First Advisor

Patricia Schechter

Term of Graduation

Winter 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Conflict Resolution


Conflict Resolution




Rohingya (Burmese people) -- Burma -- Rakhine State, Rohingya (Burmese people) -- Violence against, Muslims -- Burma -- Social conditions, Burma -- Politics and government, Buddhism and state -- Burma, Islam and state -- Burma, Buddhism -- Burma, Ethnic conflict -- South Asia, Human rights -- Burma -- Religious aspects, Religious discrimination



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 118 pages)


In spite of the technological advancement and progress of liberalism, religion has remained an essential aspect of individual and national life in many countries. In many societies, religion has manifested elements of extremism, which ultimately perpetuates violence and destruction. This radical religious phenomenon is much predominant in the Southeast and South Asian region, including the country known as Myanmar. Myanmar has become a classic example of the religious fusion of politics and social life. The hybrid form of emerging democratic tenets, albeit under military sponsorship in Myanmar, provides a breeding ground for religious nationalism, with dire consequences for religious minorities. Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar has adopted a virulent anti-Muslim narrative in particular and intolerance and hate towards the Muslim minority Rohingyas living in Rakhine state in particular. From August 2017, communal violence to date approximately 600,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar and became refugees in neighboring Bangladesh. The catastrophic humanitarian disaster that emanates through the Rohingya crisis poses a threat to regional security and therefore requires the immediate attention of the global community to stop further loss of lives and destruction. The impacts of the Rohingya conflict are not confined within the boundaries of Myanmar, but the conflict also impacts its neighboring Southeast Asian countries. This thesis emphasizes on the dangers of religious xenophobia as well as the use and explanation of faith for political and nationalistic causes. The paper also evaluates the role of Myanmar military in the socio-political and economic context to determine their involvement in setting the platform for the rise of Buddhist nationalism. The thesis argues that the culture of minority oppression and systemic discrimination against religious minority groups such as the Rohingya not only jeopardizes the county's democratic credentials and vision but also carries grave implications for Southeast Asia, one of the most volatile regions in the world.


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