SHAFAQNA – According to Huffington Post article, Myanmar is between 80 and 90 percent Buddhist. Despite this majority, many believe in a scripturally shaky prophecy that claims their faith will disappear in the coming millennia. They also point to the number 786, a common numerological abbreviation for the Arabic phrase “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” (“In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”), as evidence of a plot for Muslim domination in the 21st century (7 + 8 + 6 = 21). The number 786 is often posted outside Muslim-owned businesses in the region.
Buddhist nationalists such as Mandalay-based monk Wirathu, whom Time magazine has called the “Face of Buddhist Terror,” are amplifying these “Islamic invasion” fears and inciting anti-Muslim violence through unsubstantiated Facebook posts. Economic and other political factors are also at play, but Myanmar’s government is only making things worse.