Ba Sein (Religious Affairs)
It is known that there has already been freedom of religion in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar since a thousand years ago. Altogether 135 national races have been living harmoniously and peacefully in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar since dawn of ancient history of Myanmar. There have been also different religious faiths such as Buddhism, Christianity, Islamism, Hinduism, Animism and others since then. According to the statistical census of 2014, the whole population of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar are over 50 millions. About 89.8 per cent of the present population of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar believe in Buddhism, and about 6.3 per cent in Christianity, about 2.3 per cent in Islamism, about 0.5 per cent in Hinduism, 0.8 per cent in Animism, 0.2 per cent in others and 0.1 in not any faith. The Myanmar national races live harmoniously and peacefully and always pay respect and loving-kindness to each other in spite of their different religious faiths, and any problems, difficulties and conflicts never arise among them relating to their belief in different religions. They have lived harmoniously in peace leading to stability of the State, community peace and tranquility, prevalence of law and order since Myanmar has regained her Independence in 1948. During the period of the British Colonial Government, Myanmar national races were oppressed under their rules of separation. However, Myanmar national races were united to fight for Independence and protect their own culture and religions.
After having regained Independence, the people and Government of the Union of Myanmar confirm and adopt one clause on, “the freedom of religion”, in the constitution of the state, all Myanmar national races shall share equal rights and responsibilities for the freedom of religion from generation to generation.
Many Buddhist monasteries, Christian churches, Islamic mosques, Hindu temples and other religious buildings stand side by side throughout the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and it is a significant symbol of freedom of religion.
And also, financial grants and other necessary materials for the communities of religion are supported and provided by the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in order to promote and flourish their religions. The Ministry of Religious Affairs, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, now and then makes necessary arrangements for the religious leaders to go abroad for attending their religious meetings, conferences and seminars which will be held and organized in respective nations.
A large number of books, periodicals, journals, magazines and others on religions are freely published and distributed in accordance with the constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Talks and messages of their holydays are allowed to be broadcast every year, and travelling free pass is also issued to the religious leaders of the religious organizations in order to visit their respective communities throughout the Republic of the Union of Myanmar at any time. Haj pilgrims of Islamic community in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar are yearly sent to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for Haj pilgrimage there.
Similarly, the Buddhist people throughout the nation are allowed to visit the four sacred places of the inspiring Awareness and Apprehension of the Omniscient Buddha in India and Nepal every year.
All these noble functions of the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar fully guarantee freedom of religion for all national races in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
According to 1997 statistics, there are altogether 51,322 Buddhist monasteries, 5,200 Christian churches, 3,215 Islamic mosques, 1,010 Hindu temples and other religious buildings throughout the Republic of the Union the Myanmar.
A Division of staff for other religions is established under the Department of Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in order to carry out various affairs relating to other religious effectively. For the time being, all Myanmar national races are sharing equal rights and justices of cultural, economic, social and religious affairs and striving in unity to build a new modern developed democratic nation under the effective, wise and prudent guidance and leadership of the new Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.