Summary of Religion and Violence in Myanmar

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Many think of Buddhism as a religion of peace, but as events in Myanmar make clear, Buddhists, including monks, may willingly embrace violence if they believe that their religion is under threat. Indeed, Myanmar’s most revered Buddhist monk, Sitagu Sayadaw, preached a sermon offering explicit religious justification for the mass killing of the Muslim minority Rohingya. Political scientist Matthew J. Walton explains how nationalism and Buddhism intersect in Myanmar, complicating efforts by human rights groups and politicians to broker peace.  

In this article, you will learn

  • Why the Rohingya are treated as outcasts in Myanmar and
  • How a widely revered Buddhist monk in Myanmar justifies violence against the Rohingya.

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