And what could be done to avert sectarian violence, to foster tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and to promote reconciliation?The essays in this series tackle these and other salient questions pertaining to sectarianism in the MENA and Asia Pacific regions.
And what could be done to avert sectarian violence, to foster tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and to promote reconciliation?The essays in this series tackle these and other salient questions pertaining to sectarianism in the MENA and Asia Pacific regions.The essay concludes with a look at civil society’s struggle to evolve in this context.
However, large-scale Muslim-Indian immigration reached Arakan following British expansion immediately after the three Anglo-Burmese wars (1824–1885), which culminated in the total conquest of Burma.
Once Burma became a province within the Indian empire, Muslim Indians could enter not as immigrants, but as residents moving from one district to another within the land.
Her comments suggesting that the core of the crisis lies with Bangladesh’s failure to control its border with Myanmar to stop migration are seen by nationalist Buddhists as a de facto support for their actions against the people they call “Bengalis,” as the name “Rohingya” is not recognized in Myanmar.
According to the government, local authorities, and the large majority of the Myanmar population, “Bengalis” are illegal immigrants of a different faith and as such do not have a recognized identity.
(International NGOs have suggested the numbers were greater.) Amid allegations of bias in favor of Muslims made by local Rakhine Buddhists against Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Myanmar government ordered the humanitarian organization to suspend all its activities in the Rakhine State on 26 February 2014, even though MSF was providing essential medical services for a population of approximately 700,000—including almost 200,000 displaced people, most of them Muslim—living in camps and isolated villages.
As of April 2014, the government allowed provision of essential services to resume under strict conditions, including that local MSF staff may not carry identification and cannot use communication systems.In this migratory process, Muslims eventually settled in several places, successfully developing a number of trade colonies.This long history of trade and trading settlements contributed to the Muslim population in Burma.This demographic change was due not only to commerce, but also to displacement resulting from Shi‘a-Sunni conflicts.A period of expansion of Muslim shipping in Asia, spreading along the coastal regions of India and the countries to the east, continued until the end of the fifteenth century.The nationalist paradigm behind the protectionist movements promoted by Myanmar’s Theravada Buddhists suggests a deep-seated consciousness of the fragility of their cultural identity.The large populations of nearby countries—China (1.35 billion practicing Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism), India (1.24 billion, 80% practicing Hinduism and 13% Islam), and Bangladesh (155 million, mostly practicing Islam) —are perceived as a threat by Myanmar’s Theravada Buddhists, who represent over 80% of the country’s population. This is complicated by the belief among hard-line nationalists that Islam is not compatible with Theravada Buddhist values.This gave a tremendous stimulus to immigration and caused a social-economic problem that remains to this day.Burma’s need for these immigrants derived from the changes in the economic structure the British had begun to develop.The proposed laws have support from both the central government and regional authorities.Thura U Shwe, Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw (the lower house of the Myanmar parliament), said that the laws “are very important for the sake of the people and the state, but also touch on complicated religious issues.” Rakhine State, also known as Arakan, is where most of the sectarian violence is taking place.