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Gadir Jaafar
IP: Ethnicity
First Draft
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Mirror Mirror on The Wall, Whos The Victim of Them

All?

Islam is one of the three known monotheistic religions around the world. In

fact, when we think of Islam, we have that tendency to think of only Arab countries.

However, we forget that this religion is open to everyone, and does not have only

Arab followers. Little do we know that Muslims do exist in countries we wouldnt

think of, such as Russia, Myanmar, and China. So, I am interested in the Muslim

minority communities found in these countries, focusing on their lives in the 21 st

century. Therefore, what is the contemporary common social experience of Muslims

in different geographical spaces? Thus, the discrimination against Muslim minorities

surface due to laws impacted by categorization, by looking at distinct experiences

from three geographical regions. In the following paragraphs, I will discuss

Myanmars policies and events that impacted the lives of the Muslim minority in

Myanmar.

Rohingya: The Forgotten People of Myanmar

This section will be interested in the aftermath of events on the Muslim

population of Myanmar. In fact, following the 1982 Citizenship Law of Myanmar, the

Rohingya community suffered from discriminatory treatment (Brinham 2012, P.1).

Even though this law occurred and was applied a long time in history, the election of

Thein Sein, previous president of Myanmar, in 2010 and in 2015, the discrimination
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intensified and lead to segregation on the Rohingyas community (Burke 2016,

P.260).

First, the aftermath of the 1982 Citizenship Law of Myanmar lead to a great

discrimination rage towards the Muslim community of Myanmar: they were denied

citizenship as Muslims and were not recognized as people from the country

(Brinham 2012, P.1). By definition, discrimination is when someone treats an

individual in a different manner because of their race or ethnicity (Evett & Hakstian

2013, P.1). Discrimination is negative, and is present everywhere, anywhere. It

simply requires people who are against or/and dont approve of difference in people;

those who discriminate treat others with disrespect and inhumanly to feel superior.

In Myanmar, the population is in majority Buddhist, and there is decades of tension

between the Muslim minority and the Rakhine Buddhist majority. Therefore, having

the Rohingya community present in their territory, is a form of threat. In

consequence, the majority took the rights of Rohingya away to prevent the Muslim

minority from having any control in the country. Discriminating laws surfaced ever

since 1982, and this impacted hugely the lives of Rohingya: discriminatory

treatments leading to death, burnings of mosques and Muslim property, torture,

kidnapping, all this by the Burmese security forces abusing human rights. In fact,

the previous president of Burma Thein Sein proposed to send Rohingya to third

countries or send them to UNHCR-administered camps, and this was, according to

him, the only solution (Brinham 2012, P.1). This only makes their lives miserable in
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addition to not having support from their so-called president, they get the opposite

of what a president is supposed to do, which is protect his people, and they get

bullied by the rest of the population. But apparently, the Rohingya are stateless in

the state of Rakhine, therefore they dont matter to the country, and history repeats

itself.

Secondly, as seen above, the previous president of Myanmar suggested

sending the Rohingya away, in other words, the presidential election resulted into

the segregation of this community. According to Louf and Barthelemy, the concept

of segregation is defined as a pattern of social institutions an spatial distribution of

different racial groups

(Louf& Barthelemy 2016, P.2). For instance, it is the action of separation different

groups in a country or community, for simple reasons such as they are different.

Ever since 2012, Myanmars Muslim population is being segregated: they are

segregated from the rest of the population to create Muslim-free areas; while

burning their properties, many have died and the rest has been sent to camps

administered under the Burmese government (Louf & Barthelemy 2016, P.2). In fact,

Human Rights Watch describes this whole situation of segregation and

discrimination as ethnic cleansing, which is clearly mentioned previously from the

president. Plus, this only supports the idea of wanting the Rohingya to disappear

from the territory, or just take their freedom of movement away, to remain in power.

Shockingly, a political activist called Kyaw Zaw Oo has been implementing in the

minds of the rest Myanmars population that Rohingya are aliens (Louf &

Barthelemy 2016, P.3). This creates fear in the minds of the uneducated, and gives

purpose to those in power to justify their decision of segregation towards the


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Muslim minority, which all result into a vicious circle of endless hatred and

complications.

Hence, it all started with the citizenship law in 1982 that resulted into heavy

discrimination towards the Rohingya. This only helped the election of Myanmars

president by keeping it, and even implementing segregation policies towards this

visible minority. Therefore, the Rohingya experience in Rakhine state is not at its

best, the Muslim minority in China shares a better state of life, as seen in the

followings.