The monks, clad in vermillion robes and flip flops, line up from old to young to receive a meal in their alms bowls — rice, vegetables, cookies — all donated by local villagers.
It’s a potent act of religious devotion that takes place every day across countless communities in Myanmar, an overwhelmingly Buddhist country.
But powerful clerical voices here believe their faith — and by extension, these traditions — is in danger.
The main threat? Islam, says Thaw Parka, a monk who speaks for a hardline, monk-led Buddhist nationalist group known as Ma Ba Tha — the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion.
Its role in sowing anti-Muslim sentiment is coming under scrutiny as a brutal crackdown unfolds in Rahkine State in western Myanmar, sending more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh.
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Published: November 26, 2017.