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Myanmar Facts

Score: 65 / 100
Region: Asia
Persecution Type: Religious Nationalism
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 54,836,000
Christians: 4,369,000
Main Religion: Buddhism
Government: Parliamentary Republic
Leader: President Htin Kyaw

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 46%
Church Life 66%
National Life 62%
Community Life 79%
Family Life 66%
Private Life 69%

Where Persecution Comes From

In Myanmar, Buddhist leaders instigate Christian persecution in predominantly Buddhist communities. Radical Buddhist movement Ma Ba Tha hails itself as the protector of Buddhism, the country’s national religion. Recently, Ma Ba Tha was banned but is expected to continue its activities regardless. Local government officials, especially those in rural areas, show bias towards Buddhist leaders. This means that Christians, who often happen to be both religious and ethnic minorities, are often discriminated against. Christians who come from Buddhist, Muslim and tribal families experience this persecution within the home because family and community see their conversion as betrayal.

How Christians are Suffering

In predominantly Christian states like Kachin State, Karen State and Northern Shan, even well-established historical churches experience attacks. More than 100,000 Christians live in IDP (internally displaced) camps, deprived of access to food and healthcare. In some instances, Buddhist monks have invaded church properties and built Buddhist shrines on church premises. The Buddhist, Muslim or tribal families of converts persecute believers, often ostracized from society. Communities who aim to stay “Buddhist only” make life for Christian families impossible by not allowing them to use community water resources. Evangelical church groups experience opposition as well, especially those in rural areas of Myanmar.

Examples

In most schools before classes begin, all students (including non-Buddhists) are required to recite a Buddhist teaching or prayer.

Converts are discriminated against in various ways. In one account, a teacher refused to give a Christian student a list of questions she provided to others to prepare for tests. In another case when a family sold a plot of land, the earnings were distributed among all siblings except the convert.

In May 2017, the army stopped three Christians collecting firewood in Kachin State and took them into custody. Their bodies were found on May 28–tortured and killed by the army.

Pray for Myanmar

  • Pray for persecuted Christian minorities, that they would lovingly minister to persecuted Rohingya Muslims who are facing genocide. Pray that many hearts would be opened to the truth of Christ.
  • Christian converts from Islam and Buddhism face strong pressure from their family, friends and neighbors to recant their faith. Recently introduced laws complicate conversion, though it’s not outright forbidden. Pray that these believers would have courage and endurance in the face of persecution. Pray for increased religious freedom.

Stories from Myanmar

January 10, 2018

The 4 Major Trends Influencing Global Christian Persecution

World Watch List research indicates these growing movements are the life-altering forces influencing the persecution of Christians around the world.

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October 27, 2017

Myanmar’s Only Christian Tribe

Ninety percent of the Chins are believers, and they take pride in being the only Christian tribe in Myanmar. 

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September 19, 2017

Update on Rohingya Persecution

A few weeks ago, we reported about the most persecuted minority in the world – the Rohingya Muslims. This group…

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