Myanmar is pursuing a narrative that rests on dubious evidence.
The firebrand Buddhist monk, U Wirathu, frequently remarks that Islam poses an existential threat to Myanmar. A central tenet of this argument is the citation of one Muslim militant organization, the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO). The RSO is often accused of being responsible for coordinated attacks against the Myanmar Defense Services, as well having international links to terrorist organizations that seek to promote jihad in Myanmar. Indeed, these organizations have claimed they are supporting local resistance groups and exporting jihad to Myanmar’s shores. This policy brief questions the credibility of the narrative that the Rohingya pose an extremist Islamic threat, arguing that attention should be focused instead on resolving the plight of the Rohingya and attenuating their grievances.