News & Politics

Burmese Beg Pope: Not a Word about Muslims, Please

(Photo by Giuseppe Ciccia / Pacific Press)

Pope Francis is on a pastoral visit to Burma, to support the small Catholic church in what’s now called Myanmar — and his hosts want him to avoid mentioning the Islamic interlopers they’re currently trying to expel from their country:

Pope Francis has made advocacy for refugees and outreach to the Muslim world signature themes of his pontificate. In a visit to Myanmar starting Monday, those priorities will put him at odds with his host, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and with some of his own bishops.

A crackdown by the Myanmar military has driven hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh, in what the U.S. described on Wednesday as “ethnic cleansing”—a finding Myanmar said was made “without any proven facts.” Bishops in Myanmar are urging Pope Francis to refrain from expressing support for the group during his visit.

Pope Francis “has to be very careful so that we can still communicate with the new government, with the military, as well as with the people in general,” said Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, the country’s most senior Catholic cleric.

Interesting that when Muslims all-but-eradicate Christianity and Judaism from the lands of their birth, nobody says a word — but when Christians or Buddhists try to regain control of their territorial integrity by showing Muslims the door, it’s called “ethnic cleansing.” Cultural Marxism never sleeps.

Even referring to the group as Rohingya, the cardinal warned, could weaken the democracy movement led by Ms. Suu Kyi and provoke a backlash by militant Buddhists against the country’s Christian minority.

Pope Francis has been outspoken about the plight of the group. In August, after the military began its crackdown in response to attacks by Rohingya militants on security outposts, the pope lamented what he called the persecution of “our brothers the Rohingya,” and called for them to receive their “full rights.”

Myanmar doesn’t recognize the Rohingya as citizens and refers to them as “Bengalis,” though many have lived in the country for generations.

So what? As is evident from their “faith” and their physiognomy, the Rohingya aren’t Burmese. Spread by violent conquest, Islam is not native to this part of the world; if the Left wants the U.S. to give America back to the Indians (what once was a joke is now a serious political platform in some quarters), why can’t Burma be taken back by the Burmese?

The pope’s advocacy for the Rohingya has enhanced Pope Francis’ image in the Muslim world and raised international pressure on the government of Myanmar, said Khairudin Aljunied, an expert on Islam in Southeast Asia at Georgetown University. “Muslims very much appreciate that the pope has spoken up for them,” he said.

Right. I’m sure they’re eager to show their appreciation as soon as possible.