The United Nations' Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has appealed to #Myanmar to halt the violence in Rakhine that has caused the displacement of over a hundred thousand of minority Muslim #Rohingya, who have been fleeing to Bangladesh. While there have been some wildly exaggerated death toll statistics in the thousands, Human Rights Watch and other international organizations seem to agree that the number has still been a disturbing 400, according to The Guardian. The recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and the current de facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has been blasted by numerous leaders of Islamic nations, such as Turkey's President Erdogan and Chechnya's Ramzan Kadyrov, as well as another Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, over what some describe as a "genocide".

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This has led to a petition that has garnered 300,000 signatures to date asking the Nobel committee to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her Nobel prize, awarded to her during the years of Myanmar's military dictatorship.

Viewed in many international circles as the "female Nelson Mandela," Aung San Suu Kyi has struck back against the critics by claiming that terrorists were spreading "a huge iceberg of misinformation" concerning the Rohingya crisis. The larger picture story is messy, and much of the mainstream media appears to have arrived at a particular narrative that leaves out some crucial connections between the dots.

The Rohingya in Myanmar

A Muslim minority in Myanmar historically tracing back to immigration from nearby Bangladesh first in the late 1940s and then in the 1970s, the Rohingya number almost 1.1 million and are a stateless people, as neither Myanmar nor Bangladesh have agreed to grant them citizenship status.

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In Myanmar, Rohingya comprise almost 4 percent of the total population. They reside primarily in the Rakhine state, which is one of the poorest areas of Myanmar, although it is rich in natural resources that the previous government did not choose to develop, as the drug trade from the Golden Triangle was more immediately lucrative at the time. After the reforms were enacted to initiate democracy in Myanmar, which included Aung Sun Suu Kyi's liberation from house arrest, the Rohingya were offered citizenship if they agreed to classify themselves as Bengali, which they refused. Although there has been some intermarriage between Rohingya and Rakhine, the majority of pairings are reportedly between Rakhine women and Rohingya men.

Events in Myanmar that led to "Black Friday" - Aug. 25th

Unlike other Muslim minorities in Myanmar, the Rohingya have their own private army, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Along with alleged ties to Al-Qaeda dating back to the 1980s, the activities of the Rohingya have a checkered history in Myanmar that has only been scantily covered in the mainstream media and calls into question a number of the assumptions about their status as a persecuted people by the Buddhist majority.

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According to a BBC report from 2014, clashes between Burmese in Rakhine and Rohingya have been escalating due to a series of brutal rapes of Burmese women by Rohingya, refusals by the Rohingya to submit perpetrators to local law enforcement, and the killing of a Rakhine policeman. Despite the allegations from the UN and other outside groups of Muslim persecution, Burmese courts have apparently been relatively even handed, with 20 Buddhists and 10 Muslims sentenced for a fight that started in a gold shop that left over 40 people dead.

In October 2016, Rohingya militants, who were presumed to be ARSA members, attacked several security checkpoints and murdered over 40 Myanmar soldiers, resulting in counter terrorism measures by the government. Amnesty International has alleged that the military overreacted, resulting in arbitrary killings and forced expulsions that led to the first wave of Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

On August 25, 2017, which Myanmar's Union Minister for Home Affairs Lt. General Kyaw Swe refers to as "Black Friday," ARSA launched attacks on an army base and 30 separate police posts in Rathedaung, Buthidaung, and Maungdaw townships, killing 10 police officers, a soldier and an immigration officer. The military's response, which has branded ARSA's killings as an Islamist terrorist attack, has led to the mass exodus of Rohingya now being reported by the UN.

Buddhist violence against Muslims?

Except in times of political oppression or grave injustice, Buddhists are usually apolitical. The resistance from Tibetan Buddhists against Chinese government hegemony has been largely nonviolent. Perhaps the only historical instance of Buddhist temple monks acting violently on any organized scale was when China's Shaolin Temple trained patriots against the Manchurian Ch'ing Dynasty in the 17th and 18th Centuries, and most recently, in Myanmar. This raises questions as to the motivations behind the conflicts. Some observers note that economic and political fighting over scarce resources now that Myanmar is no longer a military dictatorship and trying to develop a democratic market economy may also be a contributing factor to friction between the Rohingya and Burmese population at large. However, there could be another factor:

ARSA is displaying behavior, not unlike that of ISIS, the PLO, and Al-Qaeda, and Sharia fundamentalism seems to be a common thread they all share. This is also being documented by observers of other Muslim immigrant groups that refuse to assimilate into their host countries throughout Europe. As a spokeswoman for Islamic reform, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been a victim of Sharia law's treatment of women and as an apostate, a fugitive from a fatwa that has sanctioned her assassination by Islamic fundamentalist imams. Refusal to submit to local laws, coerced conversion, rape of non-Muslims, honor killings, and violent jihad are all common practice among Sharia fundamentalists, which the Burmese majority may also be reacting to. Sharia fundamentalism leads to Takfir, which is the accusation of apostasy, and thus the justification for the numerous atrocities that ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups inflict upon other Muslims who refuse to join them and a contributing factor to Islam's numerous smaller denominations, like the Sufi, and the schism between Shi'ite and Sunni.

The humanitarian crisis, national security and politics

Aung Sun Suu Kyi is facing a situation, not unlike that of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who has been dealing with his own Islamic terrorism issue in Mindanao. As she attempts to steer Myanmar away from its decade's long military dictatorship styled government, she also must protect her country from destabilizing insurrections and invaders who would undermine her nation and harm its citizens. Kyaw Swe has already declared, accurately or not, that ARAS is attempting to establish an Islamic state within Myanmar. Given the ARAS raids on military and police stations, he has the support of many Burmese residents who already are concerned with being a Buddhist nation surrounded by Islamic ones.

On the other hand, the Humanitarian Crisis being caused by the Rohingya exodus cannot be ignored. Bangladesh is already closing its borders off from further refugees, and the death toll will likely exceed 1000 very quickly, as it is estimated about 15,000 per day are fleeing Myanmar.

Aung Sun Suu Kyi, no novice at international politics, has already enlisted support from China and Russia to get their votes at the UN Security Council to help prevent UN sanctions while she works at resolving this situation. #islamic terrorism