Burmaysi President Joko Widodo has declared that religious institutions should be allowed to reopen in a bid to ease the country’s increasingly dire religious situation.
In a new speech, Mr Widodo announced that a new law would allow the reopening of five religious temples and the restoration of six others.
“There is nothing wrong in reopening these temples,” Mr Widdo said.
“They are in need of restoration.
They are not in need for renovation, and there is no need to tear them down.”
He also said the government was ready to restore Buddhist temples in the capital, Bagan, and the rest of the country, including in the north.
“Buddhist temples are not only a part of our heritage, but also belong to us as citizens.
We have no choice but to re-open them,” Mr Joko said.
Mr Joko also pledged to bring back religious education in schools and said the country was on track to do so.
“We are on track for a religious education law,” he said.”[The new law] will ensure the schools are properly equipped to teach religious values and the people’s religious values.”
The Burmosesis religious culture is increasingly under pressure from the government, which is under fire for its heavy-handed crackdown on the religious activities of the Muslim minority.
The Burmyis have been at the forefront of protests in recent months against the authorities, who have killed thousands of protesters and arrested hundreds of religious leaders and students.
More than a quarter of the population are Muslims.