MAHATMA GANDHI UNIVERSITYSchool of International Relations and Politics M A International Relations and Politics Candidate Navas M Khadar TitleETHINICITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: A CASE STUDY ON MUSLIM MINORITY ISSUES IN MYANMAR Supervisor Prof. A.M Thomas 2013
ETHINICITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: A CASE STUDY ON MUSLIM MINORITY ISSUE IN MYANMARINTRODUCTIONSoutheast Asia, vast region of Asia situated east of the Indian subcontinent and south ofChina. It consists of two dissimilar portions: a continental projection and a string ofarchipelagos to the south and east of the mainland. Southeast Asia is divided into thecountries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, and the small city-stateof Singapore at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula; Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam,which occupy the eastern portion of the mainland, often are collectively called theIndochinese Peninsula. Southeast Asia’s population includes a wide variety ofethnic groups and cultures. The peopling of Southeast Asia took place through varioussouthward migrations. The initial peoples arrived from the Asian continental interior.Successive movement displaced these initial settlers and created a complex ethnic pattern.Burma also known as Myanmar is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia borderedby China, Thailand, India, Laos and Bangladesh. The Christian and Muslim populations do,however, face religious persecution and it is hard, if not impossible, for non-Buddhists to jointhe army or get government jobs, the main route to success in the country. Such persecutionand targeting of civilians is particularly notable in Eastern Burma, Rohingya Muslims havesettled in Bangladesh, to escape persecution, over the past 20 years. 89% of the populationembraces Buddhism. Other religions are practiced largely without obstruction, with thenotable exception of some ethnic minorities such as the Muslim Rohingya people, who havecontinued to have their citizenship status denied and treated as illegal immigrants instead, andMyanmar has a Buddhist majority. The Muslim minority in Myanmar mostly consists ofthe Rohingya people and the descendants of Muslim immigrants from India and China aswell as descendants of earlier Arab settlers. After independence, many Muslims retained theirprevious positions and achieved prominence in business and politics. Burma has a population75 million with the Muslim population being just 0.7 million.So in this work briefly study about Ethnicity in Southeast Asia and issues of Muslim minorityin Myanmar.
Statement of the Problem The racial tension in March 1997 between Buddhists andMuslims and the attack on Muslim properties began during the renovation of a Buddhastatue. The bronze Buddha statue in the Maha Myatmuni pagoda, originally from the Arakan,brought to Mandalay by King Bodawpaya in 1784 AD was renovated by the authorities. TheMahamyat Muni statue was broken open, leaving a gaping hole in the statue, and it wasgenerally presumed that the regime was searching for the Padamya Myetshin, a legendaryruby that ensures victory in war to those who possess it. On 16 March 1997, Buddhist monksand others shouted anti-Muslim slogans. They targeted the mosques first for attack, followedby Muslim shop-houses and transportation vehicles in the vicinity of mosques, damaging,destroying, looting, and trampling, burning religious books, committing acts of sacrilege. Thearea where the acts of damage, destruction, and lootings were committed was Kaingdan,Mandalay. The unrest in Mandalay began after reports of an attempted rape of a girl byMuslim men, although this was later disproved and led to speculation that the regime mayhave orchestrated the incident to deflect anger from the damaged statue. At least three peoplewere killed and around 100 monks arrested.In 2001 The Fear of Losing Ones Race and many other anti-Muslim pamphlets were widelydistributed by monks. Many Muslims feel that this exacerbated the anti-Muslim feelings thathad been provoked by the destruction in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.On May 15, 2001, anti-Muslim riots broke out in Taungoo, Pegu division, resulting in the deaths of about 200Muslims, in the destruction of 11 mosques and the setting ablaze of over 400 houses. On May15, the first day of the anti-Muslim uprisings, about 20 Muslims who were praying in the HanTha mosque were killed and some were beaten to death by the pro-junta forces. On May 17,Lt. General Win Myint, Secretary No.3 of the SPDC and deputy Home and Religiousminister, arrived in Taungoo and curfew was imposed there until July 12, 2001.Buddhistmonks demanded that the ancient Hantha Mosque in Taungoo be destroyed in retaliation forthe destruction in Bamiyan. On May 18, however, Han Tha mosque and Taungoo Railwaystation mosque were razed to the ground by bulldozers owned by the SPDC junta.Themosques in Taungoo remained closed as of May 2002. Muslims have been forced to worshipin their homes. Local Muslim leaders complain that they are still harassed. After the violence,many local Muslims moved away from Taungoo to nearby towns and to as far away as
Yangon. After two days of violence the military stepped in and the violence immediatelyended. Since June 2012, at least 166 Muslims and Rakhine have been killed in sectarianviolence in the state. The 2012 Rakhine State riots are a series of ongoing conflicts primarilybetween ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State,Myanmar, though by October Muslims of all ethnicities had begun to be targeted. The riotscame after weeks of sectarian disputes and have been condemned by most people on bothsides of the conflict. The immediate cause of the riots was unclear, with many commentatorsciting the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman and the following killing of ten BurmeseMuslims by ethnic Rakhine as the main cause. The Myanmar government responded byimposing curfews and by deploying troops in the regions. On 10 June, state of emergencywas declared in Rakhine, allowing military to participate in administration of the region. Asof 22 August, officially there had been 88 casualties – 57 Muslims and 31 Buddhists. Anestimated 90,000 people have been displaced by the violence. About 2,528 houses wereburned, and of those, 1,336 belonged to Rohingyas and 1,192 belonged to Rakhines. TheBurmese army and police were accused of playing a leading role in targeting Rohingyasthrough mass arrests and arbitrary violence.Importance and Need for the StudyIn Myanmar Muslims were widely marginalized and there have faced many violations. TheStatement of Problem clear that Ethnicity is very active role in Southeast Asia. MyanmarEthnic Conflicts clearly show a dominant Ethnic group suppressed and oppressed theminority one and the study of Muslim minority issue is very relevant in current SoutheastAsian Politics.
Review of Literature In this field many work has attempted. Sri Milton Obron in his book “SoutheastAsia: An Introductory History” he briefly mention that A history of Southeast Asiaconcentrates on the changes that have taken place since the eighteenth century and covers theimpact of social change and the roles played by ethnic minorities, immigrant groups, andreligion in the region. David Bradley, Joe Cummings is two important Southeast Asianscholars. They published “South East Asia Phrasebook” was clearly mention about theEssential words and phrases in Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Malay & Indonesian, Pilipino, Thaiand Vietnamese. “The Buddhist world of Southeast Asia” is a work of Donald K. Swearer.He wrote it is a wide-ranging, readable account of the Theravada Buddhist thought andpractice in the Southeast Asian societies of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia,and Sri Lanka. David Brown is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics atMurdochs University, Australia. He wrote a book “The State and Ethnic Politics in SouthEast Asia” it is mention that Ethnic tensions in Southeast Asia represent a clear threat to thefuture stability of the region. David Browns clear and systematic study outlines the patternsof ethnic politics in: Burma, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, ThailandThe study considers the influence of the State on the formation of ethnic groups andinvestigates why some countries are more successful in managing their ethnic politics thanothers. Kusuma Sanitwong and Willard Scott Thompsons were edited a book “EthnicConflicts in South East Asia” its examines different ethnic configurations and conflictavoidance and resolution in five different Southeast Asian countries. Tin Maung Maung Thantraces the history and impossibility of the current Myanmar regimes quest to integrate thevarious ethnic groups in the border regions while insisting on a unitary state with all realpower kept to themselves. Rizal Sukma divides conflicts in Indonesia into horizontal(Kalimantan, Maluku and Sulawesi) and vertical ones (the Madurese versus the Dayaks) andassesses the prospects for peaceful resolution if the countrys fledgling democracy does notproperly address them. Miriam Coronel Ferrer examines the conflicts in Mindanao againstthe apparent lack of willingness of Manila to come to terms with the root causes as well asthe infusion of arms and ideology from outside. Zakaria Haji Ahmad and Suzaina Kadir
analyse Malaysias relatively successful handling of an ethnically divided society, which haspermitted impressive stability since 1969. Chayan Vaddhanaphuti focuses on the non-Thaiborder peoples of northern Thailand, noting the legacy of the governments policy of selectivecitizenship. Ethnic Conflicts in Southeast Asia will be an invaluable resource for scholars ofcontemporary Southeast Asia as well as in other regions, policy-makers and others, who wishto assess and develop strategies to prevent, modulate and resolve such conflicts. Narayanan Ganesan and Kyaw Yin Hlaing are editors of “Myanmar: State,Society and Ethnicity” they Focusing on some of the most important and topical questionsabout Myanmar, contributors to this book look at issues of historical influence and politicalconsiderations that have shaped the dominant thinking within the state and the military. Thereare equally important studies of sensitive topics like the political economy of the state and thelevel of human security in the country. The three ethnics groups--Karen, Kachin, and Shan--are also studied in detail. Some of the negotiations between the Karen and Kachin ethnicinsurgent group representatives on the one hand, and the military junta on the other, arespelled out in detail. An important corollary finding is the importance of religion andreligious personalities in brokering peace between the ethnic groups and the militarygovernment. Finally, the book deals with how the various ethnic groups are trying to copewith decades of conflict and reconstruct their communities. Rianne ten Veen show to in his book “Myanmars Muslims: The Oppressedof the Oppressed” he says that all religious and ethnic minorities have suffered, it seems to bethe Muslims of Arakan who have borne the brunt of the resentment. Author Trevor Wilsonpublished in his book “Dictatorship, Disorder and Decline in Myanmar” he wrote that Masspeaceful protests in Myanmar/Burma in 2007 drew the worlds attention to the ongoingproblems faced by this country and its oppressed people. In this publication, experts fromaround the world analyse the reasons for these recent political upheavals, explain how thecountrys economy, education and health sectors are in perceptible decline, and identify theunderlying authoritarian pressures that characterise Myanmar/Burmas military regime.
Objective of Study To explain the Ethnic diversity of Southeast Asia. To evaluate major Muslim minority groups in Myanmar. To examine Minority issues in Myanmar. To study the major Anti-Muslim riots in Myanmar. To analyse the reaction of international political community.Hypotheses Southeast Asia is a Multi Ethnic composite Region in the World. Myanmar is an ethnically diverse nation with 135 distinct ethnic groups. These are grouped into eight major national ethnic races: Kachin , Kayah , Kayin ,Chin ,Mon, Bamar , Rakhine , Sha. In Myanmar minorities were widely marginalized. The state of Myanmar showed many Anti-Muslim Riots during the period of British rule. Later period accordingly 1997, 2001, 2012 Myanmar witnessed very conflict nature anti-Muslims riots. International Political Community especially the international organizations played a vital role in the settlement of Ethnic conflict in Southeast Asia.
MethodologyA methodology is usually a guideline system for solving a problem, with specific componentssuch as phases, tasks, methods, techniques and tools. In this study Qualitative model ofresearch is using. Historical and Analytical methodologies are applied in this work.Historically research means that systematic and objective location , evaluation and synthesisof evidence in order to establishment facts and draw a conclusion about past events andAnalytically it is using to instead of examining records or artefacts , and it relies onobservation as means of collecting data.ChaptersChapter 1 : An Introduction to Ethnicity in Southeast Asia.Chapter 2 : General History and Role of Ethnic groups in Myanmar.Chapter 3 : Study of Muslim minority issues in Myanmar on the basis of various Riots.Chapter 4 : Observation and Conclusion.Bibliography 1. Anderson, Benedict. The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia and the World. (Selections). 1998. 2. Osborne, Milton. Southeast Asia: An Introductory History. Allen & Unwin, 2010. 3. Bradley, David. Southeast Asia Phrasebook.1997. 4. Brown, David. The State and Ethnic Politics in Southeast Asia. Routledge , 1994. 5. Thompson, Willard Scott. Ethnic conflicts in Southeast Asia. 2005. 6. Britannica, Online Encyclopaedia: www.britannica.com 7. Wikipedia, encyclopaedia: www.wikipedia.org 8. Stanford, encyclopaedia of philosophy: www.stanford.edu