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969: The three digits that are terrifying Muslims in Burma
France24 ^ | 03/05/2013 | Aung Rangoon / Ko Moe Myint

Posted on 05/04/2013 10:24:54 AM PDT by csvset

‘969’: The three digits that are terrifying Muslims in Burma

This photo shows the cover of two CDs with the '969' logo at the top. On the far right is the monk Wirathu, the leader of the '969' campaign. The CD is titled "Monks' teachings: How to protect our religion and nation." Photo courtesy of MMedia.

Brightly-coloured posters and stickers bearing the number "969" are popping up in cities all over Burma. These look innocuous enough at first glance. However, “969” actually denotes an anti-Islam campaign led by hardliner Buddhist monks. 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.

The three digits ‘969’ originally refer to the Buddha’s “three jewels” , but they are now being used as a brand name for a nationalist, anti-Muslim campaign led by a prominent monk based in Mandalay. Wirathu, who likes to refer to himself as the “Burmese Bin Laden”, was jailed in 2003 for inciting riots against Muslims, but was released as part of a general amnesty in 2012. Since then, he’s spearheaded the fast-growing ‘969’ movement, making numerous speeches calling on Buddhists to “buy 969” and boycott Muslim-owned stores.

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 Burma’s total population.

An activist placing a pamphlet calling for peace between religions on the windshield of a taxi bearing ‘969’ stickers (circled in red). Photo published on Facebook by CJMyanmar. Photos of the ‘969’ campaign are rather difficult to obtain, due to the sensitive nature of the subject. However, one Malaysian journalist was able to film ‘969’ propaganda in a Rangoon market.

My sister, who owns a store, has lost nearly all of her customers since the start of the ‘969’ campaign”

Aung (not her real name) lives in Rangoon. She is Muslim.

I started seeing ‘969’ stickers and signs in Rangoon just a couple months ago. Some shopkeepers put them on their storefronts, and taxi drivers stick them to their windshields. It’s a minority, but it belies a wider boycott of Muslim stores. Supporters of ‘969’ have been passing out pamphlets telling people not to shop at Muslim-owned stores.

My sister owns a store, and has lost nearly all her customers since the start of this campaign. They know she’s Muslim – she looks Muslim, and wears a scarf. Like many other Muslim business owners, she is facing serious financial troubles because of this boycott.

“All of my closest friends are Buddhists, and all of them avoid me these days”

I recently visited one of my oldest friends’ stores, and noticed she had put up a ‘969’ sign. She’s Buddhist and has recently started treating me like a stranger, so I didn’t dare ask her why she did this. All of my closest friends are Buddhists, and all of them avoid me these days.

I don’t feel safe in Rangoon anymore. I don’t think Muslims are safe anywhere in this country right now. I would like to go live abroad, but my parents are too old to move, and I can’t leave them alone.

A ‘969’ sticker in a Rangoon textile store. This photo was sent to us by one of our Observers.

“The more we see the ‘969’ signs, the more we feel unsafe”

Ko Moe Myint (not his real name) is a technician who lives in Naypyidaw, Burma’s capital. He is Muslim.

In Naypyidaw, the ‘969’ campaign has really kicked off in the past few days. Unknown people in vans are now going around house-to-house, shop-by-shop to distribute ‘969’ stickers and DVDs. They’re also putting stickers up in public areas, like at bus stops. It’s like they’re carrying out a marketing campaign! They’re doing this mainly along Yaza Hta Nay Road, which is a major business area but is also home to a mixed community of Buddhists, Muslims and some Chinese business people.

Recently, I’ve also seen lots of DVDs of Wirathu’s speeches being sold in town. One store I went to had about 100 copies. Newspaper vendors sell it out on the street, too. Lots of copies are spreading hand-to-hand. Others spread his speeches online, mainly through Facebook.

“Some ‘969’ campaigners told people that meat and vegetables sold at Muslim-owned stores were poisonous”

This campaign is clearly influencing Buddhists quite a lot. For example, I’m currently building a house, and some of my employees are Buddhists. They’ve just quit. They either don’t want or don’t dare to talk to me anymore. I saw ‘969’ stickers on their motorbikes.

Buddhists now go only to shops owned by Buddhists. Some ‘969’ campaigners warned people not to eat meat and vegetables bought at Muslim-owned stores. They told them that it was poisonous! They said that it was not poisonous immediately, but in six months…

Some Buddhists say that the ‘969’ campaign doesn’t attack other religions, that it is just expressing pride in Buddhism. However, since it’s emerged, Muslim communities across the country have been targeted! For us Muslims, ‘969’ is a sign of violence, a threat. The more we see the signs, the more we feel unsafe. Buddhist and Muslim communities that had lived together peacefully in the past are now torn apart because of ‘969’. As long as this campaign exists, I don’t think there will be any stability in Burma.

This flyer reads: "Protect your race and religion. Avoid to buy anything with the label of 786, meaning 'halal'. Don't deal with Muslim 'Kalar' [a derogatory term for Burmese Muslims] for friendship, marriage, or business. Myanmar girls must avoid falling in love with Muslim 'Kalar'. Everyone must be responsible for preventing Myanmar from becoming an Islamic country." Photo courtesy of MMedia.

Ko Moe Myint

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: buddist; burma; monks; muslim
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To: Twotone
“hardliner Buddhist monks” - now there’s a phrase I never expected to see.

It is not their buddhism, I think, about which they are "hardline." It is survival. They have modern communications and can see what is happening to the West. Once upon a time 1500 or so ago Buddhism went through a hard proselyting phase, especially in China so it is in their heritage to be activist, even if not in their tenets.

41 posted on 05/04/2013 12:30:03 PM PDT by ThanhPhero (Khach hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Future Snake Eater

Terrified moslims, has a kind of nice ring to it
for a change.

42 posted on 05/04/2013 12:30:22 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Wurlitzer
Maybe all FR’s could add 969 to their tag line to show their support of real religions and a disdain for hate cults.


43 posted on 05/04/2013 12:31:57 PM PDT by Paine in the Neck (Socialism consumes everything + 969)
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To: jiggyboy

The violence in the southermost region has been constant and one sided for a long time. Many Buddhists, including numerous schoolchildren have died from Jihad.

44 posted on 05/04/2013 12:32:15 PM PDT by ThanhPhero (Khach hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: LibertarianLiz
a couple of schoolgirls

was an atrocity that made it to the Western press. There have been many more but the press learned its lesson from that one and reverted to type i.e. see no/hear no/speak no evil re: Moslems.

45 posted on 05/04/2013 12:34:52 PM PDT by ThanhPhero (Khach hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: csvset


46 posted on 05/04/2013 12:36:23 PM PDT by moovova
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So, it’s not just Christians who recognize a demonic lie masquerading as a religion

Hindus in India have recognized this for something over a thousand years.

47 posted on 05/04/2013 12:36:40 PM PDT by ThanhPhero (Khach hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Bryan24

I read the whole thing. There are several items there. It seems pretty straightforward just-the-facts, ma’am.

48 posted on 05/04/2013 12:38:57 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's EconomTheiics In One Lesson ONLINE
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To: csvset

When is this activity coming to the USA, UK, Europe and other Islamic over run Countries.

The spread of Islam must be stopped.

49 posted on 05/04/2013 12:48:37 PM PDT by BobNative
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To: csvset
Good post describing the gripe from the "Mad Monk's" point of view (without all the politically-correct, UN, and/or 'little ol Muslim' nonsense) can be overviewed and read HERE.
50 posted on 05/04/2013 12:48:44 PM PDT by Prospero (Si Deus trucido mihi, ego etiam fides Deus.)
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To: csvset

Why, because the number is suggesting an oral threesome and they can’t figure out where the goat goes?

51 posted on 05/04/2013 1:07:15 PM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: Prospero
Ooooh! It's a sticker! With numbers on it! I'm sooo afraid. Nuuuuuuuumbers! Pity meeee. This is of course justification for me to behead some more schoolchildren.
52 posted on 05/04/2013 1:28:47 PM PDT by sportutegrl
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To: csvset

I’ll be ole 969 isn’t nearly a terrifying to Muslims as the old British army practice of burying dead Muslims in pig skins.

53 posted on 05/04/2013 1:35:29 PM PDT by righttackle44 (Take scalps. Leave the bodies as a warning.)
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To: Prospero

Looks like they “get” it.

It will take another 9/11 event for the U.S. to begin to wake up, I fear.

54 posted on 05/04/2013 1:37:37 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Wurlitzer

Great idea, I hope it catches on

55 posted on 05/04/2013 1:41:19 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (I voted Republican, no Conservative was on the ballot. 969 yall.)
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To: csvset
Wars and violence ring the Mohammedan world.

It just goes to show how mean Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Animists and Hindus are. < /rimshot>

56 posted on 05/04/2013 1:45:11 PM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas
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To: ThanhPhero

Perhaps because Is Slime thuggery has been preying upon them for that long, raping and murdering int he name of their lesser moon goddess with a pedophile prophet.

57 posted on 05/04/2013 2:00:34 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: Mamzelle

Forty dead the first night.

58 posted on 05/04/2013 2:08:15 PM PDT by Chickensoup (200 million unarmed " people killed in the 20th century by Leftist Totalitarian Fascists)
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To: csvset

How can I get my sticker?

59 posted on 05/04/2013 2:18:02 PM PDT by formosa
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To: Average Al

The Thais are a little different about a lot of things. I’ve been in conversations with some of them when they just decided it was booger digging time. That and the unembarrassed offers to take one out for Thai massage. I remember watching a TV show while there where their then PM was being interviewed by an English reporter. The reporter asked him whether he was troubled about visitors coming to the country specifically to have sex. He replied “Actually we are rather flattered that strangers find our people so attractive”. Long time ago but a true story.

60 posted on 05/04/2013 2:29:35 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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