Muslim-Buddhist Conflict in Asia: and how to understand it

An Article by People of Shambala

 Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Culture, Interfaith No comments
Over the last decade, Muslim-Buddhist conflict has escalated in Asia, with casualties on both sides. Although largely forgotten today, the Taliban detonated the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan statues in 2001, six months before the 9/11 attacks. Since then attacks on Buddhist identity and people in Asia has continued. In the last few months, however, the Muslim Rohingya minority of Buddhist Myanmar (Burma) have found themselves the victims of attacks, with possibly as many as 90,000 now having fled and living as refugees. As the intensity of the hostility between Buddhists and Muslims in Asia escalates, it is time to look at the history of the conflict as well as recent events.
Historical Background
The history of the Muslim-Buddhist conflict is a long one. During the eighth century Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims had lived side by side in Afghanistan in an atmosphere of relative tolerance and interaction. Many Buddhists even converted to Islam, which was more straightforward than the relatively esoteric Buddhist faith, with its doctrine of reincarnation, karma, and deities.


A Buddha of Bamiyan in the Hindu Kush.

During the ninth century, however, Sunni Turks — new converts to Islam, whose zeal did not leave room for any faith, or interpretation of faith, that vied with their own – launched a sustained attack on the Buddhists and their monasteries, driving them out of Afghanistan, across the Punjab, and into northern India. By 1021, the Buddhists routed the Muslim armies in Kashmir before being attacked again and pushed further into the Himalayas and Tibet. 
Muslim armies conquered much of India, initiating eight centuries of Muslim rule in the traditionally Hindu land. Despite persecutions – especially early on – under the later Moghal Empire (of Muslim rule) much of the better-known aspects of Indian culture was created, from Moghal miniature painting to the Taj Mahal. Sufi Islam — mystical and largely peaceful and ecumenical — also became a large part of the culture. However, the Moghal Empire had virtually collapsed not long after the middle of the eighteenth century, although it lingered 1858, when the British filled the power vacuum, and became the new rulers of India.
The British had already taken over parts of India, and had instituted Warren Hastings as Governor-General in 1773. Hastings respected Indian culture. He learned both Hindi and Persian, and translated the Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita and the Islamic texts Fatawa al-Alamgiri and Hidaya. In Bengal, under Hastings, British employees in the East India Company “went native,” marrying Indian women, learning local languages, and adopting Indian customs.

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About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

10 Replies to “Muslim-Buddhist Conflict in Asia: and how to understand it”

  1. ure the Taliban was involved in Bamyan buddhas, but AQ was much behind it & Saudi & Pakistani engineers were specified as involved — anyways, it’s noteworthy that the US just last week changed it’s swap (for POW Bergdahl) terms, & Fazl (behind the Bamyan slaughter of many thousands) is one of the 5 to be swapped — but as Bamyan is populated by shia now (specifically, Hazara shia), this Fazl swap talk is interesting b/c over the last days there has been a return to crazy amounts of shia slaughter in the region in Pakistan, including the 20+ pulled off a bus — did the sunni population (esp media) who cry about Rohingya Muslim-genocide empathize, particularly b/c of the bus parallel? nope. & btw, yes, I do think upswing is related to US swap

  2. You have to remember the vast majority of Buddhist have no contact at all with Muslims. Most Buddhist lands are almost muzzie free. Japan, Korea (south and north) etc. Buddhist are actually the second biggest religion after Christianity.
    See also this article at The Dhamma encyclopedia for more statistics, links and sources: The appeal of Buddhism

    The following is the more accurate listing of Buddhists around the world with the inclusion of the above-mentioned people (percentage of the total population who are Buddhist is shown in parentheses):
    China, liberal estimate (80.00%) 1,070,893,447
    China, conservative estimate (50.00%) 669,308,405
    Japan (96.00%) 122,022,837
    Thailand (95.00%) 62,626,649
    India (3.25%) 37,913,134
    Sri Lanka (70.00%) 14,933,050
    Burma (90.00%) 43,323,967
    Cambodia (95.00%) 13,769,578
    Laos (75.00%) 5,126,207
    Other Asian countries (16.00%) 213,492,875
    Total Buddhists in Asia, liberal estimate 1,584,101,744
    Total Buddhists in Asia, conservative estimate 1,182,516,701
    USA (2.00%) 6,135,071
    Canada and N. Amer. islands (1.10%) 368,447
    Total Buddhists in N. America 6,503,518
    Germany (1.10%) 905,657
    France (1.20%) 773,215
    United Kingdom (1.20%) 733,395
    Other European countries (0.15%) 785,700
    Total Buddhists in Europe 3,197,966
    Total Buddhists in Latin America and S. America (0.15%) 868,929
    Total Buddhists in Australia and Oceania (1.80%) 618,752
    Total Buddhists in Africa (0.02%) 194,550
    Total Buddhists in the world, liberal estimate 1,595,485,458
    (about 1.6 billion)
    Total Buddhists in the world, conservative estimate 1,193,900,416
    (about 1.2 billion)

    Buddhists can easily match muslims in population and wealth. In terms of wealth they control roughly a third of the world’s GDP.
    So these conflict areas are in the lands where the muzzies meet Buddhist. Most Buddhist never even meet a muzzie throughout their life. Buddhist have already won the economic and demographic race so this is just muzzies being muzzies. Their muzzie disgrace will be keenly felt in the years to come when they run out of petro dollars for their jihad.

  3. Apparently, the Taliban claimed Fazl was released.

    Mass Killing during the Military Operation of Taliban
    The Taliban first time entered Bamyan city 13th September, 1998 after short fighting on Aghrubut pass. On 15-17 September the Taliban launched search in Bamyan villages to find out suspect people. During their search they arrested and killed any male members of Hazara above thirteen.

  4. Bamyam close to 70% Hazara.

    The population of Bamyan Province is around 418,500.[1] Ethnic Hazaras are the majority, with 16% Sadats, 15% Tajiks,[4] followed by smaller number of Pashtuns and Tatars

    If we leaver Afghanistan we should stock up the Hazara with plenty of guns so they may return the love to the Taliban

  5. To Don:
    You forgot to mention Taiwan where Buddhists constitute more than 70% of the population, and all religions get along peacefully. Muslims constitute less than o.001%, and they are very peaceful.

  6. I find it strange that many countries in Asia, eg. Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam,(and even food packaging that was made in Japan and China have the islamic halal label on it in malaysia!) that are called predominantly Buddhist, were flooded or selling mostly food products, with islamic halal label on the most food packaging, cooking oil containers, tin etc.
    So, I just wondering whether their conflict is real or business as usual, as evidently those Buddhist countries kowtowed alot to islamic label in business, disregarding us infidels consumers most times.
    Perhaps, their reilgious conflict or internal asia conflicts were due to their economic going downhill or less tourists going to asia.

  7. The article fails to mention the central asian states (Tajikistan, Turkmenistan etc) which suppress islam with a brute force that has no equal in the world. This is thankfully due to Marxism. The Central Asian states stick to the old formula of Marxism and suppress religion and since Islam is the dominant religion of terrorism it comes for the most attention from the authorities. Islam is pretty much failed in Asia and despite halal food labels the vast majority of asians know it to be a barbaric backward religion. Buddhism is dominant and successful both materially and spiritually. In indonesia the islam there is mixed in with other religions that predate islam including hinduism and buddhism. They have banned their people from going to the gulf states to work as they are fully aware of the slave conditions that the barbaric arabs impose on their poor hard working people. Nepal has followed suit this month. In Turkmenistan they have created a new religion in place of islam. The former pres of Turkmenistan insisted it be taught in all mosques and any imam who disagreed went straight to prison. He even wrote a book to replace the koran as he claimed descent from Jesus! Let us not forget that Turkmenistan is next to Iran. With all this infidelity going on they do nothing. They are just talk. The old president of Turkmenistan famously even used to demolish mosques that did not place his book next to the Koran in the mosque. He would have the mosque plaster quotes from the book all over the mosque. Turkmenbashi (meaning father of the turkmen his real name was Niyazov) knew how to humiliate islam. And he did it right next door to the big bad iranians.

  8. Apparantley Niyazov considered himself to be a prophet. The prophet and president Niyazov, the great father of the turkmen people know to his adoring subjects as Turkmenbashi.

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