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Legislating love: Myanmar mulls religious marriage curbs

Published on Jun 25, 2014 11:28 AM
 
A couple crossing a road before a church in Yangon. Proposals by radical Buddhist monks to criminalise inter-faith marriage in Myanmar face strong opposition from women's rights groups in a tussle over the nation's religious identity that has sparked international alarm. PHOTO: AFP 

YANGON (AFP) - Proposals by radical Buddhist monks to criminalise inter-faith marriage in Myanmar face strong opposition from women's rights groups in a tussle over the nation's religious identity that has sparked international alarm.

Buddhist nationalists, feeding off the fear and uncertainty caused by successive waves of anti-Muslim violence, have issued fiery pronouncements that the very fabric of the country's main religion is under threat, casting a dark shadow over ongoing democratic reforms.

The marriage law is one of four Bills suggested by a hardline faction within the Buddhist clergy and put to the fledgling parliament by the President.

To "protect" Buddhism - the religion of more than 80 per cent of the population - radical monks have urged boycotts of Muslim businesses, including of Qatari telecoms firm Ooredoo, despite its promise to bring much-needed affordable mobile access.

 
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