Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Buddhists and Muslims jailed for Myanmar violence
Court hands down lengthy sentences for murder
A woman rides past buildings destroyed during the March violence in Meikhtila, Myanmar (AFP / Soe Than Win)
- Daniel Wynn, Yangon
- July 11, 2013
A court in central Myanmar has sentenced four Muslims and six Buddhists to jail terms on various charges of murder and involvement in deadly religious violence in the town of Meikhtila in March, which left dozens dead.
The six Buddhists, one of whom was sentenced on June 28, and the remainder yesterday, are the first to be jailed for the violence. Prior to that, only Muslims had been jailed, including one man who was handed a 14-year sentence for assault.
The disproportionate punishments have led critics to claim the courts were biased in favor of Buddhists.
“We will not condone anyone who was involved in the violence and more detainees arrested in connection with the violence will be sentenced in coming days,” Tin Maung Soe, Meikhtila district chairman, told ucanews.com
Four of the Buddhists were handed seven-year terms for murder, and another two received two years on charges of destroying mosques. All four Muslim defendants were found guilty of the murder of a student during the unrest, and given sentences of between seven years and life imprisonment.
State media said recently that 49 people were on trial for murder, with scores more facing the court for their role in the riot.
Nearly 40 Buddhist detainees have however been acquitted because of lack of evidence, according to Tin Maung Soe.
Aye Lwin, a local Muslim religious leader in Meikhtila, declined to comment on the sentences handed to the Buddhists for fear of reprisal from the local majority Buddhist population, but said: “As the Muslim holy Ramadan period has begun, Muslims would not have the chance to make three prayers in a day because of the curfew which begins at 9pm every day.”
Human rights groups have accused the local police of being slow to stop the killings, and activists have called on the government to fully investigate and prosecute those responsible for the rioting.