YANGON, Myanmar (AA): Fearing violence, two Muslim religious schools in Myanmar’s largest city were closed after an anti-Muslim Buddhist mob claimed they were being operated as mosques, a police source said Saturday.
More than 100 people led by ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks gathered Friday evening in Yangon’s Tharkayta Township, forcing authorities to shut down two Muslim madrasahs in the area immediately.
“Two schools were sealed off temporarily” Friday night, a senior officer at Yangon Police Force, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Anadolu Agency.
The officer said that the decision was made following negotiations between local authorities and local Muslim leaders.
“We did it without any court decree because we wanted to prevent further unnecessary conflict,” he said by phone, adding that police at the scene dispersed the mob peacefully.
The area is home to a mosque and three madrasahs which have been operated with official permission for decades, said Tin Shwe, the head of one of the madrasahs sealed off last night.
“I understand the [decision by the] authority regarding the situation last night,” he told Anadolu Agency by phone.
The mob is believed to have been ready to destroy or torch the schools unless the authorities gave into their demands, he said Saturday.
“We are feeling very bad as they were bullying our religion.”
Anti-Muslim movements have been on the rise in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar since an outbreak in communal violence in the western Rakhine state in 2012.
[Archive Photo: Protests by Buddhist monks and other nationalists demanding Government ban word Rohingya in Myanmar on 22 May 2016.