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In Bangladesh, Photo Of Burned Qur'an Sparks Attacks Against Buddhists

There are some sad images coming out of Bangladesh today:

They show the charred remains of a Buddhist temple that was set ablaze by demonstrators protesting an image of a burned Qur'an posted on Facebook. As the AP reports, the government accused radical Islamic groups for the attack and they say 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes were attacked over the weekend.

The AP adds:

"The Buddhists started returning home Monday amid heightened security and more than 160 arrests.

"Mahmud Ali, a local reporter in southern Ramu where the violence occurred, said some local villagers blamed minority Rohingya Muslims for the violence, but the [Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir] made no comment on this allegation.

"'We will find the culprits as soon as possible,' he said during the visit when he talked to affected Buddhists.

"In a statement Monday, Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia of the BNP accused the government administration of failing to protect the minority Buddhists. She said she feared that the government may use the violence as an excuse to crack down on the opposition."

The Jakarta Post reports that the riots were sparked when a local Buddhist was blamed for spreading the image on the social network. The man, who spoke to the Post, said he was simply tagged in the image of the burned Qur'an.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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