Genocide and the Ongoing Persecution of Rohingya Muslims

14 Sep 2022


Announced by the University of Pittsburgh:

Earlier this year, the U.S. government declared Myanmar's mass killing of the Rohingya Muslim population to be a "genocide." This designation comes 6 years after the first incidence of mass violence was carried out by Myanmar's military against the long-persecuted and marginalized community.

In 2016 and 2017, Myanmar's military carried out what it described as clearance operations aimed at rebel groups in the Rakhine state. The military has often framed Rohingya Muslims as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and the government has long denied them access to citizenship rendering the community stateless. The two phases of the military operations in 2016 and 2017 involved the burning of hundreds of villages, mass rape of Rohingya girls and women, and the brutal murder of tens of thousands of individuals. The UN later described the persecution as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing." As a result of the deadly violence, there was a mass exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from the Buddhist-majority Myanmar to refugees camps in Bangladesh, where they largely remain today. Today, the very military responsible for these crimes now rules Myanmar, having overthrown the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

Join The Bridge Initiative's founding director Dr. Esposito in conversation with Dr. Ronan Lee, author of Myanmar's Rohingya Genocide: Identity, History and Hate Speech, and Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, founder of Justice for All, who will be discussing the ongoing persecution of Rohingya Muslims and how Islamophobia played a role in the criminalization and dehumanization of the community.

Dr. Ronan Lee is a Doctoral Prize Fellow at Loughborough University London’s Institute for Media and Creative Industries. His research focuses on the Rohingya, genocide, hate speech, migration, and Asian politics. He is the author of Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide Identity, History and Hate Speech. Ronan has been a Visiting Scholar at the International State Crime Initiative, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, and was a Queensland State Member of Parliament (2001-2009), serving on the frontbench as a Parliamentary Secretary (2006-2008) in portfolios including Justice, Main Roads and Local Government, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. He has also worked as a senior government advisor, and as an election strategist and campaign manager. Ronan was awarded the Early Career Emerging Scholar Prize 2021 by the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

Abdul Malik Mujahid is an Imam in Chicago. He leads Sound Vision, Justice For All and Muslim Network TV. As producer his documentaries are shown on 64 channels across the globe. He serves as the chair of Burma Task Force, a coalition of 15 national and regional organizations against genocide in Burma. As the national coordinator of the Bosnia Task Force, USA, in the ’90s, he successfully led efforts in collaboration with the National Organization of Women (NOW) to declare rape as a war crime. Imam Mujahid also serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Parliament of the World's Religions, the premiere interfaith organization in the world. Imam Mujahid has authored more than 400 articles on Islamic living and public policy.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Sponsored By: 
The Bridge Initiative