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The Rohingyas have experienced difficulties in obtaining citizenship since the enactment of the 1982 Citizenship Law in Burma. From the beginning of Burmese independence, their separate identity was recognized by the then democratic government of Premier U Nu (1948–1962). Their situation worsened after the military takeover in 1962 leaving then subject to humiliating restrictions and harsh treatment by the State. However, the Burmese 1982 Citizenship Law institutionalized the Rohingyas statelessness.This paper argues that despite all evidence as indigenous people of Arakan, the ethnic Muslim minority Rohingya are arbitrarily deprived of their citizenship. The Burmese are adamant that the Rohingyas are Bengalis regardless of their residency history, and therefore belong in Bangladesh. Their Islamic religion and Indo-Aryan appearance do not conform with the “Burmese citizenship standard”. In this context, Burma/Myanmar citizenship law fails to meet the international standard. Rohingya ancestry related documents prove that the government enacted the new law simply to deny the Rohingya identity.
Corresponding Author
Md. MahbubulHaque, Email:
Political Transition in
Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingya
Muslim Minority
Md. MahbubulHaque
Burma/Myanmar is one of the most ethnically diverse and largest countries of Southeast Asia.
Since the early days of independence, Burma failed to establish multi-party democracy and a
federal system of government. After the NLD’s landslide victory in 2015, it has introduced major
positive changes especially the freedom of expression and association. Burma is currently undergo-
ing a political transformation that could see the end of the decade-long conflict. However, the
ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority are still marginalized from the society and have not been in-
cluded in the ongoing peace and democratic development process. This paper explores the political
transition in Burma/Myanmar and how Rohingya minority has been excluded from this process.
In order to develop as a democratic country, Burma/Myanmar should incorporate all minorities
into the political life. The Rohingya minority had strong involvement in the government before and
after independence in Burma. Even in the last parliament (2010-2015), three Rohingya MPs
were elected from the Muslim dominated constituency in Rakhine State. However, the situation
changed for Rohingya and other Muslims after the 2012 Buddhist-Muslim riots. As a result, no
political party nominated any Muslim candidate in the last parliamentary elections. Indeed, Aung
Sun SuuKyi and her NLD government failed to take any effective measures to protect them. In
this context, democratic transformation will not be complete in Burma/Myanmar without the full
participation of Rohingyas and other Muslims in the country’s economic, social and political life.
Political Transition, Rohingya, Muslim, Minority
Political transition in Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingyam muslim minority
The status of Rohingya Muslims under the Myanmar state framework was not
complicated before the 1982 Citizenship Law. At the time of independence, their
separate identity was recognized by Premier U Nu who led the Anti-Fascist Peo-
ple’s Freedom League (AFPFL) government (1948-1962). Historical facts and
figures suggest that Rohingya Muslims have had a strong involvement in the gov-
ernment since the British colonial period and their ethnic minority culture was
nurtured by the Rangoon-based central government. Simultaneously, the ethnic
Rohingya Muslim minority have been confronted by the ethnic Rakhine Bud-
dhist religious majority since pre-independence days. Their situation worsened
after the military takeover in 1962 leaving them subject to humiliating restrictions
and harsh treatment by the State.
After the 2012 riots, the situation worsened. Islamophobia is now being used
against the existence of Rohingyas in Myanmar. The UN and other international
bodies firmly believed that the situation would improve for the Rohingyas after
the restoration of democracy in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi led the National
League for Democracy (NLD) to a majority win in Myanmar’s first openly con-
tested election in 25 years in November 2015. The present constitution forbids
her from becoming the president because she has children who are foreign na-
tionals. SuuKyi is widely seen as a de-facto leader in Myanmar. The NLD gov-
ernment has introduced major positive changes especially the freedom of expres-
sion and association. Myanmar is currently undergoing political transformation
that could see the end of the decades of conflict. However, the Rohingya and
other ethnic Muslim minorities are still neglected in Myanmar’s political life and
Buddhist extremists brand them as Islamist terrorists and a threat to national
This paper argues, field work in Myanmar/Burma and other documentary rec-
ords show that the circumstances for Rohingyas are not conducive as yet. In fact,
the NLD-led civilian government has no clear position to address this longstand-
ing crisis. Uncertainty looms large in Myanmar’s political transformation. The
military is still the most powerful institution and meddles in all vital affairs while
prolonging civil war and raising false security alarms. The NLD government led
by Daw Aung San SuuKyi lacks the guts to exercise its power to protect the mi-
norities and bring about real peace through negotiated settlements of all ethnic
issues, particularly the problems of unprotected Rohingya Muslims. Instead, she is
whitewashing the atrocious crimes committed against the Rohingya people by the
military and security forces.
South Asian Journal of Policy and Governance
This research article focuses on the status of Rohingya Muslims minority during
the political transition in Myanmar. The nature of this research demonstrates an
intensive review of the Rohingya Muslim’s participation in Burma/Myanmar
politics and how they became excluded from the state framework. This research
also incorporates the ongoing situation in Myanmar and the difficulties faced by
the Rohingyas under the NLD-led democratic regime. During fieldwork, the
researcher collected data from the Rohingya and other Muslim communities in
Yangon, in April and October 2016 and May 2017. The researcher also inter-
viewed ruling NLD leaders, 88 Generation leaders and members of Yangon-
based civil society, international agencies and then checked with relevant experts
on the subject. For security reasons, it was not possible for the researcher to di-
rectly collect data from Rakhine (Arakan) State.
Key informant interviews are helpful for qualitative research especially people
who have in-depth knowledge about what is going on inside the community. The
key informant technique is an ethnographic research method, which was original-
ly used in the field of cultural anthropology and is now being used more widely in
other branches of social science investigation. In this study, the researcher con-
ducted ethnographic interviews with different Rohingya political groups based in
Yangon including former lawmakers (two former MPs) and senior political lead-
ers. All of them originated from Arakan (Rakhine State) and now reside in Yan-
gon. The Rohingya leaders were from different professions and had different
socio-economic backgrounds. The discussion was focused on the political status of
Rohingyas during this democratic transition. Ethnographic interview with non-
Rohingya Muslim community leaders were also carried out, including a Kofi
Anan Commission member, about their perception on Rohingyas in the Myan-
mar political discourse. It was necessary to understand the opinions of others
Muslims on the issue of the Rohingyas in Myanmar because it is an ethnically
diversified country. Myanmar’s Muslims views and their relations with the State
are not uniform. Three non-Rohingya Muslims from different social-economic
and professional backgrounds were also interviewed.
The researcher got the bulk of the information from the exiled Rohingya leaders.
Their valuable information enriched this study. All of them provided data as to
how their ethnic identity was excluded in Burma/Myanmar. The researcher also
got expert opinion from subject related experts, university teachers, government
officials, human rights activists and journalists through the open-ended and un-
structured interviews. Two key informants in each professional group were inter-
Political transition in Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingyam muslim minority
viewed. In this stage, researcher tried to get information as to why Rohingyas
were excluded from this democratic transition and the role of NLD.
In addition, interviews were also conducted with the ruling NLD, 88 Generation
leaders and members of Yangon-based civil society. Through the open-ended
questions, the researcher explored the attitudes on Rohingya Muslims of the rul-
ing party members and Yangon-based civil society. It was necessary to under-
stand the viewpoints of mainstream communities on transitional democracy and
the situation of Rohingyas in Myanmar. This research is also based on observa-
tions of the political and socio-economic situation, which provided unique insights
into the whole scenario of Myanmar.
The overall research findings provided an overview of the Rohingya Muslims’
political life in Myanmar from the historical context and also explored the policy
of exclusion against them.
Rohingyas in Myanmar’s/Burma’s mainstream
political process
The British Burma and independent Burma’s political history suggest that the
Muslim-dominated Northern Arakan’s constituency was always dominated by the
Rohingya Muslims until the 2010 election. The Rohingya Muslim minority has
had a strong presence in mainstream politics since the colonial period. The par-
liamentary government (1948-62) had officially declared Rohingyas as one of the
indigenous ethnic groups of Burma. The declaration read by the then Prime Min-
ister of the Union of Burma, Prime Minister U Nu, said “the people living in
Maungdaw and Buthidaung regions are our nationals, brethren. They are called
Rohingyas. They are at par in status of nationality with Kachin, Kyah, Karen,
Mon, Rakhine and Shan. They are one of the ethnic races of Burma. i Many
researchers, historians and journalists have elaborately discussed the role of Mus-
lims in Myanmar’s/Burma’s electoral process. The former Israeli diplomat
Moshe Yegar (1972 and 2002), AFK Jilani (2002), J. A. Berlie (2008) and various
rights groups’ documents clearly stated that Rohingya Muslims have strong politi-
cal involvement in Arakan State (present Rakhine State). Going back to the polit-
ical history of Myanmar/Burma, Gani Maracan was the first Muslim legislator
elected during the British colonial period in 1936. During the general elections for
the Constituent Assembly in 1947, Sultan Ahmed and Abdul Gaffar were elected
from Maungdaw and Buthidaung respectively and were affiliated with the Jamiat-
e-Ulema, the political party of Muslims in Arakan. Sultan Ahmed was also a
South Asian Journal of Policy and Governance
member in drafting Constitution Committee of 1947 for three months while an-
other Muslim leader U Rashid was in America on official visit (Min, 2012).
After the British colonial era, the first general election in Burmawas held in 1951.
The Rohingya Muslim-led political party Jamiat-e-Ulema got four seats in Ara-
kan. The members of the legislative council were Sultan Ahmed (Maungdaw
North), Daw Aye Nyuntalias Zhura Begum (Maungdaw South), Abul Basher
(Buthidaung South) and Abdul Gaffarfrom Buthidaung North (Jilani, 2002). Be-
fore the general election of 1956, the U Nu government abolished Burma Muslim
Congress and Jamiat-e-Ulema, branding them as religious parties. As a result,
Muslim leaders had misapprehension with Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League
(AFPFL). The Rakhine Buddhist leaders had successfully utilized this political
vacuum and took control of the AFPFL branches in Maungdaw and Buthidaung.
Soon after, Muslim leaders realized the necessity of political unity with the
AFPFL. The Muslim leaders Haji Abul Khairfrom Maungdaw South, Sultan
Ahmed from Maungdaw North, Abul Bashar from Buthidaung South, Ezhar-
Meah from Buthidaung North and Abdul Gaffar were elected to the Upper
House from the AFPFL in 1956 general election. It is noted that, Ezhar Meah’s
candidacy was challenged after the election and the court verdict was against him.
During the bi-election in 1957, Sultan Mahmud defeated U Po Khine, who rep-
resented the Rakhine community. Mahmud was inducted into the cabinet of U
Nu as Health Minister (Jilani, 2002).
After independence, the condition of Arakan deteriorated rather than improved
(Christie, 1996p: 169). The Arakan Muslims immediately discovered the disad-
vantages of their peripheral status in a non-Muslim nation, when Muslims offi-
cials were replaced by Buddhists. In addition, Buddhist people tried to settle in
Muslim dominated areas in Arakan. As a result, tensions developed between these
two different ethnic religious groups in Arakan. This tension continues even to-
day. The Rohingya Muslims demanded that North Arakan be made autonomous
and subject directly to the central government in Rangoon, having no Rakhinein-
fluences (Jilani, 2002). A separate administration would also help the low standard
of living of the Muslim communities and prevent abuses from the Rakhine Bud-
On May 1, 1961, the central government created the “Mayu Frontier Admin-
istration Area”. It comprised the Muslim-dominated Maungdaw, Buthidaung and
the western part of Rathidaung townships. It was under the Ministry of Defense
and controlled from Rangoon. A special police force known as “Mayu Ray” was
formed and members recruited from local Muslims and the law and order situa-
Political transition in Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingyam muslim minority
tion improved. The total population of May Yu Frontier Area is nearly half a
million. Most people there are engaged in agriculture and fisheries. The majority
of the people are Rohingya and rests of the groups are Rakhine, Dai Nat, Myo,
Khmee (Yegar, 2002). The headquarters of May Yu Frontier Area was in the
border town of Maungdaw. The Rohingya Muslim dominated May Yu Frontier
region was controlled by the central government before 1964. The Myanmar
Encyclopedia (1964) on Pages 89 and 90 in Volume 9discusses in detail that the
Rohingyas populated May Yu Frontier Area. The Yangon-based Rohingya polit-
ical leaders claimed that, it was the only administration, which favored Rohingyas
during the post-independent history in Burma. The Rohingya representatives
were invited on Union Day. Rohingya feasts and cultural performances were part
of the celebration. Rohingyas were as happy as in 1942 to 1945 Peace Committee
Period (interview, Yangon, 2016). ii Rohingya language was aired by the Burma
Broadcasting Services twice a week till 24 October 1965 (cited in Nyein, 1976).
This evidence shows that Rohingya language broadcasts stopped after the mili-
tary coup in the 1960s. This paper argues that Rohingyas’ oppression and policy
of exclusion started after General Ne Win took overstate power. During the par-
liamentary era, the Rohingyas enjoyed and joined all government activities.
In spite of political differences, the Rohingya Muslims had representation in
Hlauttaw (parliament) under the Ne Win socialist regime. Abul Hussain, Dr. Ab-
dul Rahim, Advocate Abdul Hai, Muzaffar Ahmed, Kyaw Thein, Mustaq Ah-
med, Saleh Ahmed, Elias, Aman Ullah and many other Rohingya representatives
were in Arakan State Council under the Burma Socialist Program Party (BSPP)
periods (Jilani, 2002). From 1988 to 1997, the military government was known
as State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), which had replaced the
role of BSPP. The new military government conducted general elections in May
1990. It was the first multi-party elections since 1960, after which the country had
been ruled by military dictators. During that general election, associate and natu-
ralized citizens were permitted to vote, but not allowed to contest the election.
The Union Election Commission allowed the Rohingyas the right to vote and
contest the general election. In fact, the Rohingyas were permitted to form politi-
cal parties in 1989. Two parties were formed, the Students and Youth League for
Mayu Development and the National Democratic Party for Human Rights
(NDPH). The NDPH nominated four candidates, Fazal Ahmed, Chit Lwin alias
Ibrahim, Tin Maung alias Noor Ahmed and Kyaw Min alias AnwarulHuq elect-
ed from the Muslim dominated Maungdaw and Buthidaung constituencies as like
previous election(Min, 2012, p:7).
South Asian Journal of Policy and Governance
The titles behind the names as well as the biographies of the four elected MPs
show that most of them had got a university degree in Burma/Myanmar and had
been in government services. Like most other parties, the NDPH was dissolved
shortly after it was clear that the parliament would never be convened(cited in
Bernd Zöllner, 2015). Many of their veteran politicians were forced to retire from
politics and some of them were in jail during the military regime (interview, Yan-
gon, October 2016). iiiThe Rohingyas again were allowed the right to vote in the
2008 referendum. Before the 2010 elections, two new parties were formed to
represent the interests of the Muslims of Rakhine State, the National Democratic
Party for Development (NDPD) and the Democracy and Human Rights Party
(DHRP). In 2010 elections, two Rohingya candidates were victorious from the
Muslim dominated areas under the banner of NDPD. Later, the Union Election
Commission invalidated their candidacies. As a result, the runners up, the mili-
tary backed USDP candidates became MPs from those constituencies. These
parliamentarians were from Rohingya Muslim community and played an active
role in the House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw) from 2010 to 2015. As the
minutes of the parliament show, these MPs were quite outspoken in advocating
the interests of their electorate in the parliament sessions. iv They asked questions
about the freedom of movement of Muslims in the Rakhine State which were
answered by the concerned ministers.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in Myanmar
after the general elections on November 8, 2015. It was the country’s first nation-
al vote since a nominally civilian government was introduced in 2011, ending
nearly 50 years of military rule. Surprisingly, no major political party nominated
any Muslim candidates in any constituency. A Myanmar Muslim leader, who is
now the member of Kofi Annan Commission, Aye Lwin, argues differently:
“Aung San SuuKyi and her party NLD still sympathizes with the Muslim issue.
But after mid-2012 communal riots, the situation has changed. The military
backed USDP and Rakhine ultra-nationalist forces using the communal card,
started a hatred campaign against the Muslims. So it was not possible for NLD to
choose any Muslim candidate for the 2015 parliament election” (interview, Yan-
gon, October 2016). v The NLD has made a strong pledge to establish the rule of
law and protect the ethnic minorities’ rights under the Union of Myanmar.
Therefore, most of the non-Rohingya Muslim leaders are still optimistic and wait-
ing for positive measures from the NLD government (interview, Yangon, October
2016 and May 2017). vi Herein, it must be mentioned that, Rohingya led the
Democracy and Human Rights Party (DHRP) and National Democratic Party
for Development (NDPD), which participated in the last parliament election and
Political transition in Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingyam muslim minority
contested both at the union and state levels. Most of the Rohingyas, though, lost
their franchise in 2015 election. It will be discussed in the next part of this paper.
Exclusions of the Rohingya in Burma’s/Myanmar’s
political sphere
The Rohingyas have been systematically excluded from the Burma’s/Myanmar’s
state framework. In Burmese post-independence history, since the early 1950sthe
Rohingyas as well as other ethnic minorities were in conflict with the Govern-
ment of Myanmar. This became more pronounced when General Ne Win took
power in 1962. From that time onwards, the entire machinery of the government
adopted a series of policies against Rohingya existence in Burma. This started
gradually and Rohingya identity was made as de jure stateless after the 1982 Citi-
zenship Law. It should be noted that, in the aftermath of decolonization, Rohing-
yas’ separate identity was recognized by the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom
League government (1948-1962). After militarization, the “Tatmadawvii govern-
ment claims that most Arakan Muslims are illegal immigrants and has conducted
more than a dozen major operations against them” (Berlie, 2008:p. 55). The mili-
tary regime of Burma branded the Muslims as resident foreigners and effectively
reduced them to the status of stateless (Ahmed, 2010). Various historical docu-
ments, though, indicate that, Rohingyas are indigenous people of today’s Rakhine
State. General Ne Win’s government made a list of national ethnicities in 1972 to
conduct census. That was the first time. The military government treated them as
“Chittagongian-Rakhine” (cited in Haque, 2014). According to that identity, it
was easy to interpret these people were Bangladeshi settlers in the Arakan State.
It can be said that, General Ne Win had a long-term plan to exclude the Rohing-
yas from Burma. General Ne Win also changed the ancient name Arakan and
named it the Rakhine State. Since that time, the Rohingyas were deprived of
their identity under the Union of Burma. In 1978, the military government con-
ducted Operation Nagamin to identify the Bangladeshi illegal settlers in Arakan.
As a consequence of this operation, thousands of Rohingyas became refugees in
neighbor Bangladesh. Within a year, Rohingyas were repatriated to Burma. Fi-
nally, General Ne Win government passed the 1982 Citizenship Law. After the
enactment of that law, Rohingya Muslims became de jure stateless in the home of
their ancestors.
Rohingya under quasi-democratic regime
According to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) road map to-
wards democracy, a constitutional referendum was conducted in Myanmar in
South Asian Journal of Policy and Governance
May 2008. Following the new constitution, the Union Solidarity and Develop-
ment Party (USDP), the main military-backed party, was formed by Prime Minis-
ter TheinSein and other ministers on April 10, 2010 and approved by the Union
Election Commission within five days. It has to be noted that, Rohingya- led Un-
ion National Development Party has been scrutinizing the process under the Un-
ion Election Commission since 2010, but the decision has not come yet (inter-
view, Yangon, May 2017). viiiThe whole general election of 2010 was highly
controversial. NLD and many other parties boycotted it. The United Nations and
other international communities expressed concern over the fairness of the elec-
tion. Despite this criticism, the military-backed TheinSein led the USDP formed
quasi-democratic government in Myanmar. President Thein Sein was widely
praised for his reform policy. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon stated
that “his vision, leadership and courage to put Myanmar on the path to change”
(cited in UN News Center, 2012). To some extent, the former General turned
President of Myanmar came up with various policies to establish democracy. The
new government released over 500 political prisoners in October 2011 and Janu-
ary 2012. These releases included the most prominent civic leaders and pro-
democracy and ethnic minority prisoners of conscience. Many of these individuals
had been imprisoned for over 20 years (cited in Campbell, 2012). At the same
time, the new government continued to commit severe human rights abuses
against the ethnic minorities. After the 2012 Buddhist-Muslim communal riots,
the political scenario changed in Myanmar. The consequences of communal riots
and hatred campaign against Islamic identity in Myanmar will be discussed in the
next part of this paper. The international community was highly criticical about
the role of the Union Government in not protecting the Rohingya Muslim minor-
ity in Rakhine State. It was in 12 June 2012. President TheinSein stated to the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in a meeting, “the solu-
tion to this problem is that they can be settled in refugee camps managed by
UNHCR, and UNHCR provides for them. If there are countries that would ac-
cept them, they could be sent there” (Radio Free Asia, 2012). He also declared,
“We will take care of our own ethnic nationalities, but Rohingyas who came to
Burma [Myanmar] illegally are not of our ethnic nationalities and we cannot
accept them here” (ibid). TheRakhine ultra-nationalist group boldly supported
TheinSein’s statements. In addition, Buddhist monks throughout the country
rallied in support of President TheinSein’s proposal.
It did not end here. The USDP government conducted a systematic plan for
Rohingya’s to be excluded from the electoral process in 2015. Despite the demo-
cratic transition, the Rohingyas were excluded from the UN sponsored national
Political transition in Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingyam muslim minority
census in March 2014, the first since 1983. Their National Registration Cards
(NRCs) were seized earlier, and then all their ID cards given in place of NRCs as
well as issued to the younger generations were invalidated on 31 March, 2015,
depriving them of voting rights for the first time in Myanmar since the voting
system was introduced during the British colonial period in 1936 (after about 80
years), and continue to be denied fundamental rights. This attempt was strongly
opposed to the UNGA resolution adopted by consensus on 19 December, 2014
and urged the government to grant full citizenship to Rohingyas and to allow
them self-identify (interview, Yangon, April 2016). ix Earlier, it was mentioned
that Rohingyas enjoyed the right to vote during the referendum in 2008 and their
representatives were in parliament from 2010-2015. If the Rohingya Muslims
were disqualified from the right to vote and contest the election, the constitution
should face the question of legitimacy. So Rohingya leaders argued that, “they
use Rohingyas whenever they want and expel them whenever they don’t need
them” (interview, Yangon, October 2016). x It is clearly shown that the Rohingya
Muslims were used by the military rulers to legitimize their constitution and after
the communal riots they were accused because of their religious identity.
NLD’s dilemma to address the Rohingya Muslims’
There were several momentous events which marked the socio-cultural-political
landscape of Myanmar after NLD formed the government in 2016. Myanmar has
entered a new era after decades-long military rule. Due to constitutional barriers,
Aung San SuuKyi is not eligible to be the head of the government. So the NLD
government has created a new post of ‘State Counsellor’ under the present consti-
tutional framework. Being a State Counsellor, Aung San SuuKyi is de facto head
of the government, though key institutions remain under the army’s control. The
present constitution guarantees one-quarter of seats in the lower house of parlia-
ment and one-quarter in the upper house to serving military officers, the military
will hold enough votes to veto any future changes in the constitution.
The situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority is becoming worse under the
democratic regime. In this part, the paper will elaborate how the NLD faces a
dilemma in dealing with this matter and also will present the views of the Mus-
lims. The international community and rights groups were frustrated with the
NLD leader SuuKyi’s response towards the persecution and were also not very
encouraging. On the other hand, when the military-backed USDP government
enacted four “protection of race and religion” laws championed by hardliner
Buddhists of the MaBaTha, xi which want to promote Buddhism as a national
South Asian Journal of Policy and Governance
religion and exterminate any other minority religions in the country, especially
Muslims. The MaBaThahad accused SuuKyi of being too soft on the Rohingya
Historically, Muslims are closer to the national hero Aung San and tried to main-
tain good ties with the NLD. After the emergence of Buddhist chauvinism in My-
anmar, SuuKyi and her party NLD is surprisingly silent. Apart from the Rakhine
State, a sizable number of both Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslims have been
living in Rangoon and other major cities. Most of them are holding citizenships.
According to existing laws, Rohingya Muslims cannot identify themselves as
“Rohingya”. It is true that ethnic Rohingya Muslims have strong differences with
other ethnic Muslims minorities regarding the political situation of their country.
Non-Rohingya Muslims are still in good faith with NLD and supreme leader
Aung San SuuKyi. During the interview with non-Rohingya Muslims, it is clear
that Non-Rohingya Muslims have no choice to leave the NLD side because the
military backed USDP is more Burman nationalist oriented and reluctant about
the equal rights of ethnic religious minorities (interview, Yangon, May 2017). xii
After the NLD government was formed, Muslim minorities were trying to collab-
orate with Aung San SuuKyi’s government, and two leaders were with the Kofi
Annan Commission. This paper observes that, Non-Rohingya Muslims do not
want to oppose the NLD government but rather are seeking solution for peaceful
In Myanmar’s political history, the Rohingya-Rakhine crisis is very old and vi-
cious. In December 2002, Aung San SuuKyi visited the Rakhine State, but she
refused to visit Rohingya Muslim dominated northern part and speak about the
Rohingyas. The greater Muslim community, which had supported Aung San
SuuKyi earlier became disappointed because she absolutely did not speak out on
the issue shortly after the 2012 communal riots in Rakhine State. Even senior
NLD member Win Htein dismissed questions on Rakhine as “stupid” and said,
“Why do you only ask this question? We have 1, 000 problems in our country”
(cited in Vrieze, 2016). David Mathieson, Myanmar researcher for Human
Rights Watch, stated in his reaction that the NLD leadership had been “very
weak on addressing Rakhine” and lacked openness in their deliberations (ibid).
Even Aung San SuuKyiwas not comfortable in discussing the Muslim issue in the
media. SuuKyi lost her cool with BBC’s journalist Mishal Husain after being
quizzed over violence towards the Muslims minority in Burma. She was reported-
ly heard to say angrily, “no one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Mus-
lim” (The Daily Mail, 2016). She has lamented the violence in Rakhine state but
has refused to endorse the judgments of organizations such as Human Rights
Political transition in Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingyam muslim minority
Watch, which have blamed Arakan’s Buddhists for the persecution of the Mus-
In the aftermath of the last parliament election, many Rohingyas hoped that the
situation would improve in their ancestral land of the Arakan/Rakhine State.
Ayub Khan, a small Rohingya shopkeeper, stated that “when the NLD won the
elections, I also got more hope that we could get equal opportunities”(cited in
Vrieze, 2016). But the reality is different and seems to be getting worse. Ky-
awHlaAung, a Rohingya community leader from ThetKelPyinvillage, stated that
the NLD’s recent decisions had lowered the spirits among Muslim communities
(ibid). Moreover, Aung San SuuKyi reportedly instructed the diplomats including
new US ambassador to Burma not to use the term “Rohingya”. The NLD gov-
ernment minister for religion, ThuraAungKo, who is ex-general, stated that Mus-
lims and Hindus are “associate citizens” in Burma without any legal interpreta-
tion. The Rohingya leaders are deeply concerned about the citizenship
verification based on the controversial 1982 Citizenship Law, which deliberately
exclude the Rohingyas.
The NLD has made a strong pledge to establish peaceful co-existence among the
people of Myanmar. As part of the initiative, the government organized the Un-
ion Peace Conference 21 Century on the last day of August and it run for five
days in the capital city Naypyidaw (Radio Free Asia, 2016). No Muslim or Roh-
ingya representatives were invited to that conference. The two Rohingya-led po-
litical party leaders were present at the inauguration but were not allowed in the
working session (interview, Yangon, October 2016). xiii Burma-related expert,
Ashley South highly criticized that, “without Rohingya participation the confer-
ence will not be inclusive” (interview, Chiang Mai, August 2016). xiv Aung San
SuuKyi has been under international pressure, even from her fellow Nobel laure-
ates, for not speaking out for the persecuted Rohingyas. Later, she had formed a
nine-member Advisory Commission chaired by former U. N. Secretary General
Kofi Annan to find lasting solutions to the issues in the Arakan/Rakhine State.
The overall objective of the Commission is to provide recommendations on the
complex challenges facing the Rakhine State. The Commission will initiate a
dialogue with political and community leaders in Rakhine with the aim of propos-
ing measures to improve the well-being of all the people of the State. During its
work, the Commission will consider humanitarian and developmental issues,
access to basic services, the assurance of basic rights, and the security of the peo-
ple of Rakhine. The Commission is expected to submit its final report and rec-
ommendations to the Myanmar government in the second half of 2017 (inter-
view, Yangon, October 2016 and May 2017). xv Indeed, newly formed Annan
South Asian Journal of Policy and Governance
Commission created hope for the Muslims. As a result, Rohingyas and other
Muslims expected that the Commission would make a comprehensive assessment
of the decades-long Rohingya victimization in Myanmar (email conversation,
Nurul Islam, President-ARNO, 2016). xvi
Afterthe Commission was formed, Rakhine Buddhist nationalists rejected the
news that former U. N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will head a commission to
discuss ethnic conflict and clashes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state (Win, 2016). The
Arakan National Party vice chairperson Aye Nu Sein stated that it was not neces-
sary to form another commission, since the administration of former President
TheinSein had created a Rakhine affairs investigating commission. She also stat-
ed that, “I object because this makes the issue an international affair rather than
domestic” (VOA’s Burmese Service, 2016). Members of the former ruling party
and a splinter group from democracy leader Aung San SuuKyi’s party also re-
leased a statement against this commission. Some federal and regional political
parties met at the USDP headquarters in Yangon and signed a joint statement
against the NLD’s initiative on Rakhine State. After the meeting, USDP spokes-
person Khin Ye said,
“The whole nation condemns it. So do the political parties. People demonstrated.
However, the commission is still operating. We don’t denounce the establishment
of the commission but we are pointing to the public concerns. We receive letters
from the public saying they are worried. The government has responsibility for
their concerns. Our statement is urging the government not to neglect the public
concerns” (Win, 2016).
The civil society members in Myanmar are optimistic about the Kofi Annan
Commission. Throughout the various stakeholders’ discussions in Yangon, it can
be argued that the military-backed main opposition USDP is trying to destabilize
the democratic government and provoking ultra-Buddhist groups against the
peace process in Rakhine State. A year after the historic election put a civilian
government in charge, the military, the strongest institution of the country. is
again using brutal methods to regain their popularity in theface of national integ-
Current violence and the transition to democracy
The whole democratic transition has been facing serious challenges after the Oc-
tober 2016 violence in Rakhine State. The border district of Maungdaw has
turned into a hell for the Rohingyas. Under the pretext of Rohingya insurgency,
there has been a combined military and police crackdown on the civilian popula-
Political transition in Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingyam muslim minority
tion with a view to annihilating the remaining Rohingya population. At least 100
villagers were killed, hundreds of houses burned down or destroyed and more
than 20, 000 people were internally displaced (BROUK, 2016). The military has
prevented media persons as well as any supply of food, medicines and essentials
from getting through even by the WFP creating a great humanitarian disaster
that demands urgent attention of the international community (Arnold, 2016).
This research finds some different interpretations from the various stakeholders
meeting at Yangon in the aftermath of the October 2016 military operation in
Rakhine (Arakan) State.
Generically, it can be said that the military, holding three powerful ministries, is
behind the creation of ongoing human tragedies in order (i) to frustrate the Kofi
Annan Commission so that the human rights situation in Rakhine state remains
unaddressed, (ii) to keep the Rohingya majority area of northern Arakan under
military control by raising false alarms of security or so-called terrorism; (iii) to
produce IDPs in Maungdaw district was done in Akyab/Sittwe district with the
aim of destroying them ultimately; (iv) to permanently divide the two sister com-
munities of Rohingya and Rakhine on ethnic and religious lines; and (v) to divert
the attention of the people away from the ongoing war in Kachin State.
The Yangon-based Rohingya and other ethnic Muslim politicians agreed that the
Rohingya issue should be resolved within the Myanmar constitutional framework.
They denied any involvement with separatist-militant groups rather preferring to
live in peaceful political co-existence in Myanmar (interview, April and October
2016, Yangon). xviiA section of the civil society members strongly believed that,
NLD government has been trying to find a durable solution for Rohingyas but
not in the name of ethnic Rohingyas. It is possible and does not necessitate an
amendment of the 1982 citizenship law (interview, Yangon, May 2017). xviii A
large section of Rohingyas accepts this proposal but others are fighting for their
“right to self-identification”. Earlier, it was mentioned that all Rohingyas boycott-
ed the 2014 census, when the USDP government offered to include them in this
process and labeled them as “Bengali”. Therefore, it is not easy to create positive
conditions for both sides within a year.
The parliamentary politics has not been practiced much since independence in
Burma. Due to long military rule, democratic institutions could not flourish. The
country representative of Pyidaungsu Institute Dr. SaiOo clearly stated that there
is no effective opposition party in the parliament, but the military played a de
facto role of opposition (interview, Yangon, October 2016). xix Three major minis-
tries are now controlled by the military and they are only accountable to the
South Asian Journal of Policy and Governance
Chief of Staff. On the other hand, mature political leadership could not develop
as yet because of the decades-long military rule in Myanmar. According to the
present constitution, major state machineries are not under the control of the
democratic government. Open-minded progressive forces exist in the society but
ultra nationalist groups are much stronger in both groups, making it easy for
them to obstruct the peace process. Simultaneously, the ruling party NLD has
dilemma in handling this crisis. Shortly after the attacks, State Counsellor and de
facto government leader SuuKyi flew to India. After one week, she visited Japan
and spent nearly about week. Neither the President of Myanmar HtinKyaw, nor
the State Counsellor SuuKyi visited the Rakhine State. Even from the NLD side,
there is no concrete report or any message to the nation. The Physicians for Hu-
man Rights’ report mentions that, “there are really two governments in Myan-
mar: the civil government and the military government” (cited in Mcpherson,
2016). Buddhist ultranationalist group like Ashin Wirathuagain stated Islam as an
existential threat to Myanmar and tried to establish their link with international
terrorist groups. This incident gives an opportunity for the military to establish
their control over the government in the name of national integrity. It should be
noted that that NLD government does not have much control in border areas of
Rakhine State. According to the constitution, minister of border and defense is
appointed by the military, and it is not accountable to the civilian government. In
the light of this discussion, it can be argued that Rohingya and other ethnic Mus-
lims are cordial to help the NLD’s formed Kofi Annan Commission. On the oth-
er hand, some angered Rohingya youths tried to destabilize the Arakan/Rakhine
State in the name of right to self-determination. At the same time, the military-
backed political forces including Rakhine Buddhist nationalists also played an
aggressive role and provoked fresh violence all over the country against the Mus-
Historically, the military ruled the country after independence. As a result, it does
not want to share state powers with the politicians. It is the limitation of present
constitution that the civilian government is not independent and has less control
over the security matters. In Myanmar, most of the ethnic minorities have been
struggling to establish their rights since decolonization. However, the case of the
ethnic and religious minority Rohingya is more complex. All their rights were
confiscated by the ruling elites especially the military. As a result, the Rohingyas
are now treated as unwanted people in their ancestors’ land Arakan, which is now
Rakhine State. Multiculturalism is one of the best approaches to accommodate
Political transition in Burma/Myanmar: Status of Rohingyam muslim minority
ethnic-national minorities in the mainstream society. The accommodation of
multiculturalism is a major challenge in any nation state (see Kymlicka, 1995 and
Modood, 2007). However, Myanmar has failed to accommodate their ethnic
minorities in the nation-building process since independence. A number of inter-
viewees of this study think that the military and military-backed government
failed to accommodate national minorities in the mainstream politics. Specifically,
the Rohingyas’ ethnic-religious identity was not only rejected, but they also perse-
cuted by the state and non-state actors in Myanmar. The ongoing violence in the
Rakhine State and the government\s unwillingness proves that Rohingyas are in
the same situation as before democratization in Myanmar. More than a year after
the parliamentary election, the NLD government has failed to take effective
measures to protect the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. At the same
time, political leaders including the civil society has failed to address the commu-
nal issue, rather it has become a part of the ethnocentric politics in Bur-
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End Notes
iRadio speech by Prime Minister U Nu on 25 September 1954 at 8 pm and public speech by
Prime Minister and Defense Minister U Ba Swe at Maungdaw and Buthidaung respectively on
3 and 4 November, 1959.
iiInterview with Abu Tahay, Rohingya political leader, Yangon, April 2016.
iii Iinterview with Chit Lwin, former MP in 1990’s election, currently working as civil society
member, Yangon, October 2016.
ivThis information taken from Arakan(News and Analysis of the ArakanRohingya National
Organisation) (http://www. burmalibrary. org/docs12/Arakanmag-2011-09-red. pdf; >[ac-
cessed September 2016].
vInterview with Muslim leader Aye Lwin , member of Kofi Annan Commission, Yangon, October
viInterview with Muslim leader Aye Lwin , Hossain Kader , Yangon, October 2016 and May
viiThe Burmese armed forces officially are called Tatmadaw. Tatmadaw is the military organi-
zation of the Union of Burma. The armed forces are officially under the Ministry of Defense and
comprise different forces such as: the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
viiiInterview with Rohingya political leader Abu Tahay, Yangon, May, 2017.
ixInterview with Kyaw Min alias ShamsulAnwor, who was elected MP in 1990’s election from
Rakhine State. Currently, he is the president of Democracy and Human Rights Party, Yangon,
April 2016.
x Interview with Chit Lwin, former MP in 1990’s election, currently working as civil society
member, Yangon, October 2016.
xiMyanmar’s nationalist Buddhist group known as The Committee for the Protection of Nation-
ality and Religion (Ma Ba Tha). Some of their members are closely involve with the 969 ultra-
Buddhist nationalist group.
South Asian Journal of Policy and Governance
xiiInterview with Kaman and Chulia ethnic Muslim minority leaders, Yangon, May 2017.
xiii Interview with Rohingya political leader Abu Tahay, Yangon, October 2016.
xiv Interview with Ashley South, Burma related expert and currently working as a research fellow
in Chiang Mai University, August 2016.
xvInterview with the Burmese Muslim leader Aye Lwin , member of Kofi Annan Commission,
Yangon, October 2016 and May 2017.
xvi Email conversation with Nurul Islam-Rohingya exile leader based in UK, President, Ara-
kanRohingya National Organization, October 2016.
xviiInterview with Osman alias Ye Naing, an activist of 88 Generation and WaliUllah, Secretary
General of the National Democratic Party for Development, Yangon, April and October 2016.
xviiiInterview withSoe Ye, civil society leader in Yangon, May 2017.
xixInterview with Dr. SaiOo, country representative of the Pyidaungsu Institute. This organiza-
tion has been working on peace process in Myanmar, Yangon, October 2016 and May 2017.
... After gaining Burmese independence in 1948, President U Nu established a civilian government in the country. His democratic government's tenure (1948)(1949)(1950)(1951)(1952)(1953)(1954)(1955)(1956)(1957)(1958)(1959)(1960)(1961)(1962) recognised the Rohingya as a separate ethnic group as they self-identified themselves as 'Rohingyas' (Haque, 2017;Thawnghmung, 2016;Uddin, 2020). However, the situation worsened after the military takeover in 1962. ...
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This article explores the consequences of the recent military coup in Myanmar for the Rohingya crisis. Data from seven semi-structured interviews were collected from academic and Rohingya leaders in the Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane. The findings suggest that the regime change that has taken place will not resolve the Rohingya crisis unless the Myanmar government moves away from its current anti-Rohingya, religious nationalism policy agenda. A military coup on 1 February 2021 overthrew the relatively new democratic government in Myanmar. The anti-military movement now faces the military's brutal force for restoring democracy in the country. The elected parliament members established an interim National Unity Government (NUG) to lead anti-military protests. Regarding the military junta and NUG's strategy concerning the Rohingya crisis, both aim to get international support for their endeavours. The Rohingya became a sacrificial lamb for both of these competitors. The Rohingya now face a dilemma in making the decision to support one or the other political parties, as the leaders of both parties were involved actively in instigating the Rohingya genocide in 2017. The situation for the Rohingya becomes complicated as they now find themselves caught between the 'devil and the deep sea'.
... According to reports, the Rohingya households are increasingly in need of fuelwood or lumber, which they take from neighboring woods. The Rohingya households currently require 750,000 kg of fuelwood per day [50], enormously pressing surrounding forest resources. According to a study, the migrants have cleared 5013 acres of dense forest so far, and the number is growing [51]. ...
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The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine state has resulted in a significant influx of refugees into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. However, the ecological impact of this migration has received limited attention in research. This study aimed to address this gap by utilizing remote sensing data and machine learning techniques to model the ecological quality (EQ) of the region before and after the refugee influx. To quantify changes in land use and land cover (LULC), three supervised machine learning classification methods, namely artificial neural networks (ANN), support vector machines (SVM), and random forests (RF), were applied. The most accurate LULC maps obtained from these methods were then used to assess changes in ecosystem service valuation and function resulting from the land use changes. Furthermore, fuzzy logic models were employed to examine the EQ conditions before and after the Rohingya influx. The findings of the study indicate that the increased number of Rohingya refugees has led to a 9.58% decrease in forest area, accompanied by an 8.25% increase in settlement areas. The estimated total ecosystem services value (ESV) in the research area was $67.83 million in 2017 and $67.78 million in 2021, respectively. The ESV for forests experienced a significant decline of 21.97%, equivalent to a decrease of $5.33 million. Additionally, the reduction in forest lands has contributed to a 13.58% decline in raw materials and a 14.57% decline in biodiversity. Furthermore, utilizing a Markovian transition probability model, our analysis reveals that the EQ conditions in the area have deteriorated from "very good" or "good" to "bad" or "very bad" following the Rohingya influx. The findings of this study emphasize the importance of integrating ecological considerations into decision-making processes and developing proactive measures to mitigate the environmental impact of such large-scale migrations.
... To grant citizenship under their given name would prove to be a risk Myanmar wasn't willing to take. Practice translated into policy in 1982, creating the Citizenship Law consisting of a three-tiered hierarchy of citizenship, granting full citizenship to those considered 'national races' and lesser forms with fewer citizenship rights to 'associate' and 'naturalize' (Haque, 2017). Then, Rohingyas were officially denied citizenship in Myanmar (HRC, 2018), with their physical and social spaces suddenly diminished. ...
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Refugees experience shrinking social, economic, political, and physical spaces at astonishing rates. However, these shrinking spaces are challenging to trace simultaneously and are rarely considered in policymaking or analysis. Using the Rohingya case study, this paper implores policy analysis to include these spaces, conceptually categorizing them into physical, social, and psychological spaces. Here we chronologize the plight of Rohingya refugees and identify how their spaces have changed over time. Our findings reveal four primary causal relationships linked to Rohingya refugees' fluctuating spaces, including: (I) Bangladesh's policy framework has kept the Rohingya largely isolated, yet their public-private partnerships have expanded their space; (ii) Bangladesh has a robust social policy framework, which has contributed to expanding refugees' spaces; (iii) Myanmar's foreign policy framework contributed to justifying war crimes, severely restricting Rohingya's space, and (iv) The lack of a social policy framework in Myanmar lead to a severe lack of protection mechanisms for the Rohingya.
... However, the pronatalist notions backed by the religion are further strengthened by the unique political reality of the Rohingya ethnic minority. The long history of persecution, domination, and oppression over the Rohingya [32,33] further rationalized, strengthened, and promoted the high fertility behavior, with religio-political motivations to 'expand the Rohingya community' or 'to increase Muslim soldiers' [34]. Such religio-political pronatalist ideologies had been commonly singled out to account for the persistently high fertility levels among Palestinians [28], "hyper-fertile" Muslims in Ladakh, India [35], Jewish women in Israel [36], and Christian pronatalism in the USA [37]. ...
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Introduction: Rohingya- the Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN)- are largely characterized by a high total fertility rate (TFR) and a low contraceptive prevalence rate. This study aimed to explore the reasons behind their high fertility behavior by utilizing the Theory of Planned Behavior. Data and method: We adopted a cross-sectional qualitative research approach. Fifteen semi-structured, face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with the Rohingya husbands, wives, and community leaders (Majhi and Imam/Khatib) living in Camps 1 and 2 of Ukhiya Refugee Camp, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. We analyzed the qualitative data using the thematic analysis approach. Results: The Muslim-majority FDMN predominantly constructed the fertility outcome as the will and order of Allah. On the one hand, the Rohingya parents highlighted various religious, political, economic, and social advantages of having more children, especially sons. On the other hand, beliefs about religious restriction, fear of side effects, and community pressure against contraception sustained the reality of the low contraceptive prevalence rate in the community. Alarmingly, the Rohingya religious leaders and mass people were found highly politically motivated to continue the practice of high fertility with a view to 'expanding the Rohingya community' or 'to increase Muslim soldiers', so that they may fight back and take control of their ancestors' place in Myanmar in the future. Furthermore, these pronatalist attitudes and beliefs translated into high TFR through various high-fertility-supportive social norms and practices widely prevalent in the Rohingya community. These include child marriage, gendered division of labor, women's subordinate nature, the Purdah system, and joint-family members' support during childbirth and rearing. Conclusion: Religion, ethnic identity, and the unique political context and experiences of the Rohingya people jointly explain their high fertility behavior. This study warrants the urgency of initiating social and behavior change communication programs to change the religiopolitically-motivated high-fertility notions that prevailed in the Rohingya community.
... These Rohingya also took shelter in Malay, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. After Independence in 1948, the Myanmar government excluded the Rohingya from the country's constitution as well as passed a citizenship law in 1982 (Haque, 2017) from which Rohingya were excluded. More persecution and discrimination were waiting for the Rohingya. ...
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The objective of this research is to find out the relationship between Rohingya minorities of Myanmar and black communities in the USA from the lens of systemic racism. The Rohingya have been tortured for their ethnic identity just as the black communities are being persecuted outside of Asia. The black movement of America increase on May 25, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when black man George Floyd died by the physical torture of policemen. In the same way, the Rohingya people saw various military armed insurrections in their whole lifetime yielding unlimited pain and unacceptable experience for the community. From the 1940s, they have been persecuted by their own government till the huge influx in 2017 which forced the majority to take shelter in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. More than 1 million Rohingya people are now living in these largest camps for displaced persons in the world. Despite the growing systemic racism in these two communities in the two parts of the world, few literatures focused on the co-relations between them and hardly defined these crises from the systemic racism lens. We largely based our arguments on the challenges of practicing Rohingya culture based on secondary source analysis. However, the research finds comparative analysis between the Asian communities has become an urgent need for further research.
... In the early 1990s, roughly a quarter million refugees arrived Jfl Question ing Human Security o+ Re+:., . ns1 ere egal documents (Haque, 2017 . In 2017, the then Chief of the United Nations Human R' h Offi . ...
... Religious figures based on the results of interviews stated that being a minority in the North Tapanuli area is a challenge for the Muslim community in that area because Muslims have difficulty adapting to the culture of the area. Muslim communities who live in Muslim minority areas tend to experience difficulties in carrying out the culture in these areas because they are worried that it will conflict with religious teachings (Haque, 2017). The Comparison of Religions in North Tapanuli Regency is shown in figure 2. Figure 2 proves that there is a Muslim community as a minority group that lives in the midst of a Christian majority community. ...
The clash between Islam and culture often occurs in efforts to disseminate Islamic education to the society especially in areas with Muslim minority communities. This study aims to explore the integration of culture and Islam in Muslim minority areas in the context of implementing Islamic education. The research took place at two Madrasah Aliyah schools and one Madrasah Tsanawiyah located in Tarutung City. This study applied qualitative and phenomenological approach. The data were obtained through observation, interviews, and documentation techniques. Triangulation techniques were used to analyze the data. The informants involved in this study were community leaders, educational leaders and religious leaders. The results of the study show that Islamic religion and culture can be integrated in socializing Islamic education to people in Muslim minority areas in Indonesia. Many aspects of Batak culture are maintained because they are in accordance with Islamic religious teaching. Some aspect of Batak culture that are contrary to Islamic religious teachings are adapted to be compatible with Islamic religious teachings. In this study, the integration of Islamic religion and Batak culture went fairly smoothly and is accepted by the community to deliver in Islamic education in the region.
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This article discusses the world's most oppressed people, the Muslim Rohingya of Burma (Myanmar) through the lens of "state symbologies and critical juncture". It further argues the amalgamation of Burmese-Buddhist ethno-nationalism and anti-Muslim hate speech have become elements of Burma's state symbology and components. Colonialism established conditions in which ethno-religious conflict could develop through policies that destroyed the civic religious pluralism characteristic of pre-colonial states. Burmese Buddhist ethno-religious nationalism is responsible for a series of communal conflicts and state repression because it did not recognize Muslims and other minorities as full and equal participants in the post-colonial national project. Therefore, the cycles of violence and the complexities of inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations indicate that Burmese political culture has become increasingly violent and genocidal. [Artikel ini menjelaskan mengenai minoritas Muslim di Birma (Myanmar), Muslim Rohingya, yang mengalami tekanan dan kekerasan. Artikel ini hendak meletakkan kekerasan terhadap Muslim Rohingya melalui konsep "state symbologies dan critical juncture". Artikel ini berargumen amalgamasi ethno-nasionalisme Budha di Birma dan kebencian terhadap minoritas Muslim Rohingya menjadi elemen dan komponen penting dalam simbologi politik Birma kontemporer. Kolonialisme menjadi salah satu faktor penyebab lahirnya kondisi di mana konflik etnik-agama memfasilitasi kebijakan politik yang meluluh-lantahkan pluralisme-kewargaan penganut agama di Birma pada masa pra-kolonial. Nasionalisme etnis-agama jelas bertanggung jawab atas berbagai konflik komunal dan represi oleh negara yang berakar pada diskriminasi terhadap minoritas Muslim dan minoritas lainnya dalam bangunan politik Birma pada paska kolonial. Oleh karena itu, lingkaran kekerasan dan kompleksitas relasi antar-etnik dan antar-agama menjelaskan bahwa kultur politik Burma menjadi semakin membahayakan dan mematikan.]
Rakhine in Myanmar's Sittwe Tell of Renewed Attacks
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Rights of Non-citizens and Concern for Security: The Case of Rohingya in Burma and Bangladesh
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