• Majority Muslim (minority Hindu), stateless Indo-Aryan people from Myanmar/Burma. 


  • Among most persecuted peoples in the world
  • Denied Citizenship, despite history tracing to 8th century
  • Legal conditions compared with Apartheid; treatment towards them considered ethnic cleansing
  • Restricted from freedom of movement, state education, civil service jobs


  • Arakan: old coastal country of Southeast Asia
  • (8th-9th cent) Arakan a key center of maritime trade/cultural exchange between Burma and outside world. Arab merchants conduct missionary activities, many locals convert to Islam. Merchants marry local women and later settle in Arakan. Result of intermarriage and conversion: Muslim population grew.
  • (9th-15th cent) Rakhines were one of the tribes of the Burmese city-states. Migrated to Arakan and est'd cities. Burmese invasion of Rakhine cities forces rulers to seek help and refuge from Bengal
  • (15th cent) Under Bengal reign, Buddhist kings of Arakan received Islamic titles. Arakanese regain power but continue custom of Muslim titles and positions.