World

YANGON (Web Desk) – A group of men from the Thayethamin village in central Myanmar destroyed a mosque in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months, coinciding with a recent rise in tensions over how to refer to the Rohingya, the country s persecuted Muslim minority.

The villagers from Thayethamin, a remote settlement two-hours northeast of Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, destroyed the mosque on Thursday after a dispute over its construction. They beat up at least one Muslim man, media and a police spokesman said.

Religious tensions had simmered in Myanmar for almost half a century of military rule, before boiling over in 2012, just a year after a semi-civilian government took power, foreign news agencies reported.

Hundreds died in clashes in northwestern Rakhine State between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, leading to the organized expulsion of Rohingya by Buddhist mobs. More violence between Muslims and Buddhists in other parts of the country followed in 2013.

Photographs that circulated on social media on Friday, purportedly from the village, showed a seriously damaged building, furniture scattered along the streets and a large group of men roaming around, some armed with sticks.