Burmese democracy veteran Aung San Suu Kyi angrily complained about being interviewed by a Muslim BBC presenter who pressed her about violence against Rohingya Muslims, a biographer said on Friday.
“No one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim,” the Nobel laureate reportedly said off air after a tense exchange with British-Pakistani news presenter Mishal Husain broadcast in October 2013.
The claim was made by Peter Popham, a journalist with the Independent newspaper and author of newly published book The Lady and The Generals — Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Freedom.
In the BBC interview, veteran journalist Husain had pressed Aung San Suu Kyi about the plight of the Rohingya minority, who have been hardest hit by deadly bouts of communal violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Aung San Suu Kyi insisted the violence was “not ethnic cleansing,” saying: “Muslims have been targeted, but also Buddhists have been subject to violence. There’s fear on both sides.”
Popham wrote about the outburst in an article for the Independent published online on Friday, and said it was relayed to him by a “reliable” source.
A BBC spokeswoman contacted by Agence France-Presse declined to comment.
Aung San Suu Kyi has faced international criticism for not taking a stronger stance on the Rohingya’s plight, and for failing to field any Muslim candidates in November’s polls.
She is to be foreign minister in Myanmar’s first civilian government for decades, her party said on Tuesday, giving the democracy champion a formal post despite being blocked from the presidency.
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