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Selfie Campaign Promotes Interfaith Tolerance and Ethnic Diversity in Myanmar

Myanmar My Friend Campaign

Photo from the Facebook Page of #myfriend campaign.

A selfie campaign in Myanmar promotes tolerance and friendship amid rising cases of hate speech, discrimination, and communal violence accross the country.

The Facebook campaign is led by young people from Yangon, the country's biggest city, and it launched last April by asking the public to pose for selfies with their friends who belong to a different ethnic groups or religions.

The campaign uses the hashtags #myfriend and #friendship_has_no_boundaries.

Since 2012, there have been intermittent clashes between some Buddhists and minority Muslims in central, western, and northern areas of Myanmar, including in Meikhtila in central Myanmar, where the houses of both Buddhist and Muslim communities were burned down and thousands of people were displaced. The most serious communal violence took place in October 2012 in the Rakhine state of western Myanmar, where Rohingya Muslims have been living in refugee camps near the city of Sittwe. The Myanmar government considers the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants.

At the same time, online hate speech and harassment has been widespread on Myanmar's social media, creating an atmosphere intolerance and racism.

Below are some photos from the #MyFriend campaign to prove that people in Myanmar, especially the young, are determined to end hate by showing respect and friendship.

Han Seth Lu, a Buddhist, uploads a photo with his Muslim friend:

Myanmar My Friend Campaign (5)

I'm a Buddhist and My Friend is a Muslim.
I'm a Boy and She is a Girl.
We are different but we accept each other.
Life is not permanent, enjoy yourself right now.
Because friendship has no boundaries.
#Friendship_has_no_boundaries – looking for peace with May Khin

Rody Din, a Christian, shares a photo with his Buddhist friend from Thailand:

Myanmar My Friend Campaign (3)

“I am [Christian/Chin_Myanmar] and my friend is [Buddhist/ Thai”

Su Yadanar Myint, a Muslim, is proud of her friendship with a Sikh:

Myanmar My Friend Campaign (4)

He is a Sikh and I'm a Muslim.
But we are friends.
Although we have diversities,we
share our own opinions and beliefs,
we accept and respect
our different identities.

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