Based on my own research the following are the drivers behind hate speech and hate deeds, beyond the country’s general anti-Muslim prejudices:
5 major forces, most of whom are rooted in the Burma Armed Forces – not necessarily in coordinartion – are behind the anti-Muslim hate campaign across the country in general. Their motivations and even strategic objectives are not necessarily the same.
But the common element is this: they definitely want to disrupt, control, limit, slow down and otherwise derail the country’s transition along genuinely liberal democratic lines.
1) Thein Sein and his Union Solidarity and Development Party (overwhelmingly made up of ex-army officers)
After leaving office in 2015, ex-General and ex-President Thein Sein got ordained as a Buddhist monk temporarily. His proudest presidential legacy was to have enacted 4 anti-Muslim “National Race” laws with the help of hate-preaching Buddhist monks such as Wirathu whom he called “a son of Lord Buddha who preaches love”.
Here is Aung Ko’s interview hinting at the USDP party’s involvement in hate-financing (He and Shwe Mann turned their back on the party of the military after they lost their intra-party power strugle to MinAungHlaing-TheinSein clique). Shwe Mann (DSA-11) was passed over by Than Shwe for the President’s position which he was widely considered a shoe-in. Thein Sein (DSA-9) was hand-picked by Than Shwe to be the puppet President which he controlled ultimately from his (Than Shwe’s) official retiremement.
“အခုလည္း မရလို႔မို႔ သမၼတ႐ံုးကို စာတင္ထားပါတယ္။ ဒါေတြမွာ အခုၾကည့္လိုက္ရင္ ျပန္ၾကည့္ လိုက္ပါ။ မေကြးတိုင္းကို ျပန္ၾကည့္လိုက္ပါ။ သန္း ၅ ေထာင္၊ ၆ ေထာင္မက ေပၚလာတယ္။ ၿပီးခဲ့တဲ့ အစိုးရ မလဲႊေျပာင္းခင္မွာ မေကြးတိုင္း ၾကည့္လိုက္၊ သန္း ၆ ေထာင္မက ေငြေတြ အခု ဘယ္ေရာက္သြားသလဲ။ ေနာက္ထပ္ ေပၚလာမယ့္ဟာေတြ ျပည္နယ္နဲ႔တိုင္း အားလံုးမွာ ရွိေန ပါေသးတယ္။ ဘယ္အဖဲြ႔အစည္းကလည္း၊ ဘယ္အစိုးရလက္ထက္ကလဲ။ ေနာက္ထပ္ ေပၚလာဖို႔ အမ်ားႀကီး ရွိပါေသးတယ္။ ဒါေတြ ျပည္သူေတြကသာ ဝိုင္းဝန္းေဖာ္ထုတ္မယ္ဆိုရင္ အဲဒီ ျပည္သူ႔ ဘ႑ာေတြကို တရားမဝင္ဘုန္းထားတဲ့ ေငြစာရင္းေတြအားလံုးဟာ ျပည္နယ္၊ တိုင္း အားလံုးမွာ ေပၚလာမွာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။”
2) the late Aung Thaung and his surviving associates, followers, etc. including racist cronies
According to Thura Aung Ko, the NLD’s Religious Affairs Minister and Shwe Mann’s close comrade, now in partnership with Aung San Suu Kyi, Amaya Bank, owned by Aung Thaung family, is involved, in “hate-financing” – to the tunes of hundreds of millions in local curreny.
Here is Aung Thaung’s story – when he was still alive.
Ex-general Khin Nyunt seen with Wirathu, Time’s “The Face of Buddhist Terror”.
What Does the Future Hold for Aung Thaung’s Sons?
Ex-General Khin Nyunt and ex-Chief of Military Intelligence, seen here as a temporarily ordained monk, Rakhine, 6 Apr 2012
3) ex-General Khin Nyunt and his followers – all purged since Sept 2004
After his release from house arrest, Khin Nyunt re-grouped his subordinates from the defunct Directorate of Defense Services Inteligence (DDSI) under the cover of a meditation retreat. Ex-intelligence officers do not meditate to enter Nirvana. You have to be really stupid to believe former torturers, plotters and assassins are “men of Dhamma”.
Ex-general Khin Nyunt with his former deputies from the defunct military intelligence service, as meditation-practitioners at this week-long Buddhist retreat in Insein, Rangoon, 23 Sept- 29 Sept 2012.
Writing in the Fletcher’s World Affairs policy journal – out of Tufts University – former Thein Sein adviser Kyaw Yin Hlaing, then a member of the faculty in the department of Asian Studies at the City University of Hong Kong, noted the role of military intelligence in spreading false rumors to stoke anti-Muslim racism and religious riots – every time public anger was roused by any unscrupulous incidents involving the Burmese military (such as embezzlement or bulgary or theft suspected popularly of the job of military commanders).
4) Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing and the security forces, including the post-Khin Nyunt military intelligence called Military Affairs Security (MAS or Sa Ya Hpa in Burmese).
As the commander in chief all intelligence services report to Min Aung Hlaing. In Karen State with a substantial distribution of Muslims across Karen villages, the military intelligence have made attempts to instigate anti-Muslim riots using anti-Musli Karen Buddhist monks and the Tatmadaw’s proxy (Border Guard Force) DKBA. (formerly known as Democratic Karen Buddhist Army).
5) Muslim-hating Burmese abbots such as Sitagu, Wirathu, and others that congregate around 969, Ma Ba Tha, etc. – and that will remain at large and congregate around new entities they will certainly replace Ma Ba Tha.
These men are ideologues who have deeply held paranoia about the spread of Islam and its followers in what they see as “Buddhist Burma”. During the monks’ public meeting near Rakhine Buddha Temple (known as Maha Myat Mu Ni) in Southern corner of Mandalay, the then young and little known Wirathu made his intentions loud and clear to eradicate and “starve all Muslims” in Burma as early as 2002/03. He specifically mentioned that senior abbots such as Sitagu was involved in hatching this national campaign against all Muslims in the land. A year of two later Wirathu was imprisoned for his involvement in burning down the 3-storyed house that belonged to the entire well-to-do Muslim family – with the entire family locked inside – in a town called Kuauk Hse, the shared birthplace of his and dictator Than Shwe, between Mandalay and Meikhtila, the site of the major anti-Muslim mass violence in March 2013 which resulted in the death of at least 500 Muslim victims including children.