Burma & the War On Terror

The War on Terror has had indirect effects on Myanmar. Although the nation has not directly sent troops or supplies, it has felt the effects through shifts in ideology.

Although anti-Muslim feelings have been present in Burma for hundreds of year, the September 11th attacks intensified these feelings. According to the Irrawaddy, Anti-Muslim demonstrations increased in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks. In October 2001, there were three anti-Muslim demonstrations that turned violent. A Muslim man in Yangon commented,”In Burmese people’s eyes, every Muslim is assumed to be a terrorist and evil because their original anti-Muslim sentiment has been fueled by these attacks.”

However, the Americas military campaign in Afghanistan have also intensified shared feelings of retribution amongst Muslims. The Muslim man contented, “All Muslims around the world are brothers and exist in the same body of Islam. So if anywhere in the world a Muslim is injured, it will hurt us the same as him and we are responsible for protecting him.”

According to the Irrawaddy report, following the terrorist attacks the Burmese government increased restrictions on Muslims. It also sealed off the road to the American Embassy and security police are stationed near the residences of diplomats. Due to these heightened security measures, some Burmese people were under the belief that Burma was facing threats from Muslim extremists. Despite the presence of Muslim separatist groups in Burma, they are considered to be moderate compared to other separatist groups and as of 2001 there had never been a suicide attack in the history of Burma.

US Embassy in Yangon, Burma

US Embassy in Yangon, Burma

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