Why are Buddhists Killing the Rohingya People?

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Virtuous Buddhists observe the five precepts, avoiding killing even snakes and scorpions. It is impossible that they would kill defenceless women and children.

  1. Not all Buddhists are virtuous. Soldiers, especially, are not famous for abstaining from killing.
  2. Buddhists who are normally virtuous sometimes kill in self-defence, e.g. if being attacked or robbed. It is still an unwholesome deed, but less serious. No court should convict them of murder.
  3. Unmindful and uneducated Buddhists who have been stirred up by hate-preaching monks, or by an angry mob, may kill others for no legitimate reason. Their crime is one of murder, and a racially motivated or religiously motivated hate crime at that. It is worse than killing in warfare, or a crime of passion, or even one motivated by greed, e.g. if disturbed by the owner when robbing his house. It is premeditated, first-degree murder. The hate-preachers are extremely blameworthy here. Monks should be preaching about tolerance and reconciliation, but note that “Idiot Compassion” is also wrong. The wrong-doers deserve to be punished by due process of the law.
  4. Killing for revenge is not killing in self-defence. If someone murders a murderer who killed their own relative, it is still murder in the eyes of the law. One would get a lighter sentence due to mitigating circumstances. However, due process should be followed. If the murderer escapes justice in this life, he or she will still face it in the next, so a Buddhist should be long-sighted, not short-sighted, as told in the life of Dīghayu in the Jātaka story.
  5.  Mob rule and vigilante groups only happen when the rule of law is weak, and the judiciary and police are corrupt. This is the situation in Rakhine state. The Rohingya population have long been subjected to injustice, denied citizenship, education, medical care, and other basic human rights.
  6. Every country needs to deal with illegal immigration in a way that is just and not inhumane. Where no evidence of legal immigration can be shown, migrants and their families should be deported to their country of origin.

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