Muslim mobs have attacked Buddhist temples and villages in Bangladesh, after photos were posted on Facebook containing images considered offensive to Muslims. Hundreds of Muslims reportedly rampaged through Buddhist neighborhoods, smashing statues, burning down monasteries and attacking houses. Buddhist families were forced to flee the Cox’s Bazar district in south-east Bangladesh as a result of these attacks.
The violence began after a local Buddhist man allegedly posted Facebook photos defaming the Koran. AFP reported that one photo showed a woman standing on an open Koran, while another showed a page of a Koran being flushed down a toilet. The 30-year-old man at the center of the accusations has gone into hiding after telling local media he did not post the picture, insisting someone else had “tagged” him in images on Facebook.
After the allegations became public, a Muslim mob of 25,000 ransacked the predominantly Buddhist area of Ramu, about 6 miles from Cox’s Bazar city. The violence also spread to the port city of Chittagong, where a Hindu temple was also attacked. Bangladeshi police have recently arrested 150 people after at least 12 temples and 50 homes were vandalized in the region.