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Home > Main Library > Non-Burman and non-Buddhist groups > Muslims in Burma

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Muslims in Burma
See also ROHINGYA under Human Rights, ARAKAN/RAKHINE STATE under States and Regions of Burma/Myanmar and the Religious violence section

Individual Documents

Title: I Want to See a Burma Where We Accept Diversity: Student Leader and Former Political Prisoner Sithu Maung
Date of publication: 02 October 2015
Description/subject: "The student movement has historically played a central role in the pro-democracy struggle in Burma. Sithu Maung, a 27-year-old university student is one of the many who have paid a heavy price for their involvement in the movement. Sithu Maung was arrested in 2007 for re-founding the outlawed All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), and for his role in leading the 2007 Saffron Revolution. In September 2007, Sithu Maung participated in the peaceful demonstrations with monks and other protestors, demanding to be allowed to form student unions and calling for democracy. Sithu Maung witnessed his fellow students being shot by the military, and although he escaped the crackdown, authorities soon found him. Sithu Maung was sentenced to 11 years in prison. After his release in the 2012 amnesty for political prisoners, Sithu Maung continued his political activities and founded the Confederation of University Students’ Unions (CUSU), which has played an active role in the recent negotiations for democratic education and in promoting the students’ rights in Burma. Sithu Maung applied to the NLD (National League for Democracy) to be a candidate in the upcoming 2015 general election, but his application, along with all Muslim candidates, was rejected. Sithu Maung now dreams of preparing himself to become a member of parliament one day and advocating for minority rights and dignity."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 16 March 2016


Title: Myanmar: Portraits of Diversity: Dr Khin Win Kyu (video)
Date of publication: April 2015
Description/subject: "Commissioned by CPCS, Myanmar: Portraits of Diversity is a series of short films seeking to stimulate discussion and move audiences towards recognizing, accepting, and celebrating religious diversity in Myanmar. Directed by Kannan Arunasalam, the films present individuals from Myanmar’s different religious communities and highlight the inter-faith connections and engagement that take place naturally around the country. Featuring stories of cooperation across religious and ethnic divides, as well as the capacity for peace leadership within the country, community leaders share analysis and insights into the threat of inter-communal violence and illustrate the capacity for peace leadership...The film series seeks to stimulate alternative narratives regarding ethnic and spiritual issues in Myanmar where tolerance and cooperation are highlighted, rather than conflict and persecution. Screened together with guided reflections, the films can be used as tools to stimulate exchanges of ideas about diversity and tolerance, and to create a space to foster acceptance and share visions for the future. The issues raised by individuals featured in the films can be used to generate discussions on Myanmar’s different religious communities and highlight the kinds of inter-faith connections and engagement that take place naturally around the country. A discussion and study guide is available for each video portrait, followed by suggested activities that can also be adapted to different learning environments. For each film, background is provided on the person and their context, followed by five discussion questions and extension activities..."
Language: English and Burmese
Source/publisher: Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS)
Format/size: Vimeo player (5:05 minutes)
Alternate URLs: http://www.centrepeaceconflictstudies.org/interventions/myanmar-portraits-of-diversity/
Date of entry/update: 29 September 2015


Title: Myanmar: Portraits of Diversity: U Aye Lwin (video)
Date of publication: April 2015
Description/subject: ""Commissioned by CPCS, Myanmar: Portraits of Diversity is a series of short films seeking to stimulate discussion and move audiences towards recognizing, accepting, and celebrating religious diversity in Myanmar. Directed by Kannan Arunasalam, the films present individuals from Myanmar’s different religious communities and highlight the inter-faith connections and engagement that take place naturally around the country. Featuring stories of cooperation across religious and ethnic divides, as well as the capacity for peace leadership within the country, community leaders share analysis and insights into the threat of inter-communal violence and illustrate the capacity for peace leadership...The film series seeks to stimulate alternative narratives regarding ethnic and spiritual issues in Myanmar where tolerance and cooperation are highlighted, rather than conflict and persecution. Screened together with guided reflections, the films can be used as tools to stimulate exchanges of ideas about diversity and tolerance, and to create a space to foster acceptance and share visions for the future. The issues raised by individuals featured in the films can be used to generate discussions on Myanmar’s different religious communities and highlight the kinds of inter-faith connections and engagement that take place naturally around the country. A discussion and study guide is available for each video portrait, followed by suggested activities that can also be adapted to different learning environments. For each film, background is provided on the person and their context, followed by five discussion questions and extension activities..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS)
Format/size: Vimeo player (4: 02 minutes)
Alternate URLs: http://www.centrepeaceconflictstudies.org/interventions/myanmar-portraits-of-diversity/
Date of entry/update: 30 September 2015


Title: "A Leader of Men"
Date of publication: September 2007
Description/subject: The Muslim schoolteacher who joined Burma's martyrs... "Being a Muslim in a country where 87 percent of the population is Buddhist, and where the military government regularly practices ultra-nationalism and uses religion as a political tool, means joining the underprivileged at the bottom of the pile. The fight for liberty is the fight for peace. And like peace, liberty is indivisible —U Razak, June 1947 Muslims in Burma regularly suffer social and religious discrimination. Burmese Buddhists commonly call them, Kala, a derogatory term for South Asians and also used insultingly to describe westerners. While some consider the term abusive and degrading, there's general acceptance that it takes on a sense of honor, respect and lovingkindness when it's used in the form Kalagyi (Big Kala), to describe independence hero Abdul Razak. U Razak rose from the position of headmaster of Mandalay Central National High School to become minister of education and national planning in Burma's pre-independence government. His career was brought to a brutal end at the age of 49, when he was gunned down by assassins on July 19, 1947, together with independence leader Gen Aung San and seven other cabinet members and colleagues. The nine murdered leaders are commemorated annually on the country's Martyr's Day. Mandalay, where U Razak taught, is a center of Burmese Buddhist faith and culture. Yet U Razak, of ethnic Indian-Burmese origin, was fully accepted by the community..."
Author/creator: Yeni
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 15, No. 9
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=8463
Date of entry/update: 02 May 2008


Title: U Razak of Burma: A Teacher, a Leader, a Martyr
Date of publication: July 2007
Description/subject: "As a primary school student, I read about Sayagyi (a great teacher or a principal) U Razak and fellow martyrs in school textbooks and in remembrance booklets of Martyrs' Day, (19th July, 1947), the day he was assassinated along with U Aung San and seven other cabinet members and colleagues. Later in my twenties and thirties, I read the few available writings by U Razak, and articles written about him by his former students, and talked with people who knew him well. From this exposure, I learned about U Razak's deep love for Burma, his courage to fight for our country's independence, his respect for diversity, his desire for unity and his far-sighted wisdom. As a leader, his vision carried beyond our country and highlighted the principles of humanity, integrity, knowledge, courage, freedom and peace. The points U Razak, as Burma's Minister for Education and National Planning, emphasized in his 1947 speech at the First South East Asian Regional Conference of International Student Service in Madras, India, are still valid if not more pronounced in 2007. In times of intolerance and divisiveness, such as today, his vision and gentle yet persistent approach sought to unite diverse groups through education for the common goal of freedom and development should be referenced and explored further as we seek practical actions for long-lasting peace, security and prosperity..." CONTENTS: I. Preface; II. A Tribute to Sayagyi U Razak By Dr. Nyi Nyi; III. Freedom Movements As Peace Movements By Honorable U Razak; IV. The Burman Muslim Organization By A. Razak, B.A.; V. Translator's Note... 1. Sayagyi U Razak And Mandalay University By M.A. Ma Ohn; 2. Our Selfless Sayagyi By Colonel Khin Nyo; 3. Sayagyi Didn't Care For High Offices By U Saw Hla; 4. Our Sayagyi U Razak; By Thakin Chan Tun; 5. Affection Just As One Has For One's Mother By Pinnie; 6. A Partial Profile Of Sayagyi U Razak By Aung Kyi; 7. Just Like A Father By Thuriya Than Maung; 8. Our Marvellous Sayagyi By Maung Maung Mya; 9. In Fond Memory Of Sayagyi U Razak By Colonel Wai Lin; 10. Sayagyi U Razak And I By Theikpan Hmu Tin.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Private publisher
Format/size: pdf (895K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.scribd.com/doc/19167977/Dr-Nyi-Nyi-U-Razak-of-Burma
Date of entry/update: 18 July 2007


Title: A Seat at the Table
Date of publication: January 2006
Description/subject: In addition to greater international attention on their plight in exile, Thailand’s growing community of Burmese Muslims wants a voice in the political future of their country... "...The desire for equal protection—at home and in exile—seems to be the order of the day for Mae Sot’s Burmese Muslim community. Like the majority of refugees, they wait for the opportunity to return to a free Burma. Meanwhile, they do what they can to provide for their families, practice their religion without constraints and hope that greater attention is given to what the IHRC calls “the oppressed of the oppressed.”"
Author/creator: Edward Blair, Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006


Title: The Outsiders
Date of publication: January 2006
Description/subject: In a country where discrimination against minority groups is a fact of life, Muslims are bottom of the heap... "There is a saying that if you lose control of your bicycle in Burma’s western Arakan State, you shouldn’t worry as it will stop when it hits a kala. Kala is Burmese slang for outsider, or alien, and although Caucasians are sometimes referred to as white kala, the term is more commonly used for anyone dark skinned, usually of Indian origin. While some shrug the term off, others consider it abusive and degrading: an insult to people whose ancestors may have fought for the country and who consider themselves wholly Burmese...
Author/creator: Harry Priestley
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006


Title: Burma: Crackdown on Muslims
Date of publication: 18 July 2002
Description/subject: "...Human Rights Watch said that various factors sparked last year's confrontations between Buddhists and Muslims, including anger over the destruction of Buddhist images in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in March 2001. Military authorities confiscated pirated photos and videos of the Bamiyan statues being blown up by the Taliban, fearful they would enflame Buddhist sentiment. But in some cities outside Rangoon, there were credible reports of military intelligence officers stirring up anti-Muslim violence..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: PDF (28K) 12 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2002/07/18/crackdown-burmese-muslims
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Easy Targets: The Persecution of Muslims in Burma
Date of publication: 31 May 2002
Description/subject: "While extensive reporting has been done on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, very little attention has been paid to the persecution suffered by the thousands of Muslim communities which exist in villages and towns throughout Burma. With no political voice or armed group to stand up for them, Muslim communities are forced to endure the denial of all citizenship rights, restrictions on travel, work, and education, prohibitions on practicing Islam, and the systematic destruction of their mosques. This report looks at the systematic way these communities have been persecuted, impoverished and scapegoated by the military regime and by local populations, which culminated in the anti-Muslim riots and massacres of 2001..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2002-02)
Format/size: html and PDF (1300K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Terror in America, Backlash in Burma. The Rohingya: A Muslim Menace?
Date of publication: November 2001
Description/subject: "While Muslims around the world protest against airstrikes in Afghanistan, Burma’s Muslims are keeping silent, as the latest wave of communal violence continues..."
Author/creator: Maung Maung Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 9. No. 8, October-November 2001
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003