Buddhists and Muslims at odds in Burma

By July 10, 2013

Burma (MNN) — Anti-Muslim preaching by a radical Buddhist monk is feeding anti-Muslim sentiment in Burma today. Ashin Wirathu calls Muslims enemies saying, “You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog,” Wirathu said, talking about Muslims.

That’s actually opened doors for Christians in a country plagued by violence.

Vision Beyond Borders’ Dyanne Romeijn recently returned from Burma. “What we were able to see this time is the result of the oppression of the government is having on the Buddhists and other religions. It truly has opened them up more and more to Christianity and we’re seeing a real openness and reception to the Gospel.”

In the past, Christians have been oppressed in Burma. Romeijn talks about one village. “If anybody converted to Christianity they would actually be kicked out of the village and they would not allow any Christian in the village. They would allow them in during the day time, but weren’t allowed to live there and they couldn’t stay overnight.”

Buddhist monk listens to the Gospel in the temple.

Buddhist monk listens to the Gospel in the temple.

Because of the love Christians are showing in that village it’s changing. “When we were actually there the Buddhist monks invited the team into the Buddhist temple to share the Gospel with them and the entire village.”

Romeijn says this is a unique time for Christians. “The Buddhists will not work with the Muslims and the Muslims will not work with the Buddhists, but they will both talk to the Christians. So, it’s allowing the Christians to play the mediators and work in the lives of both the Buddhists and the Muslims at this time.”

While genocide and other terrible things have taken place in Burma, Romeijn says, “We see how God can even use those things to turn the hearts of people toward Him and they can be saved for eternity. So, we are seeing good things come out of the difficult intense situations.”

While, Burma is opening up to the outside, that’s placing the thousands of orphans at risk. She says, “Then you have more trafficking internationally and children that are typically on the street are vulnerable to exploitation. It becomes more and more imperative to get those children into children’s homes and into Christian homes.”

VBB has produced a DVD called Trafficked that’s designed to reveal the magnitude of the issue and then brings it to a personal level through the individual stories of women. Trafficked is a film about hope in the midst of terrible darkness. Romeijn says it’s a film for Christians. “God tells us that we’re to go and free the oppressed and I believe we’re able to do that as God equips and so as we raise awareness that people can be praying and seeking ways for them to be involved and to make a difference.”

You can get a free copy of the DVD Trafficked. Just click here.

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