msa April 27, 2017

By Saeed Arakani | April 27, 2017

Rathedaung – Myanmar’s authorities charged an Imam (Islamic Prayer Leader) with causing fire on a mosque through negligence in Rathedaung Township on Wednesday (Apr 26), according to reliable sources.

The mosque located at the village of ‘Zaydi Pyin’ in Rathedaung was torched by a mob of Rakhine Buddhist extremists on Tuesday night and the fire was extinguished by the local Rohingya Muslims before it could entirely destroy the mosque. (Read: Breaking: Rakhine Extremists Torch Mosque in Rathedaung)

The Border Guard Police (BGP) in the region arrested 8 members of the mosque’s sanctuary committee on Wednesday early morning and released them after investigations. According to the police sources, the police have charged the Imam of the mosque under ‘Section 280, Causing Fire by Negligence.’

“The BGP in Rathedaung has now charged the imam with causing fire by negligence. The police said to the media that the fire started from the reckless use of lit Candle by the Imam of the mosque. The irony is that the villagers have not used candles for a very long time. They have been using ‘tube lights and light bulbs’ powered by solar panels and sometimes, lamps.

“The mosque was set on fire by the Rakhine extremists. Since the news of the incident went viral soon after it broke out, the extremists started to spread lies that the Muslims torched their own mosque to target Rakhine people. So, police have now trying to shift the blame upon the Muslims to please the Rakhines”, said a villager at ‘Zaydi Pyin.’

The BGP told the mosque’s sanctuary committee members during the investigations in the morning that they would need to charge the Imam of the mosque in order to prevent the majority Rakhine Buddhists from being angry.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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