer services.

Authorities charged Moe Zaw, who led the prayer session outside one of the schools on Wednesday, along with two others from a group of 50 Muslims who took part in the gathering with failing to obtain official permission to pray in public, said township administrator Aung San Win.

“A leader has been charged under Article 133 of the criminal code under rural law for holding the prayer service without permission,” he said.

Moe Zaw also issued an order for residents of the Muslim-majority area to not participate in public prayer without official permission.

Local authorities issued a statement saying the prayer session threatened “stability and the rule of law,” Agence France-Presse reported.

Haji Tin Shwe, a Muslim resident who participated in the prayer session during the holy month of Ramadan which began last week, told RFA’s Myanmar Service that Thaketa’s police chief accused Muslims of intentionally breaking the law.

“I told him that we did not do it intentionally,” he said. “All Muslim religious schools in our township are closed, and it is too far for us to get to a mosque [to pray]. We were praying in the street because we have no other place to do it.”

Full story:

Reported by Kyaw Thu, Thiri Min Zin, and Kyaw Thu for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Copyright © 1998-2017, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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