Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide
Ibrahim’s searing book documents the slow-motion genocide of the Muslim Rohingyas and exposes the culpability of the Buddhist clergy in fomenting the religious cleansing of Myanmar.
The Rohingyas are a Muslim group who live in Rakhine state (formerly Arakan state) in western Myanmar (Burma), a majority Buddhist country. According to the United Nations, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. They suffer routine discrimination at the hands of neighbouring Buddhist Rakhine groups, but international human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have also accused Myanmar’s authorities of being complicit in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims. The Rohingyas face regular violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, extortion, and other abuses, a situation that has been particularly acute since 2012 in the wake of a serious wave of sectarian violence. Islam is practised by around 4 per cent of the population of Myanmar, and most Muslims also identify as Rohingya. Yet the authorities refuse to recognise them as one of the 135 ethnic groups or ‘national races’ making up Myanmar’s population. On this basis, Rohingya individuals are denied citizenship rights in the country of their birth, and face severe limitations on many aspects of an ordinary life, such as marriage or movement around the country.
This exposé of the plight of the Rohingyas is sure to gain widespread attention.
Azeem Ibrahim has a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He has been a Research Fellow with the International Security Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a World Fellow at Yale, Fellow and member of the board of directors at the Institute for Social Policy Understanding, and an Adjunct Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. He founded and chairs a private grant-giving foundation (www.ibrahimfoundation. com) focusing on innovative community projects, and served as a reservist in the UK’s 4th Battalion Parachute Regiment.
‘The persecution of Rohingyas rests on a belief that they are outsiders … Ibrahim debunks these claims in his essential new book, claiming that Rohingyas were in Arakan well before 1784, and may even have arrived there before the Buddhist Rakhine. Ibrahim offers a credible genealogy that links Rohingyas to Indo-Aryan groups who arrived from the Ganges Valley as early as 3000 BC.’ — London Review of Books
‘Ibrahim dwells on the history of the Rohingya in order to give an account of how and why they have come to arouse such fear and loathing. … [his] analysis is excellent.’ — Literary Review
‘Ibrahim’s brilliantly researched book exposes the dark underbelly of this emerging state. Discrimination against minorities is rampant, but most acutely against the Muslim Rohingyas who are persecuted at the hands of the vast Buddhist majority. This important book exposes very great suffering that even Myanmar’s now elected leaders have little or no interest in combatting’ — Jon Snow, Channel 4 News
‘In Ibrahim’s The Rohingyas, the author wonderfully details how a historical canard is used as a pretext to completely erase them from Myanmar. The book also explores the fact that among 135 ethnic minorities, Rohingyas are the worst treated, stripped of all rights as citizens, depleted of wealth and property, pushed to the edge, and systematically exterminated.’ — Dhaka Tribune
‘In the last decade of the twentieth century the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia could have been prevented by earlier active engagement by the international community. Azeem Ibrahim has issued a clarion call to protect a vulnerable and little-known Muslim minority in his compelling and thoroughly researched book. He makes a powerful appeal to use the lessons of the twentieth century to prevent a foreseeable genocide in the twenty-first.’ — John Shattuck, President of the Central European University, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and author of Freedom on Fire: Human Rights Wars and America’s Response
‘In exploring and exposing the treatment of the Rohingya people of Burma Azeem Ibrahim has done great service to the truth about the terrible oppression which they are enduring, and has issued a call to all free people to secure international action to uphold their basic human rights.’ — Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma
‘Time and time again, experience has shown that what minorities who live under the threat of annihilation need most is a voice that cannot be ignored. The Rohingyas promises to provide desperately needed awareness at a critical turning point in the history of Burma – awareness provided by a renowned and accomplished scholar and policy advisor, Dr. Azeem Ibrahim.’ — Steven Kiersons, Team Lead, Burma, The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention
‘Dr Ibrahim makes a strong case for naming the situation facing the Rohingya a genocide and convincingly shows the urgent need for immediate action to alleviate ongoing suffering as well as to arrest any escalation. He does an excellent job of dismantling the arguments made by some commentators that the Rohingya, as a group, did not exist in Myanmar in the past.’ — Dr Jonathan Saha, Academic Fellow in the History of Race and Empire University of Leeds
‘Exhaustively researched book does a valuable job of recording the group’s suffering in painful detail, and he is right to urge the world to pay even closer attention to what is happening in Arakan.’ — Christian Caryl, The National Interest
‘Ibrahim offers one of the fullest descriptions available of the current Rohingya crisis, retelling the narrative of the emerging genocide with force (if not always the clearest prose).’ — Joshua Kurlantzick, Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations in The Washington Monthly