The first Muslims landed in Myanmar / Burma’s Ayeyarwady River delta, Tanintharyi coast and Rakhine as seamen in the ninth century, prior to the establishment of the first Myanmar (Burmese) empire in 1055 AD by King Anawrahta of Bagan (or Pagan). The dawn of the Muslim settlements and the propagation of Islam was widely documented by the Arab, Persian, European and Chinese travelers of ninth century. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority population living mainly in the state of Arakan, in Myanmar (Burma). Although approximately 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar, and apparently their ancestors were in the country for centuries, the Burmese government does not recognize’ Rohingya’ people as Burmese citizens. People without a state, the Rohingya face harsh persecution in Myanmar, and in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh and Thailand as well. In 1785, Buddhist Burmese from the south of the country conquered Arakan. They drove out or executed all of the Muslim Rohingya men they could find; When World War II broke out, Britain abandoned Arakan in the face of Japanese expansion into Southeast Asia. In the chaos of Britain’s withdrawal, both Muslim and Buddhist forces took the opportunity to inflict massacres on one another. Since that time, the Rohingya in Myanmar have lived in limbo. In recent years, they have faced increasing persecution and attacks, even in some cases from Buddhist monks.
The Muslim Rohingya, as both non-Burmese and non-Buddhist, were labeled foreigners and incorrectly called “illegal Bengali immigrants” who came to Myanmar under British rule.
Full story: The News
Discussion on Burmese history and culture.
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