Rome, Italy, Jul 26, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Writing in his weekly column for the Italian online journal “L’Espresso,” noted Vatican observer Sandro Magister reveals that, according to data and statistics from Aid to the Church in Need and other organizations, Christians are being persecuted in countries in Asia where Buddhism is the majority.
“In the West, Buddhism is synonymous with peace, compassion, wisdom, and ecumenical brotherhood,” writes Magister, adding that in the West it is known as a persecuted religion, with the Dalai Lama being its most noted figure. Nevertheless, he explains, “in almost all of the countries in Asia where Buddhism is the religion of the majority, religious persecution is present,” affecting all other faiths that are not part of Buddhism.
Magister runs through a list of the eight countries in Asia with a Buddhist majority, giving special attention to Myanmar—formerly called Burma—where there has been a merciless persecution of the Christian and Muslim minorities, with numerous forced conversions to Buddhism.
Myanmar, recalls Magister, is on the US State Department’s list of the worst countries in the world in terms of religious persecution. Laos, another country with a Buddhist majority, is also on the list.