Shortly after the sun had set on 15 May, Muslims on the outskirts of Yangon gathered at homes and garment factories. Locals had blocked a mosque from being built—despite there being over 10,000 Muslims in the township—but the Muslims had received approval from the regional government to use the factory buildings to pray during Ramadan, one of Islam’s most sacred holidays.

Not long after, a mob wielding sticks and knives appeared, descended upon the makeshift places of worship, and forced the prayers to end.

“This is for our race and religion!” shouted Michael Kyaw Myint, a well-known Myanmar nationalist and apparent leader of the mob, as local police stood by. “As the government we elected is useless, for our religion, we the people will demolish the mosque [here] tonight.”

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Victoria Milko

Victoria Milko is a multimedia journalist based in Myanmar. She is currently an editor at Frontier Myanmar, with her work also found in The Washington Post, NPR, and others.