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Buddhist monks were a symbol of hope and defiance during the dark years of Myanmar’s military dictatorship. But as the country opens up to the world, some have taken a radically sectarian turn. Since 2012, violence has uprooted more than 150,000 members of the country’s Muslim minority. And in July 2014, Buddhist mobs attacked Muslim homes and businesses in the second-largest city, Mandalay. Sparked by unfounded rumors that a Muslim man had raped a Buddhist woman, they were stoked by Ashin Wirathu, the leader of a large monastery, who posted the rumor to his Facebook account. Two people were killed, a Muslim and a Buddhist. Reporter Jason Motlagh traveled to Myanmar to meet Wirathu and find out why practitioners of a religion known for prizing compassion have come to fuel sectarian hatred.
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