Myanmar – Rewarding anti-Muslim thuggery

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A vicious racist ideology is taking hold in Myanmar, said Burmese blogger Maung Zarni. A “neo-Nazi Buddhist movement” known as 969, led by “fascist monks,” is trying to drive the Ro-hingya Muslims out of the country. Nobody is stopping these fundamentalists—not the military, and certainly not opposition leader and human-rights advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been photographed wining and dining with 969 leaders. Not a single person has been prosecuted for the slaughter of 10 Muslim pilgrims last year—in broad daylight and in public—or for the “videotaped pogroms against Muslim communities.” Yet a Muslim was just jailed for two years for scraping a 969 sticker off a shopkeeper’s mirror. The charge? Insulting religion.

With the authorities so blatantly on its side, it’s no wonder the 969 group has felt free to register and support a racist political party that seeks a “pure Buddhist state.” And why should the authorities feel compelled to act? The West has embraced Myanmar since it freed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi—the country’s president, Thein Sein, a former military commander, was a guest at the White House just last week. His regime, and Myanmar as a whole, has learned that “international rewards and accolades” come even “in the direct aftermath of anti-Muslim ethnic cleansing.”