Majority-Buddhist Myanmar is made up of eight major and eight minor ethnic groups, each of which hoped for autonomy after Burmese independence 70 years ago, and some of the world’s longest-running civil wars continue here. Operation World, a Christian missionary organisation, calls Myanmar “a deeply fractured nation on a political and especially ethnic level”. The conflict zones along the country’s borders are where most of Myanmar’s Christians live, including the Kachin and Karen ethnic minorities, which have faced years of government oppression. Meanwhile, the rise in the number of Muslims has provoked the Patriotic Association of Myanmar, locally known as Ma Ba Tha and led by influential Buddhist monks. Ma Ba Tha is not merely anti-Muslim, it is Buddhist nationalist, so Christians are not beyond its focus.
Attacks on Christians in Myanmar continued into the Christmas season in Kachin state as Burmese Army troops killed a civilian and destroyed church property despite President Thein Sein’s order to stop the war against insurgents. A Baptist church in Loije, Bhamo district, held a funeral on Dec. 27 for 47-year-old Maran […]