Myanmar’s military-dominated government was thrust into the spotlight in August as international organizations raised the alarm about a crisis in Rakhine State. As many as 600,000 people have been displaced by that conflict in the three months since, with the majority of refugees identifying as Rohingya Muslims and sheltering in neighboring Bangladesh.
Before this crisis, we could see a climate of growing tolerance in Myanmar. This has reversed, as people feel attacked and accused on all sides. Even moderates have been spreading hate speech online—indiscriminately forwarding fake, accusatory stories on Facebook that assign blame to entire ethnic or religious groups. It makes work for interfaith tolerance in Myanmar more challenging, at the same time as showing why it is so important.