Another day, another jihadist attack

(In Nice)

In recent years, the West has finally taken notice of jihadism, and started wrestling with the issue, but this kind of thing has been happening around Asia and northern Africa since the mid-600s CE. As one of my Hindu friends from Mumbai said to me after the 26/11 attacks on that city in 2008, “we’ve been putting up with this bull**** for hundreds of years.”

Buddhist-majority lands have been conquered or invaded by Muslims many times throughout history, including to the present day. For example: the destruction of Bactria and Gandhara (in present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan; the word ‘Kandahar’ may be a modification of ‘Gandhara’), large-scale conquests in northern India, the Uighurs in northwestern China, a failed attack against Tibet, recent destruction of Buddhist artifacts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, recent attacks by Bangladeshi Muslims, recent attacks in southern Thailand, and the way that Buddhist and Hindu artifacts are hidden away from public view in Malaysia. India today averages about 14% Muslim, and Hindu-Muslim or India-Pakistan conflicts still are a common theme in Indian mass media.

However, to my knowledge, other than perhaps by Genghis Khan (who was a tengrist who was tolerant of many religions), there has never been a large-scale violent invasion/conversion by Buddhists of any land, including Muslim-majority lands. I am aware of a few domestic, nationalistic, radical movements within Buddhist countries (e.g., BBS in Sri Lanka and the 969 Movement in Myanmar), but not of any radical Buddhist groups that leave their home country to carry out attacks. Globally, Buddhism is relatively small, split into many traditions, and geographically marginalized (e.g., around the edges of mostly Hindu or Islamic India and communist China, or between China and Islamic countries like Malaysia and Indonesia), compared to Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, so Buddhists often seem to feel self-defensive.

I know that there are peaceful Muslims. I have several Muslim friends in/from West, Central, and South Asia who are very nice people. As Buddhists wish for all beings, I too wish all Muslims wellness, happiness, and peace. However, there certainly is a long history of some Muslims being violent towards Buddhists and Hindus on both small and large scales.

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