Religion laws will fragment dream of a united Myanmar – Cardinal Bo

11 September 2015
Religion laws will fragment dream of a united Myanmar – Cardinal Bo
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo Photo: Mizzima

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon has urged Myanmar’s president to review a set of controversial laws that could target religious minorities, saying the legislation will fragment “the dream of a united Myanmar” UCAnews reported on 10 September.
In a written appeal on 10September, the cardinal condemned a package of legislation known as the race and religion laws. 
“Parliament was coerced by a fringe group of religious elite to enact four black laws, virtually fragmenting the dream of a united Myanmar,” the cardinal said in a strongly worded statement. “That these four bills were conceived not by the elected representatives of the Myanmar people, but by an extra-constitutional fringe element … is a dangerous portend for the fledgling democracy.”
The restrictive legislation had been championed by hard-line Buddhist monks from a group known as Ma Ba Tha, or the Committee for the Protection of Race and Religion.
The laws include a population control bill imposing mandatory “birth spacing” between a woman’s pregnancies; a monogamy law setting punishments for people with more than one spouse; an interfaith marriage law requiring Buddhist women to register their marriages in advance if they want to wed a non-Buddhist man; and a law regulating religious conversions.