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Myanmar Reckons With a Muslim Insurgency

Dec 21, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
In Myanmar's economically important Rakhine state, a new insurgent group has formed among the Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority. The group staged several attacks against Myanmar's security forces in October and November, provoking intense military backlash.
(STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

In a country known for ethnic conflict, Myanmar's ethnic Rohingya stand out. The Muslim minority group, concentrated near the Bangladeshi border in Rakhine state, has a long history of marginalization. Its members lack full citizenship in Myanmar, and the leaders of many other minority populations in the country deny that the Rohingya are a distinct ethnic group at all, claiming that they are recent Bengali immigrants. Even the name "Rohingya" is controversial; Myanmar's state counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has asked the international community to avoid using the term so as not to inflame ethnic tensions in her country. The Rohingya have long troubled Myanmar's public image. A substantial number of Rohingya have fled the country and live across the border in Bangladesh or in diaspora communities around the world. Thousands more are still internally displaced. The group has become something of a cause celebre for leaders in the West and...

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