- Islam in Burma
Part of a series onIslam by country
Islam is a minority religion in Burma, practiced by 4% of the population, according to the Myanmar official statistics. However, according to a U.S. State Department's 2006 international religious freedom report, official statistics underestimate the non-Buddhist population which could be as high as 30%.
The first Muslims arrived in Arakan coast and upward hinterland to Maungdaw when Muhammad al-Hanafiyya, a son of Caliph Ali arrived in Arakan in 680 CE by the Bay of Bengal sea route as he and the companions left Kufa in a chaotic political environment. The tomb of Muhammad al-Hanafiyya (Muhammad Hanifa) and his wife Khaya Pari still exists in a hilltop of Maungdaw. Then Muslims arrived in Burma's Ayeyarwady River delta, on the Tanintharyi coast and in Rakhine in the 9th century, prior to the establishment of the first Burmese empire in 1055 AD by King Anawrahta of Bagan. These early Muslim settlements and the propagation of Islam were documented by Arab, Persian, European and Chinese travelers of the 9th century. Burmese Muslims are the descendants of Muslim peoples who settled and intermarried with the local Burmese ethnic groups. Muslims arrived in Burma as traders or settlers, military personnel, and prisoners of war, refugees, and as victims of slavery. However, many early Muslims also held positions of status as royal advisers, royal administrators, port authorities, mayors, and traditional medicine men.
Persian Muslims arrived in northern Burma on the border with the Chinese region of Yunnan as recorded in the Chronicles of China in 860 AD. Burmese Muslims were sometimes called Pathi, a name believed to be derived from Persian. Many settlements in the southern region near present day Thailand were noted for the Muslim populations, in which Muslims often outnumbered the local Buddhists. In one record, Pathein was said to be populated with Pathis, and was ruled by three Indian Muslim Kings in the 13th century. Arab merchants also arrived in Martaban, Margue, and there were Arab settlements in the present Meik archipelago's mid-western quarters.
During the reign of the Bagan King, Narathihapate (1255–1286), in the first Sino-Burman war, Kublai Khan's Muslim Tatars invaded the Pagan Kingdom and occupied the area up to Nga Saung Chan. In 1283, Colonel Nasruddin's Turks occupied the area up to Bamaw (Kaungsin). Turk people (Tarek) were called Mongol, Manchuria, Mahamaden or Panthays.
The first Muslims had landed in Myanmar (Burma's) Ayeyarwady River delta, Tanintharyi coast and Rakhine as seamen in 9th century, prior to the establishment of the first Myanmar (Burmese) empire in 1055 AD by King Anawrahta of Bagan or Pagan. The dawn of the Muslim settlements and the propagation of Islam was widely documented by the Arab, Persian, European and Chinese travelers of 9th century. The current population of Myanmar Muslims are the descendants of Arabs, Persians, Turks, Moors, Indian-Muslims, sheikhs, Pakistanis, Pathans, Bengalis, Chinese Muslims and Malays who settled and intermarried with local Burmese and many ethnic Myanmar groups such as, Rakhine, Shan, Karen, Mon etc.
The population of the Muslims increased during the British rule of Burma because of new waves of Indian Muslim Immigration. This sharply declined in the years following 1941 as a result of the Indo-Burman Immigration agreement, and was officially stopped following Burma's (Myanmar) independence on 4 January 1948.
Muslims arrived in Burma as travelers, adventurers, pioneers, sailors, traders, Military Personals (voluntary and mercenary), and a number of them as prisoners of wars. Some were reported to have taken refuge from wars, Monsoon storms and weather, shipwreck  and for a number of other circumstances. Some are victims of forced slavery  but many of them are professionals and skilled personals such as advisors to the kings and at various ranks of administration whilst others are port-authorities and mayors and traditional medicine men.
Pathi and Panthays
Persian Muslims traveled over land, in search of China, and arrived northern Burma at Yunnan (China) border. Their colonies were recorded in Chronicles of China in 860 AD. Myanmar Muslims were sometimes called Pathi, and Chinese Muslims are called Panthay. It is widely believed that those names derived from Parsi (Persian). Bago Pegu), Dala, Thanlyin (Syriam), Taninthayi (Tenasserim), Mottama (Martaban), Myeik (Mergui) and Pathein (Bassein) were full of Burmese Muslim settlers and they outnumbered the local Burmese by many times. In one record, Pathein was said to be populated with Pathis. Perhaps Pathein comes from Pathi. And coincidentally, Pathein is still famous for Pathein halawa, a traditional Myanmar Muslim food inherited from northern Indian Muslims. In Kawzar 583 (13th Century), Bassein or Pathein was known as Pathi town under the three Indian Muslim Kings. Arab merchants arrived Martaban, Margue. Arab settlement in the present Meik's mid-western quarters.
During Bagan King, Narathihapate, 1255–1286, in the first Sino Burman war, Kublaikhan's Muslim Tatars attacked and occupied up to Nga Saung Chan. Mongols under Kublai Khan invaded the Pagan Kingdom. During this first Sino Burman war in 1283, Colonel Nasruddin's Turks occupied up to Bamaw. (Kaungsin) (Tarek) Turk were called, Mongol, Manchuria, Mahamaden or Panthays. The Chinese General Mah Tu Tu managed the building of a mosque donated by the Yunnanese Muslim king, Sultan Sulaiman, in nineteen century in central Mandalay. The mosque is still maintained in a very good condition. Most of the Myanmar Chinese Muslims are staying around the mosque and it is well known as Panthay Mosque. That area is called Panthay Dan (Panthay Quarters).
Bagan (Pagan) period
Byat Wi and Byat Ta
The first evidence of Muslims landing in Burma's chronicle was recorded in the era of the first Burmese Empire of Pagan (Bagan) 1044 AD. Two Arab Muslim sailors of BYAT family, Byat Wi and Byat Ta, arrived Burmese shores, near Thaton. (There are people in Iraq, Arabia and some Surthi Northern Indian Muslims with the same sir name even at present. See Byat and Bayt) After their ship wrecked, they managed to use a plank to swim to the shores. They took refuge and stayed at the monastery of the monk in Thaton. They were said to be tall, fair, swift, brave and very strong. According to a chronicle of Burma related to the Byat brothers, they were said to have strength of the full-grown elephant after eating the magical meat of a (Zaw Gyi) or Fakir, a meal originally prepared for the monk who saved them. As a consequence, Thaton king became afraid of them and killed the elder brother while he was sleeping in his wife's house. The younger brother managed to escape to Bagan and took refuge to king Anawratha. He was kept near the king. He had to fetch flowers, ten times a day, from the Mont Popa, few dozens of miles away from Bagan. He married a girl from Popa and got two sons, Shwe Byin brothers.
The semi-historical account of Burmese history, Glass Palace Chronicle, records the first Muslims in Burma in the first Burmese empire, circa 1050 AD. Two Arab Muslim brothers, Byat Wi and Byat Ta, arrived in Thaton. When the Thaton king learned of them, he became afraid of their strength and killed Byat Wi. Byat Ta managed to escape to Bagan and took refuge with King Anawratha. He married a girl from Popa with whom he had two sons, the Shwe Byin brothers.
Shwe Byin brothers
Later they also served the king as worriers, even as the special agents to infiltrate the enemy's inner circle. They were famous after they successfully infiltrated the Chinese King Utibua's bodyguards and drawn three lines with white lime on the Utibua's body and also wrote the threatening message on the wall. Because of that event, the mighty powerful Chinese army and the king himself were scared, frightened, alarmed and signed a peace agreement with the Burmese.
Though successful in the Bagan's affair with Utibua, they were finally put to death. It is generally assumed that they refused to contribute in the building of a pagoda at Taung Byone, just north of Mandalay. The brothers' enemies left vacant the spaces for the two bricks so that the king could notice. After a brief inquiry the king ordered to punish the brothers for disobedience but instead of any punishment, they were killed.
The royal raft could not move after that, may be the silent protest against the killing by the friends who were not happy with the execution. The royal sailors at that time were mostly known to be Muslims. The witty, white and black Indian Brahmans, royal consultants interpreted that, the two brothers were loyal faithful servants but unjustly punished, became Nat (spirit) and they pulled the rudder of the royal boat to show their displeasure. Then only, Anawratha ordered the building of the spirit-palace at Taung Byone and ordered the people to worship the two brothers. This was the clever Royal trick used to be played by the Burmese kings to execute the powerful rivals and posthumously elevated them to the level of Nats or powerful Spirits or local gods, just to please their followers or the people who love the executed heroes.
For five days each year Taung Byone village becomes a fairground. Taung Byone, 14 km (9 mi) north of Mandalay, has about 7,000 nat shrines, nearly 2,000 of them elaborate ones dedicated to the village's famous sons—the brothers Shwe Byin Gyi and Shwe Byin Lay. Up to the present, the followers or believers worship the shrine and those two brothers. Although all those worshipers are tralatitious Buddhists, they all abstain from eating pork, which is not a custom to Buddhism. It is a taboo to allow anyone to carry pork on the buses or cars, while going to that spirit festival still celebrating annually and attended by followers all over Burma. We can still see the vacant slot for the two pieces of brick allegedly triggered that tragic prosecution. So they became the first Muslims persecuted in Burma, possibly because of their religious belief.
King Anawratha 1044-1077 AD also had Myanmar Muslim army units and body guards. When King Anawrahta attacked Martaban, capital of Mon (Talaing) King, Mingyi Swa Saw Kae', two Muslim officers' army unit fiercely defended against his attack.
The Shwe Byin brothers served the king as warriors. Returning home, they refused to contribute to the construction of a pagoda at Taung Byone, just north of Mandalay. The king ordered the two brothers to be punished for this disobedience, resulting in their execution. After this, the royal boat would no longer move. Brahmans, royal consultants, interpreted that the two brothers had been loyal servants and were unjustly punished, thus becoming Nat who disabled the boat. To mollify them Anawrahta had the spirit-palace at Taung Byone built, and ordered the people to worship the two brothers. Taung Byone, 14 km (9 mi) north of Mandalay, has about 7,000 nat shrines, of which nearly 2,000 are dedicated to the two Shwe Byin brothers, hosts an annual festival for five days.
Nga Yaman Kan
The King Anawrahta appointed a Muslim Arab  as a Royal teacher for his son, Prince Sawlu. That teacher's son later became the Governor of Bago (Pegu) known as Ussa City. His name was Raman Khan. (Known as Nga Yaman Kan in Burmese. Nga was usually put in front of all commoners i.e. not from the Royal family). King Sawlu himself had given the town to his childhood friend, also an adopted brother because they were fed from the same breast as Raman Khan's mother was the wet nurse of Prince Sawlu.
Once Raman Khan won the game of dice, jumped with joy and clapped the elbows. The loser king Sawlu was angry and challenged Rahman Khan to rebel against him with the Bago province, if he was a real man. Raman Khan accepted the challenge, went back to Bago and marched back to Bagan with his army of soldiers on horses and elephants. Rahman and army camped at Pyi Daw Thar Island. He was clever and witty with tactics, even knew the geography and landscape near the enemy's home ground and successfully used them for his advantage. He successfully trapped the famous Kyansittha, King Sawlu and his mighty large Bagan Burmese army in swamps. The whole Bagan army fled. Sawlu was later found and arrested.
Kyanzittha tried to rescue him but Sawlu refused to be rescued. His last fatal miscalculation led him to be killed by Raman Khan. Rahman Khan himself was ambushed by the sniper bow-shot of Nga Sin the hunter and died. Later Kyanzittha became the third king of Bagan Dynasty, and he brought back many Indian-Muslim captives while expanding his empire. They were settled in central Burma.
Sailors and traders
Beginning in the seventh century, Arab travelers came from Madagascar traveling to China through the East Indian Islands, stopping in Thaton and Martaban. Bago seamen, likely to be Muslims, were also recorded by the Arab historians of the 10th century. Following this, Burmese Muslim sailors and soldiers were reported to have traveled to Malacca during the reign of Sultan Parameswara in the fifteenth century. From the fifteenth to seventeenth Centuries, there were several records of Burmese Muslim traders, sailors and settlers on the entire coast of Burma: the Arakan coast (Rakhine), Ayeyarwady delta and Tanintharyi coast and islands. In the 17th century, Muslims controlled business and became powerful. They were appointed Governors of Mergui, Viceroys of the Province of Tenasserim, Port Authorities, Port Governors and Shah-bandars (senior port officials).
In the chronicles of Malaysia, during the first Melacca Empire of Parameswara in the early fifteenth century, it was recorded the Burmese (Muslims) sailors and traders were regularly arriving there.  Those Bago (Pegu) seamen, likely to be Muslims, were also recorded by the Arab Historians of tenth century. During fifteen to seventeen centuries, there were a lot of records of Burmese Muslim traders, sailors and settlers on the whole coast of Burma. That was from Arakan coast (Rakhine), Ayeyarwady delta and Tanintharyi coast (Including all the islands along the whole coast). During Peik Thaung Min (early Bagan dynasty, 652-660 AD), Arab travelers from Madagascar to China through East Indian Islands, visited Thaton and Martaban ports. It was recorded in Arab chronicles in 800 AD.
Because Burma was located at the center of the shipping and trading route starting from Arabia and India, heading towards Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and China, the whole of the coast of Burma developed rapidly. Dela, Yangon and Thanlyin (Syriam) became shipyards, depots of goods and markets for exchange of goods. The Muslims dominated all the seaports in Burma and Thailand, at that time.
In seventeenth century, those Muslims controlled the business and became so powerful because of their wealth. They were even appointed as Governor of Mergui, the Viceroy of the Province of Tenasserim, Port Authorities, Port Governors and Shah-bandars (senior port officials). Muslim sailors built many mosques, but those should be more appropriately called Temples as they were equally holy to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Chinese. They were called Buddermokan, The so called Buddermokan on Sittway island is claimed by believers of different faiths. ... 'Buddermokan'  in memory to Badral-Din Awliya, a saint. They are found in Akyab, Sandoway and on a small island off Mergyi.
Sa Nay Min Gyi King (King Sane) had two flotillas of Steam-ships, named Alarhee and Selamat, both are Arabic Islamic names. In 1711, Myanmar Missionary was sent to Mogul King Shah Alam. They used the Alarhee Ship and the captain was an Arab.
Prisoners of war
Burma has a long history of settlements by Muslim prisoners of war. In 1613, King Anaukpetlun captured Thanlyin or Syriam. Indian Muslim mercenaries were captured, and later settled in Myedu, Sagaing, Yamethin and Kyaukse, areas north of Shwebo. King Sane (Sa Nay Min Gyi) brought several thousand Muslim prisoners of war from Sandoway and settled in Myedu in 1707 AD. Three thousand Muslims from Arakan took refuge under King Sane in 1698-1714. They were divided and settled in Taungoo, Yamethin, Nyaung Yan, Yin Taw, Meiktila, Pin Tale, Tabet Swe, Bawdi, Syi Tha, Syi Puttra, Myae du and Depayin. In the mid-18th century, King Alaungpaya attacked Assam and Manipur of India, then bringing more Muslims to settle in Burma. These Muslims later assimilated to form the core of Burmese Muslims. During the rule of King Bagyidaw (1819–37), Maha Bandula conquered Assam and brought back 40,000 prisoners of war, many of whom were Muslims.
Nat Shin Naung, Taungoo King 1605-82, rebelled against Anaukpetlun, who had founded a new dynasty at Ava in 1613. He retreated to Thanlyin or Syriam, under the rule of Portuguese mercenary Philip de Brito, Anaukpetlun captured the city in 1613 following a long siege where he crucified Nat Shin Naung and de Brito. He enslaved the Indian mercenaries including the Muslims and five battle ships. The Muslim prisoners of wars were settled at the north of Shwebo.
King Thalun (1629–1648)., the successor of Anaukpetlun settled those Muslims at Shwebo, Sagaing and Kyaukse. Muslim prisoners of war were settled in upper Myanmar by successive Burmese kings. Myae Du near Shwebo was one of the sites. Muslim prisoners from Bago during 1539-1599 AD were the first settlers.Tabinshwehti brought back the Muslim prisoners, after attacking Arakan in 1546 and 1549 AD.King Anaukpetlun conquered Syriam in 1613 AD and brought back Muslim soldiers and sailors as prisoners of war. They were settled in Myedu, Sagaing, Yamethin and Kyaukse. King Sane brought back several thousand Muslim prisoners of war from Sandoway and settled in Myedu in 1707 AD. Next year few thousands more were settled in those places and Taungoo.
King Alaungpaya attacked Assam and Manipur of India and brought back more Muslims to settle in Burma.These Muslims later assimilated to form core of Burmese Muslims. Earlier they were called Myedu Kala or Kala Pyo.(Kala = foreigner; Pyo = young.) During King Bagyidaw 1819-37 rule, Maha Bandula conquered Assam and brought back 40,000 prisoners of war. About half of them were likely to be Muslims. Maha Bandula and Burmese Army's war at Ramu and Pan War were famous. Burmese captured one big cannon, 200 firearms, mixed Sepoy Indian 200. Muslims amongst them were relocated at the south of Amarapura that is Myittha river's south.
When the famous Raza Dirit attacked and conquered Dagon (Yangon), Muslim soldiers defended from the Burmese side.
Muslim artillerymen and riflemen served regularly in Burmese army and sometimes even as royal bodyguards because the Burmese kings never trust their own race. This is understandable because there was the custom that time that he who kills the king becomes a king. And in Burmese history sometimes the son killed his own father and brothers killed each other to become a king. Even the first Burmese King, Anawrahta had killed his half-brother, King Sokkate. Sokkate had also forced and dethroned his own father King Kunhsaw. The army of King Anawratha (eleven century) already boasted Indian units and bodyguards, Muslims apparently among them. When Tabinshwehti attacked Martaban in 1541 AD, many Muslims resisted strongly. When Bayintnaung successfully conquered Ayuthaya (Thailand) in 1568-1569 AD he use the help of Muslim artillerymen. King Alaungpaya 1752-1760 AD conquered Syrim. Muslim prisoners of war were forced to serve in his army. Pagan Min 1846-1853 AD appointed U Shwe Oh , a Burmese Muslim, as the Governor of the Capital city, Amarapura. His personal secretary U Paing (also a Burmese Muslim) donated a two- mile long bridge, made of teakwood across the Taung Tha Man Lake. It is still useful and now became a scenic area attracting picnickers and tourists. In 1850, the Governor of Bagan was also said to be a Muslim. Burmese kings employed a lot of Muslims in his inner circle: Royal bodyguards, eunuchs, couriers, interpreters and advisers.
At the beginning of the Konbaung dynasty, King Alaungpaya attacked Mon peoples near Pyay. The Mon warrior Talapan was assisted in the defense by Muslim soldiers. In 1755 Alaungpaya conquered Dagon and renamed it Yangon, meaning 'The End of Strife'. The Mon soldiers surrendered, along with four Muslim rich men who surrendered with expensive presents, munitions and four warships. Following this, Alaungpaya attacked Thanlyin and captured many Muslim artillery men, who were later allowed to serve in his army.Alaungpaya captured four warships and Muslim soldiers. \ After Alaungpaya captured Bago, a parade was held in which Pathi Muslim soldiers were allowed to march in their traditional uniforms.
King Bodawpaya Bodaw U Wine (Padon Mayor, Padon Min) (1781–1819) of the Konbaung Dynasty founded Amarapura as his new capital in 1783. He was the first Burmese King who recognized his Muslim subjects officially by Royal decree, appointing specific ministers to give judgment regarding conflicts amongst his Burmese Muslim subjects.
After deposing his brother following the Second Anglo-Burmese War, King Mindon Min showed favor to the Burmese Muslims. Several Muslims were giving rank in the military and civil administrations. In 1853 King Mindon held a donation ceremony in which he ordered the preparation of halal food for his 700 Muslim horse cavalry soldiers. Upon the founding of Mandalay, several quarters were granted to Muslims for settlement. Also at this time, Mindon Min allocated space for several mosques, including the Kone Yoe mosque. He also donated teak pillars from his palace for the construction of a mosque in the North Obo district of Mandalay, and began constructing of a mosque in his own palace to accommodate the Muslim members of his bodyguards. Finally, he assisted in building a rest house in Mecca for Burmese subjects performing Hajj.
Following the defeat of King Thibaw Min by the British in 1885, Burmese Muslims formed many groups organizations for Burmese social welfare and religious affairs. The total population of Muslims increased sharply during the British Rule in Burma, as a result of the Indian diaspora.
Muslims in Amarapura were about 20,000 families, at the time of Innwa (Ava) kingdom (1855 AD). Most of them were Sunni Muslims. The first mosque in Yangon was built in 1826 AD, at the end of first Anglo-Burmese Wars. It was destroyed in 1852 AD when the British attacked Yangon again.
During the Konbaung dynasty Alaungpaya's attack of Mons near Pyay, Mon warrior Talapan was assisted by Muslim soldiers. Because of their artillery fire, a lot of Burmese soldiers were wounded and died.
In 1755 Alaungpaya conquered Dagon and renamed it Yangon (meaning 'The End of Strife'). Mon soldiers surrendered and four Muslim rich men also surrendered with the expensive presents, ammunitions and four warships. Although conquered Yangon there are more battles to fight with Mons. So Alaungpaya rearranged the army. Pyre Mamet was one of the "Thwe Thauk Gyi" assigned to serve as the Royal Bodyguard. Alaungpaya attacked Thanlyin or Syriam, and many Muslim artillery men were captured. Alaungpaya captured four warships and Muslim soldiers. They were later allowed to serve him. On the page 203 of the Twin Thin Teik Win's Cronicles of Alaungpaya's battles, it was recorded as only three warships.
After Alaungpaya captured Pegu, and at the parade, those Pathi Muslim soldiers were allowed to march with their traditional uniforms. Four hundred Pathi Indian soldiers participated in the Royal Salute March. King Bodawpaya Bodaw U Wine (Padon Mayor, Padon Min) (1781–1819) of the Konbaung Dynasty founded Amarapura as his new capital in 1783. He was the first Burmese King who recognized his Muslim subjects officially by the following Royal decree. He appointed Abid Shah Hussaini and assistants, Nga Shwe Lu and Nga Shwe Aye to decide and give judgment regarding the conflicts and problems amongst his Burmese Muslim subjects. Abid Shah Hussaini burial place was well known as a shrine in Amarapura Lin Zin Gone Darga. Before Ramu and Pan War battles, Burmese army had a march. Among the Burmese army, Captain Nay Myo Gone Narrat Khan Sab Bo's 70 Cavalry (horse) Regiment, was watched by Maha Bandula. Burmese Muslim Horsemen were famous in that Khan Sab Bo's 70 Cavalry (horse) Regiment. Khan Sab Bo's name was Abdul Karim Khan and was the father of the Captain Wali Khan, famous Wali Khan Cavalry Regiment during King Mindon and King Thibaw. Khan Sab Bo was sent as an Ambassador to Indo China by Bagyidaw. During Bagyidaw's reign, in 1824, Gaw Taut Pallin battle was famous. British used 10,000 soldiers but defeated. During that battle Khan Sab Bo's 100 horsemen fought vigorously and bravely. More than 1300 loyal brave Kala Pyo Muslims (means young Indian soldiers) were awarded with colourful velvety uniforms.
When Konbaung Dynasty's 8th. Tharrawaddy Min (King) marched Okkalapa, more than 100 Pathi Muslim Indian Cannoners took part. There are also a lot of Muslim soldiers in other parts of the Tharrawaddy Min's army.
But during the Konbaung Dynasty's 9th. Pagan Min 1846-52 there was a blemish in Muslim's history. Royal Capital Amarapura's Mayor Bai Sab and his clerk U Pain were arrested and sentenced to death. U Pain was the one who constructed and donated the Taunthaman bridge with more than 1000 teak piles and is still in good condition. Although the real background or aim of building the bridge was not known, before the bridge was built, British Ambassador Arthur Fair's ship could sailed right up to the Amarapura city wall but the bridge actually obstruct the direct access by British.
During Pagan Min reign, Mindon Prince and brother Ka Naung Prince run away with their servants to Shwe Bo and started a rebellion. U Bo and U Yuet were the two Muslims who accompanied the princes. Some Kala Pyo Burmese Muslim artillery soldiers followed them. U Boe later built and donated the June Mosque, which is still maintained in 27th. street, Mandalay. U Yuet became the Royal Chief Chef.
Regent Prince Ka Naung sent scholars to study abroad. Malar Mon @ U Pwint was a Burmese Muslim sent to study the explosives. He became the Yan Chet won or Minister of explosives.
In the Royal Defence Army, many Cannoners were Kindar Kala Pyos and Myedu Muslims. In 1853 King Mindon held a donation ceremony. He ordered to prepare halal food for his Muslim soldiers from, Akbart Horse Cavalry, Wali Khan Horse Cavalry, Manipur Horse Cavalry and Sar Tho Horse Cavalry altogether about 700 of them.
U Soe was the Royal tailor of King Mindon .
Kabul Maulavi was appointed an Islamic Judge by King Mindon to decide according to the Islamic rules and customs on Muslim affairs.
Captain Min Htin Min Yazar's 400 Muslims participated to clear the land for building a new Mandalay city.
Burmese Muslims were given specific quarters to settle in the new city of Mandalay
- Sigaing dan
- Kone Yoe dan
- Taung Balu
- Oh Bo
- Setkyer Ngwezin
- June Amoke Tan
- Wali Khan Quarter
- Taik Tan Qr
- Koyandaw Qr (Royal Bodyguards' Qr)
- Ah Choke Tan
- Kala Pyo Qr
- Panthay dan for the Burmese Chinese Muslims.
In those quarters, lands for 20 Mosques were allocated out side the Palace wall. 
Main article: List of Masjids in Mandalay
- Sigaing dan Mosque
- Kone Yoe Mosque
- Taung Balu Mosque
- June Mosque
- Koyandaw Mosque
- Wali Khan Mosque
- Kala Pyo Mosque
- Seven lots of lands for Setkyer Ngwezin
- King Mindon donated his palace teak pillars to build a mosque at North Obo in central Mandalay. (The pillars which failed to place properly at the exact time given by astrologers.)
- The broadminded King Mindon also permitted a mosque to be built on the granted site for the Panthays (Burmese Chinese Muslims. Photos of Mandalay Panthay mosque.
Inside the Palace wall, for the Royal Body Guards, King Mindon himself donated and started the building of the Mosque by laying the Gold foundation at the South-eastern part of the Palace located near the present Independent Monument. This Mosque was called the Shwe Pannet Mosque. That mosque was destroyed by the British to build the Polo playground.
King Mindon (1853–78) donated the rest house in Mecca for his Muslim subjects performing Hajj. Nay Myo Gonna Khalifa U Pho Mya and Haji U Swe Baw were ordered to supervise the building. The Kind donated the balance needed to complete the building which was started with the donations from the Burmese Muslims. This was recorded in the Myaedu Mosque Imam U Shwe Taung's poems.
During King Thibaw's reign, Muslim soldiers who participated in the Royal Parade were;
- Captain Bo Min Htin Kyaw and his 350 Kindar Kala Pyo artillery soldiers.
- Setkyer Cannon Regiment Captain Hashim and 113 Cannoners
- Mingalar Cannon Regiment Captain U Kye and 113 Cannoners
- Mingalar Amyoke Sulay Kone Captain U Maung and 113 Cannoners
- Mingalar Amyoke Bone Oh Captain U Yauk and 113 Cannoners.
After King Thibaw's declaration of war on the British, Burmese Army formed three groups to descend and defend the British attack. One of those, Taung Twingyi defence chief was, Akhbat Horse Calvery Chief, Mayor of Pin Lae Town, Minister Maha Min Htin Yar Zar. His name was U Chone when he was the Chief Clerk of Kala Pyo Army. During the Myin Kun Myin Khone Tain revolt, he carried the Chief queen of Mindon on his back to safety. So he was rewarded with the Mayor position of Pin Lae Myo which was located 12 miles south of Myittha.
Under Maha Min Htin Yar Zar there were 1629 soldiers:
- Kindar Captain Bo Min Hla Min Htin Kyaw Thu's 335 Kindar soldiers two cannon and Sein let Yae 3 regiments
- Shwe Pyi Captain Bo Min Hla Min Htin Thamain Than Like and Shwe Pyi 100 soldiers, one cannon and Sein let Yae 2 regiments
- Wali Khan's 990 Akhbat Horse Calvery and Sein let Yae 20 regiments
- Specially trained 200 soldiers.
On 28 November 1885, after the British took over the administration, the British revamp the new administration with, Kin Won Min Gyi, Tai Tar Min Gyi, the Minister Maha Min Htin Yar Zar U Chone was included as the representative of the Parliament.
Muslim Mogul Emperor of India
The last Muslim Mughal Emperor of India, Abu Za'far Saraj al-Din Bahadur Shah and his family members and some followers were exiled to Yangon, Myanmar. He died in Yangon and was buried on 7.11.1862.
After the British took over the whole Burma all sub groups of Burmese-Muslims formed numerous organizations, active in social welfare and religious affairs.
Islam, mainly of the Sunni sect, is practiced by 4% of the population of Burma according to the government census. However, according to the U.S. State Department's 2006 international religious freedom report, the country's non-Buddhist populations were underestimated in the census. Muslim leaders estimate that as much as 20% of the population may be Muslim.
Various groups of Burmese Muslims
- Muslims are spread across the country in small communities. The Indian-descended Muslims live mainly in Rangoon. See Burmese Indian Muslims.
- The Rohingya are a minority Muslim ethnic group in Northern Rakhine State, Western Burma. The Rohingya population is mostly concentrated in five northern townships of Rakhine State: Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Rathedaung, Akyab, Sandway, Tongo, Shokepro, Rashong Island and Kyauktaw.
- Panthay, Burmese Chinese Muslims.
- Muslims of Malay ancestry in Kawthaung. People of Malay ancestry are locally called Pashu regardless of religion.
Religion and society
The stated official policy of the government of Burma is that all all ethnic, religious, and language groups in Burma are equal. The Lordship of the Supreme Court of Rangoon remarked: "Today, in the various parts of Burma, there are people who, because of the origin and the isolated way of life, are totally unlike the Burmese in appearance of speak of events which had occurred outside the limits of their habitation. They are nevertheless statutory citizens under the Union (of Burma) Citizenship Act..... Thus mere race or appearance of a person or whether he has a knowledge of any language of the Union is not the test as to whether he is a citizen of the Union". Additionally, in 2005, the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a declaration concerning freedom of religion:
All ethnic groups in Myanmar have been throughout the country since time immemorial. They have been living united in peace and harmony since the time of ancient Myanmar kings. Myanmar kings, in return, looked after the members of other religious faiths by kindly giving them religious, social and economic opportunities equal to those awarded to Buddhists. It is well known that, to enable his Majesty's royal servants to fulfill their religious duties, Rakhine frame Mosque, Half-broken Mosque, Panthe Mosque, Mandalay Battery Ward Mosque and Christian Churches were allowed to be built and to perform respective religious duties during successive Myanmar kings. The Parton of the Fifth Buddhist Synod, King Mindone (1854 to 1878), during his rule built Peacock rest house in the Holy City of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the Muslims from Myanmar who went there on Haj pilgrimage to stay comfortably while they were there for about one and a half months. That act was one of the best testimonies in Myanmar history of how Myanmar kings looked after their Muslim subjects benevolently. Since the time of ancient Myanmar kings until the present day, successive Myanmar governments have given all four major religions an equal treatment. All the followers of each religion have been allowed to profess their respective religious faith and perform their respective duties freely. Myanmar's culture is based on loving kindness; the followers of Islam, Christianity and Hinduism in Myanmar are also kind-hearted people as Myanmar Buddhists are.
The first instance of persecution that can be shown to have resulted from religious reasons occurred during the reign of King Bayinnaung, 1550-1589 AD. After conquering Bago in 1559, he prohibited the practice of halal, specifically, killing food animals in the name of God. He was religiously intolerant, forcing some of his subjects to listen to Buddhist sermons possibly converting by force. He also disallowed the Edil Adha, Kurbani sacrifice of cattle. The halal was also forbidden by King Alaungpaya in the 18th century.
King Bodawpaya (1782–1819) arrested four famous Myanmar Muslims Moulvis (Imams) from Myedu and killed them in Ava, the capital, after they refused to eat pork. According to the Myedu Muslims and Burmese Muslims version there were seven dark days after that execution and the king later apologized and recognized them as saints.
Religious and race riots
Under the British rule, economic pressures and xenophobia contributed to the rise of anti-Indian, and later anti-Muslim sentiment. Following an anti-Indian riot in 1930, racial tensions flared between the ethnic Burmese, Indian immigrants, and British rulers. Burmese sentiment turned against those viewed as foreigners, including Muslims of all ethnic groups. Following this, an anti-Muslim riot occurred in 1938, strongly influenced by newspapers.
Burma for Burmese Campaign
These events led to the creation of the Burma for Burmese only Campaign, which staged a march to a Muslim Bazaar. While the Indian police broke the violent demonstration, three monks were hurt. Burmese newspapers used the pictures of Indian police attacking the Buddhist monks to further incite the spread of riots. Muslim shops, houses, and mosques were looted, destroyed, or burnt to ashes. Muslims were also assaulted and killed. The violence spread throughout Burma, with a total of 113 mosques damaged.
Inquiry Committee by British
On 22 September 1938, the British Governor set up the Inquiry Committee. This committee determined that the real cause of the discontent toward the government was deterioration of socio-political and economic conditions in Burma. This report was also used by Burmese newspapers to incite hatred against the British, Indians, and Muslims. The Simon Commission, which had been established to inquire into the effects of the Dyarchy system of ruling India and Burma in 1927, recommended that special places be assigned to the Burmese Muslims in the Legislative Council. It also recommended that full rights of citizenship should be guaranteed to all minorities: the right of free worship, the right to follow their own customs, the right to own property and to receive a share of the public revenues for the maintenance of their own educational and charitable institutions. It further recommended Home Rule or independent government separate from India or the status of dominion.
Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League
The BMC, Burma Muslim Congress was founded almost at the same time as the AFPFL, Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League of General Aung San and U Nu before World War Two. U Nu became the first Prime Minister of Burma in 1948, following Burmese independence. Shortly after, he requested that the Burma Muslim Congress resign its membership from AFPFL. In response, U Khin Maung Lat, the new President of BMC, decided to discontinue the religious practices of the BMC and rejoin the AFPFL. U Nu asked the BMC to dissolve in 1955, and removed it from AFPFL on 30 September 1956. Later U Nu decreed Buddhism as the state religion of Burma, angering religious minorities.
Ne Win's coup d'état
After the coup d'état of General Ne Win in 1962, the status of Muslims changed for the worse. Muslims were expelled from the army and were rapidly marginalized. The generic racist slur of "kala" (black) used against perceived "foreigners" gained especially negative connotations when referring to Burmese Muslims during this time. Accusations of "terrorism" were made against Muslim organizations such as the All Burma Muslim Union, causing Muslims to join armed resistance groups to fight for greater freedoms.
Anti-Muslim riots in Mandalay (1997)
On 16 March 1997 beginning at about 3:30 p.m., following reports of an attempted rape by Muslim men, a mob of about 1,000-1,500 Buddhist monks and others gathered in Mandalay. They targeted the mosques first for attack, followed by Muslim shop-houses and transportation vehicles in the vicinity of mosques. Looting, destruction of property, assault, and religious desecration all were reported. At least three people were killed and around 100 monks arrested.
Anti-Muslim riots in Sittwe and Taungoo (2001)
Tension between Buddhists and Muslims was also high in Sittwe. The resentments are deeply rooted, and result from both communities feeling that they are under siege from the other. The violence in February 2001 flared up after an incident in which seven young monks refused to pay a Muslim stall holder for cakes they had just eaten. The Muslim seller, a woman, retaliated by beating one of the novices, according to a Muslim witness. He attested that several senior monks then came to protest and a brawl ensued. One of the monks was hit over the head by the Muslim seller's husband and started to bleed. Riots then broke out. A full-scale riot erupted after dusk and carried on for several hours. Buddhists poured gasoline on Muslim homes and properties and set them alight. More than thirty homes and a Muslim guest house were burned down. Police and soldiers reportedly stood by and did nothing to stop the violence initially. There are no reliable estimates of the death toll or the number of injuries. More than twenty died according to some Muslim activists. The fighting took place in the predominantly Muslim part of town and so it was predominantly Muslim property that was damaged.
In 2001,Myo Pyauk Hmar Soe Kyauk Hla Tai , The Fear of Losing One's Race, and many other anti-Muslim pamphlets were widely distributed by monks. Distribution of the pamphlets was also facilitated by the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a civilian organization instituted by the ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Many Muslims feel that this exacerbated the anti-Muslim feelings that had been provoked by the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in the Bamyan Province of Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch reports that there was mounting tension between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Taungoo for weeks before it erupted into violence in the middle of May 2001. Buddhist monks demanded that the Hantha Mosque in Taungoo be destroyed in "retaliation" for the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Mobs of Buddhists, led by monks, vandalized Muslim-owned businesses and property and attacked and killed Muslims in Muslim communities. On May 15, 2001, anti-Muslim riots broke out in Taungoo, Bago division, resulting in the deaths of about 200 Muslims, in the destruction of 11 mosques, and setting ablaze of over 400 houses. On this day also, about 20 Muslims praying in the Han Tha mosque were beaten, some to death, by the pro-junta forces. On May 17, 2001, Lt. General Win Myint, Secretary No. 3 of the SPDC and deputy Home and Religious minister arrived and curfew was imposed there in Taungoo. All communication lines were disconnected. On May 18, the Han Tha mosque and Taungoo Railway station mosque were razed by bulldozers owned by the SPDC . The mosques in Taungoo remained closed until May 2002, with Muslims forced to worship in their homes. After two days of violence the military stepped in and the violence immediately ended. There also were reports that local government authorities alerted Muslim elders in advance of the attacks and warned them not to retaliate to avoid escalating the violence. While the details of how the attacks began and who carried them out were unclear by year's end, the violence significantly heightened tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim communities.
While the idea of monks actually leading rioters may seem unusual, certain details make it less so. Burma's large and much feared military intelligence service, the Directorate of Defense Security Intelligence, is commonly believed to have agents working within the monk-hood. Human Rights Watch also reported that monks in the 2001 riots were carrying mobile phones, a luxury not readily available to the Burmese population, as very few without government connections can afford them. It is also reported that there was a clear split between monks who provoked violence and those who did not. It has been suggested by Human Rights Watch and others that these facts may reflect the presence of agents provocateur among the monks.
- Burmese Chinese
- Burmese Indians for Burmese Indian Muslims.
- Burmese Malays or Malays in Burma
- Famous Burmese Muslims
- Panthay or Burmese Chinese Muslims.
- Rohingya People
- Islamica Magazine
- Religion in Burma
- ^ For the sake of simplicity, the proper name, "Burma," is used in this article instead of the official name, "Myanmar."
- ^ Central Intelligence Agency 2008
- ^ a b USDS 2006
- ^ Abul-Fazl Ezzati, 1994, The Spread of Islam, Tehran: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly Publication, pp. 301,333
- ^ a b c d e f g Yegar 1972, p. 2
- ^ Tun 2006, pp. 3–4
- ^ Luce & Tin 1960
- ^ Tun 2008, p. 42
- ^ a b c Dr. Tin Hlaing, leader of Myanmar delegates, at the Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation at Yogyakarta on 6 & 7 December 2004, attended by 124 delegates from different religious traditions from 13 countries including 9 ASEAN members, organized by the Dept. of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and the Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, in cooperation with the Islamic Central Committee of Muhammadiyah of Singapore. 
- ^ hikmah.info 2008
- ^ Ozturk 2003, ¶ 8
- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 6
- ^ Lay 1973
- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 9
- ^ a b c d Yegar 1972, p. 10
- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 20
- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 30
- ^ Fatimi 1961, p. 9
- ^ a b Yegar 1972, p. 7
- ^ Forever Group 1999, vol. 6, p. 350
- ^ Pathein University Students' Magazine 1955-56, page 5.
- ^ Marga 1967, p. 137
- ^ Collis 1953
- ^ a b Radana Sedi Stone Inscriptions, Sigaing (1373-74)
- ^ Than 196-, pp. 87–96
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden, page 2, first line.
- ^ "Ancient Pyu" page 3&4 Professor U Than Tun M.A., B.L., D. Lit., Ph.D.
- ^ Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma, Rangoon University Press, Rangoon, Burma, January 1960.
- ^ "Bagan Culture"page 42, Professor U Than Tun M.A., B.L., D. Lit., Ph.D.
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden, page 2, line 5,6,9
- ^ a b c d e f g ibid
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden, page 6, lines 25, 26 & 27.
- ^ a b "Twentieth Anniversary Special Edition of Islam Damma Beikman." Myanmar Pyi and Islamic religion.The reprint of the records of the lectures given by Pathi U Ko Lay in 1973.
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden, page 29, paragraph 1&2.
- ^ ibid, page 39, paragraph 1.
- ^ ibid,page9, paraaph 4.
- ^ ibid, page10,line 7,8&9.
- ^ ibid, page10,line 17,18&19.
- ^ ibid page 2, paragraph 3, line 1,2&3.
- ^ ibid page 20, paragraph 3.
- ^ ibid page 30, whole page.
- ^ ibid, page2, line 5&6.
- ^ S.Q. Fatimi, The role of China in the spread of Islam in South East Asia" (University of Singapore, 1959page 9
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden, page 7, footnote paragraph 2.
- ^ ibid page 7, footnote paragraph 3
- ^ Myanmar Encyclopedia vol. 6 page 350.
- ^ Pathein University Students' Magazine 1955-56 page 5.
- ^ Pathein History by U Marga page 137
- ^ Maurice Collis's Into hidden Burma.
- ^ U Ba Than's Myanmar History text book, page 87-96.
- ^ ."THE EMERGENCE OF THE PANTHAY COMMUNITY AT MANDALAY", BY MAUNG MAUNG LAY.
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden, page 2, paragraph 3, line 1,2&3
- ^ Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma
- ^ a b c Luce & Tin 1960, p. 76
- ^ Online Burma/Myanmar Library
- ^ a b Various Myanmar History tax-books of Ministry of Education, Myanmar.
- ^ a b "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden.
- ^ Luce & Tin 1960, pp. 80–81
- ^ a b c Luce & Tin 1960, p. 83
- ^ Oo 2004
- ^ Ibid page 2, last line.
- ^ ibid page2&3
- ^ ibid page 2 , 4th. paragaph, line 2&3, page 3, 1st. line
- ^ Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma,
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, 1972, Otto Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden, page 3, line No.s 4,5&6
- ^ a b Various notable facts in Myanmar History, in Burmese, by U Kyi BA History Honours. Page 156, 157.
- ^ http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/parames.htm
- ^ Collis 1936, p. 40
- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 5
- ^ Various notable facts in Myanmar History, in Burmese, by U Kyi BA History Honours.
- ^ ibid page 2, 2nd. paragraph, line 1,2 &3.
- ^ Maurice Collis, Simese White(London Faber and faber, 1936. page 40.
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 5, line 22 to 27
- ^ Sir Richard C. Temple, Buddermokan, JBRS,XV, pt 1 (1925)1-33
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 8 1st. paragraph
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- ^ Luce & Tin 1960, vol. 3, p. 172
- ^ This Royal decree was copied from the Amarapura Royal Library in 1801 by Kyauk Ta Lone Bo. Shin 1961
- ^ Sanʻʺ Chve 2005, vol. 2, pp. 168-169
- ^ "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 10, line 2&3
- ^ Glass Palace Chronicle Vol. 2, page 186.
- ^ Taungoo History page 296
- ^ Glass Palace Chronicle Vol. 3, page 172.
- ^ U Ba Than's Myanmar History text book. page 270.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 2. Page 168-9.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 2. Page 377.
- ^ Various Myanmar History tax-books of Ministry of Education, Myanmar
- ^ "A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 9, line 24-27.
- ^ a b "The Muslims of Burma" A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,
- ^ a b HGE Hall History of Southeast Asia.
- ^ "A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar, page 9,10&11
- ^ a b Let Ware Nawrattha's Chronicles of Alaungpaya's battles. Page 77.
- ^ a b Let Ware Nawrattha's Chronicles of Alaungpaya's battles. Page 98.
- ^ a b Let Ware Nawrattha's Chronicles of Alaungpaya's battles. Page 99.
- ^ Sanʻʺ Chve 2005, vol. 1, pp. 136-142
- ^ The Royal gazette of Bodawpaya, Criminal Law Royal Decree Vol. 4, page 176.
- ^ a b MRA 2005
- ^ Let Ware Nawrattha's Chronicles of Alaungpaya's battles. Page 70.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 1. Page 185-6.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 1. Page 136-142.
- ^ Let Ware Nawrattha's Chronicles of Alaungpaya's battles. Page 123.
- ^ Twin Thin Teik Win's Cronicles of Alaungpaya's battles, page 216
- ^ The Royal gazette of Bodawpaya, Criminal Law Royal Decree Vol 4, page 176.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 2. Page 392.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 2. Page 376-7.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 2. Page 477.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 3. Page 6.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 3. Page 139.
- ^ U Maung Maung Tin's Burmese Kings' Royal Articles, page 66-71-72.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 3. Page 323-4.
- ^ a b The "Twentieth Anniversary Special Edition of Islam Damma Beikman." Myanmar Pyi and Islamic religion.The reprint of the records of the lectures given by Pathi U Ko Lay in 1973. from page 109,110 and 111.
- ^ a b The Emergence Of The Panthay Community At Mandalay, by Professor U Maung Maung Lay.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 3. Page 324-6.
- ^ Myanmar Encyclopedia Vol 6, page 434.
- ^ Konbaung Dynasty Royal History Vol. 3. Page 712
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- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 12
- ^ Khan 1957
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- ^ Thaung 2002
- ^ Yegar 1972, pp. 32, 36
- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 36
- ^ Yegar 1972, pp. 36–37
- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 37
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- ^ Yegar 1972, p. 75
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- ^ MAR 2007
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- ^ http://hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/burma-bck4.htm#P103_22688
- ^ Ozturk 2003
- ^ BNN 2001
- ^ USDS 2002
- ^ Ozturk 2003, ¶ 23-4
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