Persecution of Muslims in Myanmar
1 Muslims in Burmese History
Muslims in Burmese History
The first Muslim killing recorded in Burmese history
The first Muslim documented in Burmese history (recorded in Hmannan Yazawin or Glass Palace Chronicle) was Byat Wi during the Mon, Thaton King reign. (It was at about 1050 AD).  He was killed because the king was worried about of his strength.
Shwe Byin brothers Martyred
The second two persons killed later were his nephews. The two sons of his brother Byat Ta, known as Shwe Byin brothers. These children were executed because they refused to obey the forced labour order of the king, may be because of their religious belief. 
They refused to contribute to the building of the pagoda and the king and people walking in the corridors of powers in the royal court were worried of their popularity and skills. It was clearly recorded in the Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma that they were not trusted any more. 
Assassination of Nga Yaman Kan
Rahman Khan (Nga Yaman Kan) was another Muslim killed for political reason, because of treason to his own king and clearly not a religious persecution. It was during wartime, the famous national hero, King Kyansittha sent a hunter as a sniper to assassinate him.  
Massacre in Arakan
Another mass killings of Muslims in Arakan may be not for the religion but likely to be due to politics and greed only.
Shah Shuja’ was the second son of the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan who built the famous Taj Mahal of India. Shah Shuja’ lost to his brother and fled with his family and army in to Arakan.
Sandathudama (1652-1687 AD), Arakan King accepted and allow him to settle there. He wanted to continue to buy ships to go to Mecca and willing to pay with silver and gold. But Arakan king asked for his daughter and also became greedy to get all the wealth.
At last after an alleged unsuccessful attempt of rebellion the Sultan Shah Shuja’ and all his followers were killed.
All men seen with beard, the symbol of Islam, were beheaded.
Women were put into prison and let them die with hunger.
Muslims under Bayintnaung
Muslims served under Burmese king Bayintnaung (1550-1589 AD).  In 1559 AD after conquering Bago (Pegu) he prohibited the Muslims from doing halal (killing by cutting the throat under the name of Allah) of goats and chicken. He showed some religious intolerance and had forced some of his subjects to listen to Buddhist sermons and some were even said to be converted by force. He also disallowed the Edil Adha, Kurbani sacrifice of cattle. 
Muslims under Alaungpaya
King Bodawpaya (1782-1819) arrested four famous Myanmar Muslims Moulvis (Imams) from Myedu and killed them in Ava, capital after they refused to eat pork.  According to the Myedu Muslims and Myanmar Muslims version there were seven dark days after that execution and the king later apologize and recognized them as saints. 
Anti-Muslim and anti-Indian Riots
British Official White Paper
This paragraph’s basic facts are taken from Maurice Collis’ “Trials in Burma”. He was the judge in Rangoon, eye witnessed the riots and wrote his book based on the British Official White Paper given by, The Simon Commission. (The Royal Statutory Commission, appointed according to the Law of the Government of India1919, The Montague-Chelmsford Law.) 
Anti Indian and anti Muslim sentiments started during British rule. Anti-Indian sentiments in Burma/Myanmar is rooted in the Anti-foreign sentiment and Nationalism_
The pride and good feelings of nationalism,
the love for the country,
religion is frequently exploited and used by many politicians, ultra-nationalists, religious fanatics, racial extremists and present Military Junta of Myanmar.
Adolf Hitlar of Nazi Germany and Slobodan Milosivic, were the most prominent and indisputable examples.
But it is shameful to admit that many governments and politicians around the world are guilty of this crime one time or another to get or accomplish their own agenda or to cover up their faults and failures.
They use to threaten their own people with the following immaginary ‘threats’-
with the foreign powers and enemies,
possible out break of racial riots and
the danger of losing independence of their beloved country etc..
It is sad to note that, that propaganda warfare is usually successful with the help of the local government controlled media (and nowadays on internet and even on Wikipedia) and because of the use or exploitation of the nationalistic spirit. People against this would be labeled as unpatriotic or traitor.
Once intoxicated with the patriotism and nationality fever, people were blinded.
They are ready to do any thing for that patriotism.
They are even willing to kill or dare to be killed.
They are willing to sacrifice themselves, their family, their property and every thing on earth.
Patriotism could mobilize the whole nation.
Myanmar democracy leader Daw Aung San Su Kyi once comments regarding the political extremists, religious fanatics and ultra nationalists,
“Well, there are people who think that it’s right to do any thing in the name of their religion, their race, their family, or any organization to which they may belong.”
Although Myanmar Muslims are different from the Indian Muslims and Indian Myanmar Muslims, Burmese Buddhists put them together even mixed with Hindu Indians, and called them Kala.
Earlier muslim persecution of Buddhists and Hindus during the Mughal wars of conquest, where many Buddhists/Hindus were forcibly converted.
Low standard of living of the recent migrants.
Recent migrants willingness to do, Dirty, Difficult and Dangerous jobs.
Indians took over the Burmese lands especially Chittiers.
Indians had already filled up and monopolized the government services when the Burmese were later ready for those jobs.
World economic recession of 1930 aggravated the competition for the reduced economic pie.
1930 anti-Indian riots
In 1930 there was an anti-Indian riots in Burma under British rule.
The problem started in Yangon port, because of the irresponsible action of the British firm of Stevedores. It had employed hundreds of Indian labourers. While those Indians were on strike, that firm had employed the Burmese workers just to break the strike. So the Indians had to give in and ended the strike. Next morning when the Burmese workers came and report for work they were told by the British firm that their service was no more needed. Some of the Indian workers who were angry because they had to end the strike at failure because of these Burmese workers laughed at them. Some Burmese workers were angry and started the fight and Indians retaliate. It grew rapidly into anti Indian (including anti Muslims) riots. Even within the first half-hour at least two hundred Indians were massacred and flung into the river. Authorities ordered the police to fire upon any assembly of five or more who refuse to lay down the arms, under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. That was a black day of 26 May. Within two days it spread to the whole country and no one knew the exact causality. 
Anti Muslim riots in 1938
There was another anti Muslim riots in 1938, while still under British rule. The real basic hidden agenda was aimed at British Government but the Burmese dare not show this openly.
The growing Nationalistic sentiments fanned by the local media disguised as anti Muslim to avoid the early detection and notice followed by the full blown force of mighty British Government machinery.
Throughout the Burmese struggles against British rule, all the political issues, movements, meetings, demonstrations, riots, rebellions and even the revolutions were instigated, inspired, influenced and led by newspapers.  
Burma for Burmese Campaign
Burmese started the Burma for Burmese only Campaign. Then marched to the Muslim (Surti) Bazar.  While the Indian Police broke the violent demonstration, three monks were hurt. Burmese Newspapers use the pictures of Indian police attacking the Buddhist monks to further incite the spread of riots. Muslim properties: shops, houses and mosques were looted, destroyed and burnt to ashes. They assaulted and even massacred the Muslims. It spreads to all over Burma and recorded that 113 mosques were damaged. 
The Inquiry Committee by British
On 22.9.38. British Governor set up the Inquiry Committee.  They found out that the real cause was the discontent in the government regarding the deterioration in sociopolitical and economic conditions of Burmans.  The book was used as an inciting factor by the irresponsible Burmese newspapers.  They use the anti Muslim propaganda as a disguise to cover up for the political struggle to gain independence.So the Buddhist used the Muslims as a scapegoat, for the first time, to fight against the British.
The Simon Commission (The Royal Statutory Commission, appointed according to the Law of the Government of India1919, The Montague-Chelmsford Law) to inquire the effects of Dyarchy system of ruling Burma, had recommended that special places be assigned to the Myanmar Muslims in the Legislative Council.
It recommended that full rights of citizenship should be guaranteed to all the minorities: the right of free worship, the right to follow their own customs, the right to own property and to receive a share of the public revenues for the maintenance of their own educational and charitable institutions. It recommended Home Rule or independent government separate from India or the status of dominion.
But the British Government refused to accept all those recommended except the separation, at the round table committee on India held in London in 1930.
Muslims under U Nu
AFPFL expelled Burma Muslim Congress 
The BMC, Burma Muslim Congress was founded almost at the same time with the AFPFL, Anti-Fascist Peoples’ Freedom Party of General Aung San and U Nu before World War Two. On 25.12 45 in Pyin Mana, U Razak was elected the President of BMC and decided to join AFPFL. U Razak was elected AFPFL President in the Mandalay district in 1946. Later the Governor accepted him as the member of constitutional council. He had a very good relations with Buddhist and even fluent in Pali (Buddhist scriptures are written in this ancient language of India). He became the Minister of Education and Planning in Bogoke’s (General Aung San) Government and was assassinated together later.  But he had supported the main policy of the AFPFL: that is against the partition along the community or religious lines. U Razak and his few associates objected to the struggle of those demanding specific constitutional guarantees for the Myanmar Muslim minority. So, although U Razak was a very popular, important and prominent Myanmar Muslim leader who had successfully organized the Myanmar Muslims to be able to get an official record that they had participated since the very beginning of the Burmese National struggle towards independence.
His stand of united Burmese (Myanmar) nation sacrificing the long-term interest of guarantee for the rights of Minority Myanmar Muslim satisfied not only the Burmese Buddhist leaders of the AFPFL, but strangely also the British Government. May be because of that he got a lot of personal rewards. U Raschid and more prominently U Khin Maung Lat, follows the general policy of sacrificing the Rights and Interests of the Myanmar Muslim Community for ‘the country and their party’. So no wander most of the Myanmar Muslims later refused to regard or recognize these ‘self interested’ seasoned politicians as their true representatives or saviors. Prime Minister U Nu, just few months after independence of Burma, requested the Burma Muslim Congress to resign its membership from AFPFL. In response to that U Khin Maung Lat, the new President of BMC decided to discontinue the Islamic Religious activities of the BMC and rejoined the AFPFL. Later he became the Minister of Justice but no more represented the wishes of Myanmar Muslim community. The newly formed The Burmese Muslim League requested a special government department for the Muslim affairs to determine their own future, as the same as for other minorities, who had Ministries in Yangon and governments in their states. U Nu removed the Burma Muslim Congress from AFPFL on 30.9.1956. BMC was asked to dissolve since 1955. Later U Nu decreed the Buddhism as the state religion of Burma against the will of the Ethnic Minorities and various religious organizations including Myanmar Muslims. U Nu as the devoted Buddhist was pressured the wealthy and influential Hindi merchants ordered the prohibition of slaughtering the cattle. Although he relaxed that during the Kurbani Edd (Hariraya Haji), Muslims had to apply the permits for each cattle and strictly follow under police supervision. Although General Ne Win revoked the first order and allow the slaughter of cattle for daily consumption, the second order of strict restriction for the sacrifice remained up to the present and the Muslims. Even Mosques’ official who failed to adhere to the permitted number of cattle are arrested and punished. And some Muslims complained that U Nu’s government had made more difficult conditions and regulations for the Haj pilgrimage than the Buddhists pilgrims going to Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Muslims under General Ne Win
When General Ne Win swept to power on a wave of nationalism in 1962, the status of Muslims changed for the worse. Muslims were expelled from the army and were rapidly marginalized. Myanmar has a Buddhist majority. Muslims are stereotyped in the society as “cattle killers” (referring to the cattle sacrifice festival of Eid Al Adha in Islam). The generic racist slur of “kala” (black) used against perceived “foreigners” has especially negative connotations when referring to Burmese Muslims. The more pious Muslims communities who segregate themselves from the Buddhist majority face greater difficulties than those who integrate more at the cost of observance to Islamic personal laws.
Muslims in Myanmar are affected by the actions of Islamic extremism in other countries. Violence in Indonesia perpetrated by Islamists is used as a pretext to commit violence against Muslim minorities in Burma. The anti-Buddhist actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan (the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan) was also used as a pretext to commit violence against Muslims in Myanmar by Buddhist mobs. Human Rights Watch reports that there was mounting tension between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Taungoo for weeks before it erupted into violence in the middle of May 2001.Buddhist monks demanded that the Hantha Mosque in Taungoo be destroyed in “retaliation” for the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Mobs of Buddhists, led by monks, vandalized Muslim-owned businesses and property and attacked and killed Muslims in Muslim communities. This was followed by retaliation by Muslims against Buddhists.
The dictatorial government, which operates a pervasive internal security apparatus, generally infiltrates or monitors the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. Religious freedom for Muslims is reduced. Monitoring and control of Islam undermines the free exchange of thoughts and ideas associated with religious activities. Accusations of “terrorism” are made against Muslim organizations such as the All Burma Muslim Union.
It is widely feared that persecution of Muslims in Myanmar could foment Islamic extremism in the country. Many Muslims have joined armed resistance groups who are fighting for greater freedoms in Myanmar.
The racial tension in March 1997 between Buddhists and Muslims and the attack on Muslim properties began during the renovation of a Buddha statue. 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. The Mahamyat Muni statue was broken open, leaving a gaping hole in the statue, and it was generally presumed that the regime was searching for the Padamya Myetshin, a legendary ruby that ensures victory in war to those who possess it.
Anti-Muslim Riots in Mandalay (1997)
On 16 March 1997 beginning at about 3:30 p.m. a mob of about 1,000/1,500 Buddhist monks and others shouted anti-Muslim slogans without any provocation of any kind on the part of the Muslims. They targeted the mosques first for attack, followed by Muslim shop-houses and transportation vehicles in the vicinity of mosques, damaging, destroying, looting, and trampling, burning the religious books, committing acts of sacrilege. The area where the acts of damage, destruction, and lootings committed in Kaingdan, Mandalay.The unrest in Mandalay allegedly began after reports of an attempted rape of a girl by Muslim men. At least three people have been killed and around 100 monks arrested. 
Anti-Muslim Riots in Taungoo(2001)
In 2001,Myo Pyauk Hmar Soe Kyauk Hla Tai (or) The Fear of Losing One’s Race and many other anti-Muslim pamphlets were widely distributed by monks. Many Muslims feel that this exacerbated the anti-Muslim feelings that had 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 200 Muslims, in the destruction of 11 mosques and setting ablaze of over 400 houses. On May, 15, the first day of the anti-Muslim uprisings, about 20 Muslims who were praying in the Han Tha mosque were killed and some were beaten to death by the pro-junta forces. On May, 17, 2001, Lt. General Win Myint, Secretary No.3 of the SPDC and deputy Home and Religious minister arrived and curfew was imposed there in Taungoo until today, July, 12, 2001. All communication lines remain disconnected.Buddhist monks demanded that the ancient Hantha Mosque in Taungoo be destroyed in retaliation for the destruction in Bamiyan. On May, 18, however, Han Tha mosque and Taungoo Railway station mosque were razed to ground by bulldozers owned by the SPDC junta..The mosques in Taungoo remained closed as of May 2002. Muslims have been forced to worship in their homes. Local Muslim leaders complain that they are still harassed. After the violence, many local Muslims moved away from Taungoo to other nearby towns and as far away as Yangon. After two days of violence the military stepped in and the violence immediately ended.
Human rights violations against Rohingya minority
According to Amnesty International, the Muslim Rohingya people have continued to suffer human rights violations under the Myanmar junta since 1978, and many have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh as a result:
“The Rohingyas’ freedom of movement is severely restricted and the vast majority of them have effectively been denied Myanmar citizenship. They are also subjected to various forms of extortion and arbitrary taxation; land confiscation; forced eviction and house destruction; and financial restrictions on marriage. Rohingyas continue to be used as forced labourers on roads and at military camps, although the amount of forced labour in northern Rakhine State has decreased over the last decade.”
“In 1978 over 200,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh, following the ‘Nagamin’ (‘Dragon King’) operation of the Myanmar army. Officially this campaign aimed at “scrutinising each individual living in the state, designating citizens and foreigners in accordance with the law and taking actions against foreigners who have filtered into the country illegally”. This military campaign directly targeted civilians, and resulted in widespread killings, rape and destruction of mosques and further religious persecution.”
“During 1991-92 a new wave of over a quarter of a million Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh. They reported widespread forced labour, as well as summary executions, torture, and rape. Rohingyas were forced to work without pay by the Myanmar army on infrastructure and economic projects, often under harsh conditions. Many other human rights violations occurred in the context of forced labour of Rohingya civilians by the security forces.”
- ^ Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma, Rangoon University Press, Rangoon, Burma, January 1960.
- ^ “A study of a minority Group”, by Moshe Yegar, page 2, paraaph 3
- ^ idib
- ^ Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma page 83 paragraph 3, line 2&3
- ^ “The Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar page 2, line 1&2
- ^ Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, The Glass Palace Chronicle, page 103, paragraph 3
- ^ “The Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wisbaden.page 21, paragaph 2,pp22,23&24.
- ^ Colonel Ba Shin, “Coming of Islam to Burma down to 1700 AD, Lecture at the Asia Histoy Congress. New Deli:Azad Bhavan 1961 Mimo.
- ^ H.R. Speaman, Britih Burma Gazetteer (Rangoon,1880)I,293-294.
- ^ Hall, Histoy of South East Asia, pp 33-341.
- ^ Desai, A Pageant of Burmese History, pp61-63.
- ^ Harvey, G.E. “The fate of Shah Shuja, 1661, JBRS,XII (Aug 1922) pp107-112.
- ^ “The Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 10, line 11&12
- ^ idib page 10 line 10 to 16
- ^ “The Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 10, line 21
- ^ “The Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 12, paragaph 3
- ^ ibid
- ^ Siddiq Khan, M “Captain George Sorrel’s Mission to the cout of Amarapura, 17934., Journal of h Asiatic Socity of Pakitan (Dacca). II (1957), 132-140
- ^ Maurice Collis, Trials in Burma
- ^ Moshe Yegar, Muslims of Burma, page 32
- ^ Moshe Yegar, Muslims of Burma, page 29 paragraph 1 and foot note 1. Page 31 line 1, 2, 11
- ^ Maurice Collis, Trials in Burma
- ^ Maurice Collis, Trials in Burma
- ^ Moshe Yegar, Muslims of Burma, page 111, paragraph 4, line 8 to 15. Page 27, paragraph 4, line 5,6,7. Page 31 paragraph 2. Page 32 paragraph 4
- ^ Maurice Collis, Trials in Burma
- ^ Democratic Voice of Burma, Media conference (July 19-20, Oslo) Burmese Media: Past, present and future by U Thaung (Mirror/Kyae Mon news paper Retired Chief Editor)
- ^ Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 32 paragraph 4.Page 36, paragraph 1, line 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15
- ^ Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 36, paragraph 3.
- ^ Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 36, paragraph 4. Page 37, line 1,2
- ^ Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 37, paragraph 2.
- ^ Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 38, line 1
- ^ Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 38, paragraph 2
- ^ Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 38, paragraph 2, line 12,13,14
- ^ “The Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, Moshe Yegar, page 75 to 79
- ^ “The Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 75 footnote last paragraph
- ^ Houtman, Gustaaf. Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics: Chapter 5 Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa Monograph Series No. 33. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 1999, 400 pp. ISBN 4-87297-748-3
- ^ IMAGES ASIA: REPORT ON THE SITUATION FOR MUSLIMS IN BURMA May 1997 http://www.ibiblio.org/freeburma/ethnic/rohingya1.txt
- ^ http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/mar/chronology.asp?groupId=77501
- ^ Crackdown on Burmse Muslims, Juuly 2002 http://hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/burmese_muslims.pdf
- ^ Burma Net News:July 16,2001 http://www.burmalibrary.org/reg.burma/archives/200107/msg00034.html
- ^ Crackdon on Burmese Muslims, Human Right Watch Briefing Paper http://hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/burma-bck4.htm
- ^ Crackdon on Burmese Muslims, Human Right Watch Briefing Paper http://hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/burma-bck4.htm
- ^ Crackdown on Burmese Muslims, Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper http://hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/burma-bck4.htm
- ^ Myanmar – The Rohingya Minority: Fundamental Rights Denied, Amnesty International, 2004.
Myanmar Muslim Information Centre(MMIC)- 
Myanmar Muslim news- 
Burmese Muslims Network- 
Islamic Unity Brotherhood 
Arakan Rohingya National Organization- 
Rohingya Language- 
Free Rohingya Campaign- 
Myanmar Muslim political Awareness Oranization- 
Panthay on line community- 
Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
US Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report 2005 on Burma
US Department of State, Burma, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2005.Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Amnesty International’s report on Burma
UK Conservatives’ Human Rights
Refusal of Identity Cards for Burmese Muslims (in Burmese. We also love Burma.)
Human Rights issues in Burma 
PRAYERS FOR BURMA 
The Persecution of Muslims in Burma, by Karen Human Rights Group
That wasn’t protesting. That was set up by the military Juntas between Buddhist and Muslims in Burma. I was there in Mandalay when that happened. The buddhist monks sheltered the Muslims in their monestries while other monks are destroying the mosques. Who were the people doing that? At last 3 monks were caught by the civilians who were trying to protect their homes and the monks going the city were not the real monks. Just shaved their heads with the boots underneath the robes. Why the people did not join them if that is a clash between Muslims and Buddhists? We were still hanging out and helping each other.
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