There is a history of persecution of Muslims in Myanmar that continues to the present day. Myanmar is a Buddhist majority country, with a significant Muslim minority. While Muslims served in the government of Prime Minister U Nu (1948–63), the situation changed with the 1962 Burmese coup d’état. While a few continued to serve, most Muslims were excluded from positions in the government and army. In 1982, the government introduced regulations that denied citizenship to anyone who could not prove Burmese ancestry from before 1823. This disenfranchised many Muslims in Myanmar, even though they had lived in Myanmar for several generations.
The largest Muslim group in Myanmar are the Rohingya people; the Rohingyas have been the most persecuted group under Myanmar’s military regime. The UN states that the Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted groups in the world. Since 1948, successive governments have carried out 13 military operations against the Rohingya (including in 1975, 1978, 1989, 1991–92, 2002). During the operations, Myanmar security forces have driven the Rohingyas off their land, burned down their mosques and committed widespread looting, arson and rape of Rohingya Muslims. Outside of these military raids, Rohingya are subjected to frequent theft and extortion from the authorities and many are subjected to forced labor. In some cases, land occupied by Rohingya Muslims has been confiscated and reallocated to local Buddhists.