A Politician, Not an Icon: Aung San Suu Kyi's Silence on Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya

In Myanmar (also known as Burma), the Rohingya are a persecuted Muslim minority living mainly in northern Rakhine State. Aung San Suu Kyi, the iconic leader of Myanmar's opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD), is championed as the voice of the people. However, on the matter of...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Islam and Christian-Muslim relations
Main Author: Lee, Ronan
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Taylor & Francis [2014]
In: Islam and Christian-Muslim relations
Year: 2014, Volume: 25, Issue: 3, Pages: 321-333
RelBib Classification:AX Inter-religious relations
BJ Islam
BL Buddhism
KBM Asia
TK Recent history
Further subjects:B Myanmar
B Aung San Suu Kyi
B Rohingya
B Burma
B Buddhist-Muslim violence
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
Description
Summary:In Myanmar (also known as Burma), the Rohingya are a persecuted Muslim minority living mainly in northern Rakhine State. Aung San Suu Kyi, the iconic leader of Myanmar's opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD), is championed as the voice of the people. However, on the matter of the Rohingya's persecution she has been notably silent. This article examines the possible reasons for Suu Kyi's silence and argues that Buddhist-Muslim political relations in Myanmar are central to understanding the reasons behind Suu Kyi's position on the Rohingya. It is suggested that various factors, including the history of the Rohingya in Myanmar, the NLD's attitude towards the Rohingya, Suu Kyi's sense of obligation to her father's political legacy, and Suu Kyi's views on ethnicity, are creating a political environment in which Suu Kyi is presented with pragmatic political reasons for staying silent. Given Suu Kyi has the potential to become a future national leader, an understanding of her behaviours towards a sizeable persecuted Muslim minority is important. This is particularly the case when consideration is given to the contemporary pressures on Muslims to embrace radical politics and the implications this could have for Myanmar and the region.
ISSN:1469-9311
Contains:Enthalten in: Islam and Christian-Muslim relations
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1080/09596410.2014.913850