World

As elections approach, Myanmar president seeks to capitalize on anti-Muslim sentiment

Myanmar women push their bicycles in the foreground of governing Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) office in capital Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Myanmar’s general elections are scheduled for November 8, 2015, the first since a nominally civilian government was installed in 2011. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

Myanmar women push their bicycles in the foreground of governing Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) office in capital Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Myanmar’s general elections are scheduled for November 8, 2015, the first since a nominally civilian government was installed in 2011. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)  (The Associated Press)

With an eye on Nov. 8 polls, Myanmar's president has ticked off a list of accomplishments during his five-year term — noting with apparent pride a number of anti-Muslim policies that he hopes will help him win re-election.

During his term, Thein Sein has steadfastly denied the existence of Rohingya Muslims and passed contentious laws on race and religion.

Thein Sein also said he prevented the Organization of Islamic Cooperation from opening an office in the predominantly Buddhist nation.

His video message posted on Facebook this week appeared aimed at tapping into hatred of Muslims.

The U.S. and other countries have expressed concern that religious tensions could tarnish the general election, which many hope will be relatively free and fair following decades of military rule.