Once again, Hell hath no fury like a Buddhist scorned. In their ongoing campaign stop Muslims from turning Myanmar into another Islamic hellhole, Buddhist monks are putting up brightly-coloured posters and stickers bearing the number “969” in stores and restaurants all over town to signify a nationalistic, anti-Muslim campaign.
Observers.france24 Burmese Muslims say it has stirred up hatred and paranoia, resulting in a string of bloody anti-Muslim riots across the country over the past weeks.
Anti-Muslim sentiment has boiled over repeatedly since the 969 campaign first emerged several months ago. In late March, rioters went on a three-day rampage in the central town of Meikhtila, burning down Muslims homes, businesses, and mosques. About 40 people were killed. The remnants of Muslim-owned stores were spray-painted with the digits 969. Many witnesses said that during all this, the police stood by and watched. Shortly afterwards, more riots erupted in the Bago region after travelling monks preached the 969 ideology. And early this week, fresh clashes broke out in Oakkan, a town north of Rangoon, where at least one person was killed.
With no end to these tensions in sight, thousands of Muslims displaced by these recent riots are staying shut up in refugee camps. According to the latest census, Muslims make up about 4 percent of Burmas total population.