01 June 2015
THE flight of the Rohingyas from Myanmar has now received global attention, and what began as an internal political issue in Myanmar has spilled into the Asean region. For several years now, there have been reports of growing ethnic-religious tension in Myanmar as a result of the rise of right-wing ethno-nationalist groups, notably the “969” movement, and the rhetoric employed by some Burmese-Buddhist monks, like Ashin Wirathu.
These groups have been calling for a boycott of Muslim-owned businesses in the country, and have been at the forefront of a sustained campaign to depict Muslims as outsiders and aliens in their society. The net result has been the demonisation of Muslims in general and the Rohingyas in particular, whose history as the people of Arakan has been slowly erased. Thus far, this has led to instances of violent attacks against the Rohingyas and has been the main reason for their flight abroad.
… The writer is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and visiting fellow at Isis Malaysia.
GPO / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015