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Ethno-nationalist monks have resisted a state bid to restrict their views and activities targeting Muslim and other religious minorities. In May, Myanmar’s Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, a state appointed organization representing over 500,000 Buddhist monks known as Ma Ha Na, issued a controversial order against the Ma Ba Tha nationalist group to remove its signboards across the country. The committee’s order came in response to Ma Ba Tha’s association with anti-Muslim activities and amid calls from Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government that the Buddhist nationalist group was provoking instability. Ma Ha Na also accused Ma Ba Tha of acting against basic Sangha principles, rules and regulations.
On August 1, Saudi Arabia announced plans for building luxury beach resorts on its Red Sea coastline. The Red Sea project will build luxury hotels, residential units and transport infrastructure on the Saudi coast, including on 50 islands. The area which covers more than 180 kilometers of the coastline will have its own “semi-autonomous” legal status, and laws “on par with international standards.” In other words, to promote international tourism, it will not follow Saudi Arabia’s conservative and Sharia-based laws.
Over a thousand Muslim clerics and imams in India have sought United Nations action against Pakistan-based alleged terrorist and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammed Saeed for his anti-India and anti-Islamic activities. In a resolution approved at a gathering in Mumbai on Wednesday, they also expressed concern over the threat that Saeed may pose to the world community if he and his political group ever win elected office and gain possession of nuclear arms. Their fears are relevant since reports last week that Saeed plans to enter politics by floating a new party known as Milli Muslim League (MML).
The rise of Nguyen Thien Nhan, an unexceptional apparatchik, to lead Vietnam's economic and financial hub points to unresolved intra-party divisions and a return to more passive governance. In May, Dinh La Thang, the Communist Party Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city, was stripped of his post, expelled from the Politburo and made vice-chair of a largely insignificant economic committee. The ruling Party’s reason for Thang’s removal after just 15 months in office was clear: he made “very serious mistakes” by defying Party orders and losing the state millions of dollars while serving as general director of PetroVietnam, a state-owned energy company. Within days, the Party’s Central Committee voted in his replacement, Nguyen Thien Nhan, an unexceptional Politburo member who had appeared to fall out of favor after performing poorly as education minister during the 2000s. Nhan also heads Vietnam’s Fatherland Front, an umbrella group that controls party-endorsed “people’s organizations.”
“I’ve heard this kind of talk before, but I never expected to hear it in America.”
The political violence in Charlottesville yesterday was as predictable as it was futile. One person was killed and dozens badly injured, marking a new low in the political and cultural wars that are as heated as any time since in America since the 1960s. This relentless politicization of American culture has eroded goodwill and inflamed the worst impulses in society. Antifa and the alt-right may represent simple-minded expressions of hatred and fear, but both groups are animated entirely by politics: the perception that others can impose their will on us politically. The only lasting solution to political violence is to make politics matter less.