The Myanmar government has banned this week’s issue of Time magazine because of its cover story, which is about an extremist Buddhist monk accused of promoting violence against Muslims in the country.
On Tuesday, Myanmar government spokesman Ye Htut posted news of the ban on his Facebook page.
The latest issue of Time magazine features a picture of the radical Buddhist monk Wirathu on the cover with the headline “The Face of Buddhist Terror.”
"The article entitled 'The Face of Buddhist Terror' in Time magazine July 1 issue is prohibited from being produced, sold or and distributed in original copy or photocopy in order to prevent further racial and religious conflicts," Ye Htut said.
Rohingya Muslims have been denied Myanmar citizenship since a new citizenship law was enacted in 1982, and there have been a number of attacks on Rohingyas over the past year.
And the situation has recently deteriorated for the other Muslims of Myanmar.
The violence that originally targeted Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar is beginning to spread to other parts of the country, where Muslims who have been granted citizenship are now being attacked, according to the website burmamuslims.org.
About 800,000 Rohingyas in the western state of Rakhine are deprived of citizenship rights due to the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of citizenship and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion, and displacement.
The Myanmar government has so far refused to extricate the stateless Rohingyas from their citizenship limbo, despite international pressure to give them a legal status.
Rohingya Muslims have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar for many years.
Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in recent attacks by extremists who call themselves Buddhists.
The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and have set fire to their homes in several villages in Rakhine. Myanmar army forces allegedly provided the fanatics containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers, who were then forced to flee.
Myanmar’s government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also come under fire for her stance on the violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has refused to censure the Myanmar military for its persecution of the Rohingyas, although she recently condemned the decision by local officials in Rakhine state to enforce a two-child policy on Rohingya Muslims.
Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued separate statements, calling on Myanmar to take action to protect the Rohingya Muslim population against extremists.