Myanmar Buddhists handed out white roses to Muslims heading to pray Wednesday (Jun 5) to mark the end of Ramadan – the culmination of a rare show of solidarity in a country where Islam is often vilified.
Volunteers lined up outside Dargah mosque in eastern Yangon, giving flowers to scores of devotees heading inside to mark the Eid festival, weeks after a mob of hardliners had tried to shut down Ramadan prayers.
Muslim motorbike courier Tin Myint, 42, said the gesture had raised spirits in the Muslim community.
“Some Buddhists really helped protect us,” he told AFP.
The white rose campaign started three weeks ago after a mob of some 200 ultra-nationalists descended on three sites hosting Ramadan prayers in Yangon, forcing them to stop.
Police responded in the following days by offering protection to the shocked worshippers and an arrest warrant was issued for one protest leader.
Respected moderate monk Seindita also came to plead for their patience, handing out white roses in solidarity and triggering the campaign.
The team of some 100 volunteers gave out around 15,000 flowers to Muslims at 23 locations across the country during Ramadan.
Thet Swe Win, 33, explained the roses were a “warning to extremists that many in Myanmar don’t share their unjust views”.
This article has been adapted from its original source