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Radical Myanmar monks urge 'Muslim' phone company boycott

Published on Jun 5, 2014 9:03 PM

YANGON (AFP) - Radical Myanmar Buddhist monks are urging a boycott of telecoms firm Ooredoo because it hails from Muslim-majority Qatar, despite its promise to boost access to affordable mobile phones, a cleric said on Thursday.

Ooredoo, along with Norway's Telenor, is set to begin selling cheap SIM cards this year in Myanmar, where the exorbitant cost of phones under the former junta left as many as nine out of ten people without access to a telephone.

But it comes as the country is grappling with a growing Buddhist nationalist movement spearheaded by extremist monks, who have urged boycotts of Muslim shops and proposed a raft of deeply controversial laws to restrict religious freedom.

"We want Buddhists to buy things only from shops owned by those of our religion and the profits should go to our religion," said monk Parmuakha, who is organising a campaign against the firm beginning on Saturday.

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