Religion, Nationalism, and the Rohingya’s Search for Citizenship in Myanmar

  • Samak Kosem
  • Amjad Saleem
Part of the The Modern Muslim World book series (MMUS)


Since Myanmar has been welcomed into the international fold in late 2011, following some initial steps toward democratic reform, it has been beset by a wave of religious violence in recent times between Buddhists and Muslims, with the Rohingya community generally on the receiving end.1 The recent wave of violence erupted among Buddhists and Muslim in Meikhtila city during March 2013, following a wave of violence between Rohingya Muslims and the Arakan Buddhists in 2012. These incidences of violence call into question the commitment of the Myanmar government in guaranteeing democratic and religious freedoms and truly embracing the spirit of multicultur-alism. The roots of this Buddhist-Muslim violence is multifaceted, including political, security, and historical factors. However, one of the key bones of contention regarding the Rohingya is the notion of citizenship. These issues continue to facilitate outbreaks of violence that threatens the delicate religious balance in the country, with the potential to escalate and spill over across the Asia region.


Illegal Immigrant Refugee Camp Muslim Community Thai Government Boat People 
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© Samak Kosem and Amjad Saleem 2016

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  • Samak Kosem
  • Amjad Saleem

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