Days after communal violence rocked central Myanmar in late March, leaving more than 40 people dead and raising tensions in the mostly Buddhist country, a group of Muslims and a group of Buddhists decided enough was enough.
Thet Swe Win, a Buddhist, and his friend Minn Paing Soe, a Muslim, gathered with some of their colleagues from Yangon’s active civil society scene to see if they could work together on lowering tensions.
It wasn’t an easy conversation, even for these socially conscious, longtime friends. But then, nothing has been simple about the emergence of anti-Muslim sentiment in Myanmar following the end of decades of autocratic rule.
“We had a very long discussion that day and we got into a lot of arguments,” says Thet Swe Win, a construction manager by day, and the director of the Myanmar Youth Empowerment Program in the evenings. Instead of focusing on blame…
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