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Myanmar butts into pope’s conversations

YANGON (AsiaNews): A couple of days before departing for Rome, Charles Cardinal Bo, from Yangon, was asked by government officials not to use the word Rohingya when speaking about the Rohingya people with Pope Frances.

It was reported by Muzzimi News that officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the Union of Myanmar approached Cardinal Bo.

Pope Francis is one of the few world leaders to have appealed to the international community on behalf of the Rohingya people.

Ministry officials asked Cardinal Bo to refer to them as Bengalis or Muslims from the Rahkine state.

Cardinal Bo told AsiaNews that  because of the extremely sensitive nature of the topic that he would use the word Rohingya to refer to the issue and then Muslims from the Rahkine state when speaking with the pope on the matter.

He said that the believes it is not appropriate to refer to the Rohingya as Bengalis, as their ancestors have been living in what is today Myanmar for over 100 years.

Cardinal Bo said that he was visited by government officials before he left Yangon and told the minister also wanted to speak with him, but the two never met.

The attempt to censor even private conversations between a cardinal from Myanmar and the pope is a sign that the government is trying to cover up problems.


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