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Watch All About ROHINGYA | Mayanmar | Burma
Historians say Rohingya Muslims have lived in Myanmar, also known as Burma, since the 12th century.
They are descendants of Muslim migrants from India and China as well as earlier Arab settlers. Their religion is a Sufi-infused Sunni Islam.
Because the Myanmar government restricts their educational opportunities, many pursue fundamental Islamic studies in mosques and religious schools present in most villages. They speak a dialect of Bengali, which is spoken in Bangladesh and parts of India. Their dialect is distinct to other languages spoken in Rakhine.
About 1.1 million Rohingya were living in impoverished state before the latest outbreak of violence but they are not considered one of 135 official ethnic groups.
Their rights to marry, study, travel and have access to health services are restricted.
The worlds newest Muslim insurgency revealed itself in western Myanmar last year when militants attacked Myanmar police posts. New attacks took place on August 25, the day a state-appointed commission of inquiry headed by former UN chief Kofi Annan released its report into previous bloodshed. Several police were killed.
Since the 1970s Rohingya have been have been targeted in a cycle of violence by Buddhists and Myanmar security forces, prompting the UN to describe them as among the worlds most persecuted people.
According to the International Crisis Group, a committee of Rohingya emigres with experience in guerrilla warfare oversees the militants from Mecca. Its leader Attaullah Abu Ammar Jununi was born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia. Muslim militants started to secretly train in guerrilla warfare after ethnic riots in 2012 killed hundreds of Rohingya.
ARSA militants are now pitted against Myanmar security forces in Rakhine. Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship in 1982 as part of decades-long persecution that has denied them basic rights, including freedom of movement.
In 2012, they were the target of violent Buddhist mobs that forced more than 140,000 from their homes into squalid camps.
In March 2014, the Myanmar government banned the word Rohingya and asked for registration of the minority as Bengalis in the countrys first census in three decades. It meant that 1.3 million Rohingya in Arakan, also called Rakhine state, were not included in the census.
On April 2015, the government formally rescinded the temporary ID or white cards, the last form of official government identification for Rohingya, stripping them of voting rights linked to the cards.
The Rohingya had hoped the election of Nobel Peace laureate and democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi in November 2015 would see a turnaround in hostility towards them from the new government in Naypyidaw and Buddhist groups. But violence against them has dramatically worsened since then.
A UN report in February 2017 accused Myanmar security forces of atrocities against the Rohingya that could amount to crimes against humanity.
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