The Rohingya and Islamic Extremism: A Convenient Myth

Policy Brief June, 2015, No. 181

The plight of Myanmar’s minority Muslim population, the Rohingya, has received widespread international attention, most notably in light of the ongoing refugee boat crisis. Within Myanmar itself, however, many actors continue to invoke the threat posed to the country by Islamic extremism. Not only does such a connection with the Rohingya lack credibility, argue Christopher O’Hara and Elliot Brennan, but such a narrative legitimates harsher repression and leads to the generation of grievances which, in the long term, may provoke radicalization.

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