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Political Buddhism and the Exclusion of Rohingya in Myanmar: Exploring targeted religious nationalism using Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority as a case study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The Rohingya Muslim minority, originally living in Rakhine state in western Myanmar, has been marginalized and harassed for decades. The Rohingya minority has been stateless since 1982 and they strive to become Burmese citizens. Many Rohingya have been displaced and live in refugee camps in Bangladesh with UNHCR calling them one of the most vulnerable refugee groups in the world. The military junta in Myanmar did not look kindly at rebellious minority groups in the country, brutally beating down all minority opposition. Despite Myanmar is now in a process of democratization, the State-Councilor and President in all but name, Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to address the ongoing violence suffered by Rohingya. Although Myanmar has 135 recognized minority groups, the country is far from being a pluralistic society. Ethnicity and religion have played an important role in creating a national identity in Myanmar; a national identity which systematically excludes Rohingya. This thesis argues that the reason for Rohingya’s exclusion is the so called political Buddhism in Myanmar. Political Buddhism is when excluding Buddhism, the Burmese ethnicity and aggressive nationalism are used to exclude and persecute minority groups perceived as non-Burman. This thesis explores, through an ideology analysis, how political Buddhism can be used to understand the exclusion of Rohingya in Myanmar. Finally, the conclusion is that political Buddhism has been an important element to Rohingya’s exclusion in Myanmar. However, it is not the sole explanation and other factors such as poverty and underdevelopment are also considerable aspects.

Abstract [sv]

I Rakhine i västra Myanmar lever den muslimska minoritetsgruppen Rohingya under stort förtryck. Myanmars burmesiska majoritet har förtryckt Rohingya i årtionden och sedan 1982 är minoritetsgruppen statslösa. Flera hundratusen Rohingyier har flytt från Rakhine till flyktingläger i Bangladesh och UNHCR har kallat dem en av världens mest utsatta flyktinggrupper. Trots att Myanmar genomgår en demokratiseringsprocess vägrar Myanmars folkvalda ledare, Aung San Suu Kyi att fördöma våldet som Rohingya har fått utstå. Myanmar har 135 officiella minoritetsgrupper, men Rohingya är inte en av dem och landet är har fortfarande långt kvar till att bli ett accepterande mångkulturellt samhälle. Etnicitet och religion har spelat en viktig roll i skapandet av Myanmars nationella identitet, vilken har exkluderat Rohingya och andra icke-etniska burmesiska minoritetsgrupper. Jag argumenterar att anledningen till denna exkludering beror på så kallad politisk Buddhism, en kvasi-ideologi som uppstått genom exkluderande Buddhism, burmesisk etnicitet och aggressiv nationalism. Den här uppsatsen konceptualiserar politisk Buddhism genom en ideologianalys, utifrån en idealtyp och strävar efter att öka förståelsen för Rohingyas exkludering i Myanmar. Avslutningsvis är politisk Buddhism till stor del anledningen till Rohingyas marginalisering, men andra faktorer såsom fattigdom och låg ekonomisk utveckling är också möjliga faktorer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 47
Keywords [en]
Rohingya, Myanmar, political Buddhism, ethnicity, nationalism, refugees
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-351717OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-351717DiVA, id: diva2:1210875
Subject / course
Human Rights
Educational program
Master Programme in Human Rights
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-05-30 Created: 2018-05-29 Last updated: 2018-05-30Bibliographically approved

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